Lachlan Murdoch is either lying or else in complete denial about the dishonest, hypocritical and potentially very, very costly disclosures in Dominion Voting System’s $1.6 billion defamation case against Fox.
At the Morgan Stanley 2023 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference yesterday, Lachlan Murdoch continued the pretense that Fox News is a legitimate news organization. Never mind that Dominion filings have shown that Fox promoted lies about the so-called rigged election in 2020 that it knew were false or baseless.
In halting words, Murdoch revealed how out of touch with reality he is.
MURDOCH: [Our viewers] see Fox News as not just a news channel but really a channel that speaks to sort of middle America and respects the values of middle America.
Since when is lying to viewers “respecting the values of middle America?” Fox not only lied to its viewers about the 2020 election but is currently lying to them about the Jan. 6 insurrection and the Jan. 6 House committee’s investigation. And speaking of middle America, I’d love to know the last time uber-rich, Australian Murdoch hung out with anyone in “middle America.” It has been reported that Lachlan Murdoch doesn't even watch much Fox News
Murdoch continued by boasting about the strength of Fox News’ brand, as if it hasn’t taken any hits since the jaw-dropping Dominion briefs were made public. He also boasted that Fox has “the best demographics and the best diversity of any news channel.” He just forgot to mention that speaking truth that goes against network propaganda is grounds for censure or worse at Fox.
He also seemed to go out of his way to praise Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, reportedly a likely sacrificial lamb in the Dominion scandal. Murdoch said Scott and her team “have done a tremendous job of running this business and building this business.” He reiterated that she has “just done a tremendous job.”
I noticed he didn’t say anything about what she might do in the future for Fox.
If the interviewer noticed that or the “middle America” BS, he didn’t mention it.
Instead, the interviewer moved on to ask if there’s “anything you can share with the audience” on the Dominion lawsuit.
MURDOCH: I think fundamentally what I have to say about it is a news organization has an obligation, and it is an obligation to report news fulsomely, wholesomely, and without fear or favor. And that’s what Fox News has always done and that’s what Fox News will always do. And I think a lot of the noise that you hear about this case is actually not about the law and it’s not about journalism and it’s really about politics, right? And that’s, unfortunately, more a reflective of this sort of polarized society that we live in today.
Media Matters pointed out that Murdoch “failed to mention any obligation to honesty and the truth, perhaps because that is not a journalistic value that Fox News holds.” He also failed to mention that polarizing society is a deliberate strategy of Fox.
Furthermore, First Amendment experts have described Dominion’s defamation case as exceptionally strong. The fact that the judge has refused to dismiss the lawsuit is a good indication he doesn’t think it’s just “noise” and “politics,” either.
You can listen to Lachlan Murdoch’s alternate reality below, via Media Matters.
(Lachlan Murdoch caricature by DonkeyHotey, via Creative Commons license)
As for the reference to “middle America”, Murdoch is playing the usual angry Right Wing card about how the “coastal elites” in Los Angeles and New York somehow are “Far Left” and don’t care about the values of the average American.
It’s frankly odd to hear anyone trying to refer to Fox as “News” when in fact it was never intended to be a journalism outlet. Its entire purpose has been to be a counter to actual journalists and a propaganda platform to boost angry Right Wing politicians and to slag everyone else. It was established in the shadow of unrepentant bigot Rush Limbaugh’s AM show, with the thought of spreading that approach across a 24 hour news cycle.
We have noted over the past 27 years that Fox viewers are notably under-informed and in fact misinformed about both current issues and historical ones. We have noted that Fox regularly pushes extremely divisive rhetoric and bigotry and has paved the way for the candidacies and political careers of despicables like DeSantis, Gaetz, Greene, Boebert, Hawley, Cruz, etc. Not to mention the Pence White House and its childish former spokesman. And today, Fox is being outflanked on its own Right by even more extreme propagandists. Whereas Fox has been forced to recognize reality at various points (such as conceding the 2012 and 2020 Elections), propagandists like “Newsmax” and Glenn Beck feel they can get away with utter denial of reality. Which has in turn pushed Fox even farther to the Right and gotten them into this mess with all their post-Election denials of 2020 and their false coverage of the attempted insurrection of January 6, 2021.