On Democracy Now!, Angelo Carusone explains Rupert Murdoch's destructive legacy and how Lachlan Murdoch has “tolerance for even more extreme content”

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Citation From the September 22, 2023, edition of Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN (HOST): Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Angelo. It’s great to have you with us. Can you respond to this surprise announcement yesterday?

ANGELO CARUSONE (PRESIDENT & CEO, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA): Yeah, I mean, I think one of the things to keep — the two things that I felt immediately was, one, to make sure that his legacy doesn’t get sugarcoated, that we are really cognizant of the scale of damage that he’s created. It’s not just the culture of corruption and lies that Tom Watson was quoted sort of referencing, but also the long tail of some of his active campaigns, in particular against climate change.

I don’t think there’s a single person or entity in the world that has done more to promote climate denialism and undermine the efforts to combat that threat, and that will last for generations. And Rupert Murdoch, given the scale of his properties, was significant there. So that was the first thing, was to make sure that the legacy doesn’t get sugarcoated.

And then, the second was to sort of ring the alarm bell, which is that Lachlan Murdoch will actually be a lot worse in many respects. So, things, in some ways, will get both more chaotic and more extreme.

GOODMAN: So, well, let’s talk about whether in fact Rupert Murdoch is stepping back.


GOODMAN: Will he, behind the scenes, be in charge? And then, talk more about Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch, who in fact will ultimately be in charge.

CARUSONE: Yeah, that’s a really good point, and that’s also getting sort of glossed over, as well, in a lot of the coverage. In the statement where Rupert Murdoch’s announcement was made, one of the things that it also simultaneously emphasized was that he still intends to be heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the media properties. And I think when they say that, they also, in particular, mean Fox News. He goes to the Fox offices significantly more than Lachlan Murdoch does. Lachlan Murdoch mostly operates out of Australia. He calls in, you know, to engage in some events, but he doesn’t really run the place in the same way that Rupert Murdoch has. And according to the statement, Rupert Murdoch is still going to be there. So there’s going to be a shadow of Murdoch, and I think, in some respects, the culture will be sustained in part because -- his presence.

But from a decision-making capacity, what this does mean is that, at minimum, Lachlan Murdoch is going to have a lot more latitude to be sort of the ultimate and final decision maker, which is something that he shared with Rupert Murdoch up until this point. And that means that he’ll be able to sort of set the vision for the strategic investments that the business makes. And I think that’s going to be the one difference. But day to day, we’re not really going to feel much, except for the fact that Lachlan Murdoch has a tolerance for even more extreme content than Rupert Murdoch.