Joseph Azam, a former senior vice president at News Corp., told NPR about how the anti-Muslim and other bigoted rhetoric he heard at work there was so offensive, both as a Muslim and an American, that he left his job and now feels compelled to speak out.
Speaking to NPR’s David Folkenflik, Azam explained that although he left the Murdoch empire in 2017, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro’s recent attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar, for wearing a hijab, and the recently-surfaced comments by Tucker Carlson characterizing Iraqis as “semi-literate, primitive monkeys” prompted the former employee to speak out. Azam immigrated to the U.S. from Afghanistan as a toddler.
Scaring people. Demonizing immigrants. Creating, like, a fervor — or an anxiety about what was happening in our country," former News Corp. Senior Vice President Joseph Azam tells NPR in his first public comments on his former employer.
"It fundamentally bothered me on a lot of days and I think I probably wasn't the only one," he says.
Azam says the rhetoric coming from some of his corporate colleagues sickened him: Muslims derided as threats or less than human; immigrants depicted as invaders, dirty or criminal; African-Americans presented as menacing; Jewish figures characterized as playing roles in insidious conspiracies.
Azam says he saw it throughout the Murdoch media empire — especially on the popular opinion shows of Fox News, including Jeanine Pirro, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, and Fox Business Network's Lou Dobbs.
According to the NPR report, Azam once challenged a Carlson tweet asking, “Why does America benefit from having tons of people from failing countries?” Azam tweeted a reply, “If you come upstairs to where all the executives who run your company sit and find me I can tell you, Tucker.”
Azam said he deleted the tweet after his boss advised him it was inappropriate.
Listen to Azam talk about working at News Corp. below, from NPR’s March 21, 2019 All Things Considered.
(Pirro image via screen grab)