A recently released bombshell filing in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit against Fox News includes a quote from Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch calling former Trump aide Steven Bannon “fringe” and a claim that both Bannon and former Fox host Megyn Kelly were not allowed to make appearances on the network. Yet the filing also shows that Murdoch suggested election denier and QAnon influencer Michael Flynn appear as a contributor following the 2020 election.
From the filing (citations removed):
Rupert testified that he has probably told Fox News to close off certain guests from being on air completely, including “the Trump advisor, Bannon” because Rupert “see[s] him as a fringe character.” (“There is no way they’ll let us book Megyn Kelly….SS [Suzanne Scott] said Rupert and Lachlan are a hard no there.”). He has likewise told Fox News that “we shouldn’t be covering every single Trump rally.” Conversely, on November 28, Murdoch suggested to Scott that perhaps Fox should have Michael Flynn on as a contributor.
Flynn was a prominent voice calling on Trump to use military force to overturn the 2020 election. Just five days after Murdoch suggested Flynn as a contributor, he appeared on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight, where he discussed his presidential pardon from Trump. (The show, which was ground zero for Fox’s election conspiracy theories, was canceled after the attempted insurrection on January 6.) In the same week, Flynn made a guest appearance on Jeanine Pirro’s Fox show and called on governors to not certify the election results.
Flynn is a hero of the QAnon community known for his extremist views. During a May 2021 QAnon conference, Flynn advocated for a military coup of the Biden administration. Flynn replied to a question about “what happened in” Myanmar by saying there was “no reason it couldn’t happen here.” QAnon supporters and far-right message boards embraced the rhetoric.
The newest Dominion court filings revealed previously unknown details about Rupert Murdoch’s knowledge of the network’s lies about voter fraud and Dominion after the 2020 election. The filing makes it plain that Murdoch, his son Lachlan Murdoch, and other executives at Fox News were paying close attention to how the network was covering Trump’s baseless election claims and singling out diversions from the campaign’s pro-Trump narrative for correction.