Tucker Carlson’s racist extremism got another voice of support from Fox News CEO Lachlan Murdoch.
Last week, Insider published an interview Lachlan Murdoch, conducted by Claire Atkinson. The article is behind a paywall and, since I don’t have a subscription, I have not been able to read it. But Atkinson discussed it on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday.
Her biggest takeaway was probably exactly what Murdoch wanted, a revision of his image as an out-of-touch CEO. What she found “in the reporting as well as in talking to Lachlan,” Atkinson said, “is that he’s very involved.” Despite having moved to Sydney, he’s “on the 8:30 on the Fox News’, you know, morning call every day,” she said.
If you ask me, being on a morning call is not proof that he’s really running the company or even that he’s fully familiar with its programming. Last year, The New York Times’ Ben Smith reported that much of the running of the company was delegated to “Viet Dinh, a high-powered Republican lawyer without much experience in the media business.” Smith also wrote, “People close to Lachlan Murdoch describe him as a laid-back executive who doesn’t spend his days watching Fox and is sometimes surprised to learn of a controversy it has generated.”
That certainly fits with Murdoch’s recent comments about the opinion shows being “center right” and “where America is.” It also fits with his clueless claim that Tucker Carlson did not endorse a white supremacy tenet, the “great replacement” theory, when he obviously had.
Host Brian Stelter, one of the outsiders most knowledgeable about Fox, didn’t comment on Lachlan’s management, which suggests to me he wasn’t fully on board with the “hands-on boss” version of Murdoch, either.
But Stelter did ask what Murdoch had to say about Carlson, “Fox's biggest lightning rod who's been pushing vaccination disinformation.”
ATKINSON: He believes that Tucker is brave and what he means by that is that Tucker says what is on people's minds. Lachlan has a philosophy degree from Princeton University and he mentioned that it kind of informed his thinking about everything, like question everything, question conventional thinking, whether it's at the dinner table or in society in general. Always ask questions about why people think the way they do and, you know, he believes that Fox News offers a diversity of opinion.
For Murdoch to claim Fox offers a “diversity of opinion” is further proof of his ignorance and/or dishonesty. It ignores how heavily Fox’s most-watched shows skew toward one side. Fox is even deliberately reshaping its “news” division into something more MAGA propagandistic. Just in the past week, conservative Jedediah Bila, who challenged the Big Lie, was ousted from her Fox & Friends hosting job in favor of Big Lie promoter Rachel Campos-Duffy.
In other words, the network wouldn’t tolerate even a diversity of conservative opinion.
But the bottom line is Murdoch’s the boss and whether he’s lying or ignorant or both, the boss just proved again that he’s 100% behind Carlson, the country’s most prominent white supremacist, hate monger and extremist.
Stelter summed it up: “If you want to know Tucker Carlson's future at Fox, there it is. The boss loves him. They are very close."
Guest Perry Bacon shot down the “center right” BS.
BACON: I don't think that Fox is center-right. I don't think that they're trying to triangulate between the parties. I think [Murdoch] said a lot of things that sound like nonsense to me, to be totally honest. It sounds like Fox is going to be what it's been for a long time. Its ratings are good, it has a certain -- it has a big audience on the right. I don't think Tucker Carlson is countercultural. He's for a lot of the things that most Republicans are for.
I just -- it sounds like the interview -- it sounds Fox is going to keep doing what it's doing which has been successful and also a real, dangerous part of the media environment in that it encourages a lack of facts, vaccination misinformation, lying and other dynamics. It's like we're not going to be rid of the dangerous version of Fox we have any time soon is what I'm gathering.
Unfortunately, Bacon is almost certainly correct.
Link to the video from CNN’s May 23, 2021 Reliable Sources is below.
(Murdoch image via screen grab)