Lachlan Murdoch sheepishly denies what is crystal clear: Fox knew it was spreading lies
At the March 9 Morgan Stanley 2023 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Fox Corp. CEO and Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch downplayed the seriousness of Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against Fox News, saying that “the noise about the lawsuit is not about the law and is not about journalism, and more about politics and that is reflective of the polarized society we live in.”
He also said a “news organization” has an “obligation” to report the news “fulsomely, wholesomely, and without fear or favor.” (He failed to mention any obligation to honesty and the truth, perhaps because that is not a journalistic value that Fox News holds.)
Murdoch claimed, “That’s what Fox News has always done and that’s what Fox News will always do.”
It is false on its face to say Fox News operates “without fear or favor.” At all levels of the company, from Rupert Murdoch himself to talent to producers, Fox News knew it was lying about the 2020 election and its aftermath and did so anyway. Media Matters compiled a list of examples showing that Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch are directly involved in Fox’s falsehoods and extreme bias, as revealed by the Dominion filings.
The disclosures from filings released as part of the lawsuit in recent weeks have been nothing short of damning.
Here are some of the most reckless and dishonest examples of Fox malfeasance, lying and otherwise, that have been made public:
- As one of the filings detailed, Rupert Murdoch was closely tied to White House senior adviser Jared Kushner during the 2020 campaign and provided him with confidential previews of the Biden campaign’s political ads and strategies. Media Matters for America recently filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging that Fox Corp. made an illegal corporate contribution to the Trump campaign.
- Rupert Murdoch admitted that Fox knew election fraud conspiracy theories were all lies it spread for profit, agreeing that profit was the reason to continue bringing on election denier Mike Lindell of MyPillow: the reason to continue was “It is not red or blue, it is green.”
- Rupert Murdoch demanded that Fox intervene to help Republicans win Senate races in Georgia after Trump lost, writing to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, “We should concentrate on Georgia, helping any way we can.” When asked during his deposition about what he meant by helping, he responded, “I just give exposure to the Republican candidate.”
- Rupert Murdoch dictated to Scott how Fox should cover Joe Biden and Donald Trump, instructing her to make sure Fox was “banging” on the issue of Biden’s campaign tactics and relationship to the press. Lachlan Murdoch similarly weighed in.
- Lachlan Murdoch insisted the network cover a proto-Jan. 6 rally more favorably, telling executives and producers to be more pro-Trump following mildly critical coverage of a “Stop the Steal” rally on November 14, 2020.
- Behind the scenes, Fox prime-time hosts and network executives attacked hosts and reporters who fact-checked election lies. When Fox reporter Kristin Fisher fact-checked Trump’s legal team’s wild press conference on-air, she was scolded by network leadership. At another point, host Tucker Carlson tried to get Jacqui Heinrich fired for tweeting a fact check of Trump.
- The weekend after the 2020 presidential election, Scott, Rupert Murdoch, and Lachlan Murdoch decided the network’s “news hours” should limit bookings of certain prominent Democrats because audiences don’t want to see “too much of” them.
- When Scott asked PR chief Irena Briganti for examples that the network had pushed false information about the election and enabled January 6, Briganti responded with dozens of examples from seven different Fox figures.
- Fox News anchors Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier argued for viewers’ feelings to override “statistics and the numbers” on the network’s 2020 presidential election calls.
During his appearance at the Morgan Stanley conference, Murdoch also praised Scott, saying she has done a “tremendous job” leading the network, despite her direct involvement enabling conspiracy theorists at the network.
For more information on Dominion’s lawsuit against Fox News, click here.