Around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, The New York Times’ Ben Smith tweeted a note from Fox Corp. Chief Executive Officer Lachlan Murdoch:
The events that have unfolded over the past week have left me shocked and saddened. Each of you has been in my thoughts as we watch the tragic death of George Flloyd continue to cause immense pain and spark important discussions around the country. It is essential that we grieve with the Floyd family, closely listen to the voices of peaceful protest and fundamentally understand that black lives matter.
The FOX culture embraces and fosters diversity and inclusion. Often we speak of the “FOX family,” and never has the need to depend on and care for that family been more important. We support our Black colleagues and the Black community, as we all unite to seek equality and understanding.
Our mission to provide the best in news is particularly vital at this time. Our brave local and national reporters continue to put themselves at risk to provide the latest information impacting all of us and our neighbors across the country. We support all journalists and will do what we can to protect their safety and denounce calls for, and acts of, violence against them.
This is a time for people to come together in their grief, work to heal, and coalesce to address injustice and inquiry in our country. This is an ongoing conversation, and no one has all the answers in this moment. As we each grapple with how to continue the discussion during this difficult and emotional time, please remember that there are many resources available to you, including our Employee Assistance Program, your HR business partner, and our Inclusion team.
As we grapple with this national tragedy, please stay safe and take good care of yourselves and your families.
My warmest regards,
It’s unclear when exactly Murdoch sent this letter out.
Shortly after Smith sent his tweet, however, Fox News ran two promos for Tucker Carlson’s Fox show, the first during The Five, which aired a segment entirely about Carlson’s prior monologue:
And then later The Story With Martha MacCallum, a so-called “straight news” show at Fox, ran this promo:
Carlson, of course, has a long and documented history of bigotry, including explicitly contradicting a number of points from Murdoch’s memo. Carlson has repeatedly attacked the concept of diversity and has, along with many of his past and present colleagues, railed against Black Lives Matter.
During Carlson’s show last night, a guest accused “angry, rich, entitled Blacks” of destroying America:
Carlson himself gave a monologue on “systemic racism” that made clear that either he had no idea what the term means or he was content to lie to his audience about it.
Murdoch knows all of this. In fact, he reportedly personally defended Carlson when he espoused white supremacist talking points about immigrants.
Shortly after the 2019 shooting in El Paso, Texas, in which the gunman was reportedly motivated by bigoted, xenophobic conspiracy theories identical to what Fox News and Carlson had aired, my colleague Matt Gertz wrote:
Fox News has traditionally treated bigotry as a core part of its business model. But since the political rise of President Donald Trump, the network’s commentators have adopted talking points that had previously been the province of hardcore white supremacists. The reported manifesto of the gunman who murdered 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, TX, on Saturday is all but indistinguishable from transcripts ripped from its prime-time shows. This shift is not an accident but a programming decision, one the network has pursued even as its hosts’ racist rhetoric has triggered costly ad boycotts.
Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan Murdoch are ultimately responsible for this toxic programming. Rupert, chairman of parent company Fox Corp., laid the foundation for the shift. He then ceded much of the day-to-day authority to Lachlan, who maintained that heading as the Fox Corp.’s executive chairman and CEO.
Fox is feeding its audience a poisonous stew of bigoted, xenophobic conspiracy theories because that is what the Murdochs want the network to do.
That was true then and it’s true now.
Few people are as responsible for the state America is in as Lachlan Murdoch and his family. Don’t let this new statement persuade you otherwise. Fox News viewers for sure will not.