Lachlan Murdoch gave personal support to Tucker Carlson’s racist rant

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

An April 3 story in The New York Times Magazine reported that Fox Corp. Chairman Lachlan Murdoch reassured Fox News host Tucker Carlson of his support after Carlson was criticized for espousing white supremacist talking points on immigration.

In December, Carlson said that immigration “makes our own country poorer, and dirtier, and more divided.” Carlson received widespread condemnation and advertisers fled his show.

But while Carlson was criticized outside the building, the chairman and CEO of Fox Corp., the parent company of Fox News, gave personal support to the Fox host. As the Times article reported, Carlson “received personal text messages of support from Lachlan, according to two people familiar with the texts.”

In a rare public appearance in November 2018 at The New York Times’ DealBook conference, Murdoch said that criticism of such toxic speech on Fox News is just an expression of intolerance. He further elaborated that viewers and critics should instead empathize with prime-time Fox hosts who push propaganda and racism, saying “I’m not embarrassed by what they do at all. ... I frankly feel in this country, we all have to be more tolerant of each other’s views.”

The New York Times Magazine article further gave an example of Murdoch defending Fox hosts to Crooked Media’s Jon Lovett:

At the Vanity Fair dinner during the ceremony, Kathryn was seated next to Jon Lovett, a former speechwriter for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and a host of the vehemently anti-Trump podcast “Pod Save America.” Lovett did not seem thrilled with his table assignment, but as he and Kathryn started talking, it quickly became clear that she did not share the politics of the Murdoch family business. The conversation inevitably turned to Fox News and the damage it was doing. Kathryn offered to introduce Lovett to the chief executive of the network, her brother-in-law, who was seated at a table nearby. Lovett initially resisted — “I don’t need to talk to this person. It’s not going to be pleasant for anyone” — but later in the evening, Kathryn brought them together.

“Do you feel proud of what’s happening between 8 and 11 every night?” Lovett asked. “You think this is good for the world?”

“Yeah, I think they’re doing a great job,” Lachlan replied. Then Lachlan threw the question back at Lovett: Were there any conservative voices he would accept on Fox? Before Lovett could answer, Kathryn interjected, ticking off a list of anti-Trump Republicans.

Lachlan turned away and joined another conversation.

Carlson has unquestionably pushed white supremacist tropes on his prime-time Fox show, and he routinely echoes talking points from white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis. White supremacist leaders, followers, and media figures regularly praise Carlson’s choices of rhetoric and coverage. Carlson also often defends and downplays the dangers of white supremacists and white nationalism on his show while constantly portraying white Americans as victims.

Fox News is currently in a crisis because advertisers are fleeing -- in part because of the white nationalist rhetoric of Tucker Carlson. If it wasn’t already clear, now we know that approval for that type of racism goes to the very top of Fox.