Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch claims about Fox News prove he’s either shockingly ignorant about his own network or shockingly dishonest. Or both.
“Opinion on our channel is center-right. That’s the right place for us to be. That’s where we think our audience is, that’s where middle America is. We’re happy with that positioning.”
“That means there’s space to our left and to our right for competitors to come in,” Murdoch added. “We’re confident in our journalism, confident in our reporting. We’re very happy with our opinion hosts.”
We get the balance [of news and opinion] right,” Murdoch said. “It’s a 24-hour news cycle, it’s a crazy news cycle, so when we don’t get it right, we’re transparent about it, and we correct it.”
This is such a load of bull crap, it’s hard to know where to begin. And what’s worse is nobody challenged it.
FACT CHECK: Fox News is now a network of extremism. From promoting the Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election that has generated two gigantic defamation lawsuits against the network, to promoting dangerous disinformation about COVID-19, to endorsing a white supremacy theory (which Murdoch also missed) to deliberately endangering journalists, to urging viewers to harass people who choose to wear masks outdoors, there is nothing "center" about Fox. In reality, the network is waging war on America.
FACT CHECK: As for Murdoch's claim about correcting mistakes... Fox recently promoted, for three days, a bogus story about President Biden banning burgers. The network's correction, three days later, was brief and half-baked. Just last weekend, host Maria Bartiromo and guest Newt Gingrich were still pushing the Big Lie about the 2020 election.
FACT CHECK: Fox News does not represent middle America. While Fox News worships Donald Trump (and attacks his critics), and has hired some of his lyingest supporters, Trump was never popular. The reverse is true about President Joe Biden. Fox relentlessly smears him and his policies, yet both are popular with Americans. Fox represents only the right-wing of the country and the two have gotten more radicalized together.
FACT CHECK: Fox is deliberately destroying its “news” division. Media Matters’ Matt Gertz sums up the situation in an article that also provides an excellent timeline of relevant events: “The network spent the last two years decimating its ‘news’ side, elevating its ‘opinion’ side, and tearing holes in the supposed barrier between the two -- and the deterioration is only accelerating.”
And Lachlan Murdoch is misleading everyone about the whole thing.
(Murdoch image via screen grab)
The Right Wing has desperately tried to convince everyone that the centerline of political discussion has somehow shifted six football fields to the Right over the past decades, when in fact that never happened. The centerline does not shift just because one side decides they’re going to move it. And just because there are piles of angry Right Wing shock jocks on AM radio trying to imitate the unrepentant bigotry of despicable men like Rush Limbaugh does not mean that the centerline suddenly moved. It just means that angry Right Wingers would like to get away with saying as much outrageous material as they can, and they’re hoping nobody will call them out on their behavior.
The entire point of the existence of Fox News has always been to promote a Far Right propaganda tilt of “journalism”, as Roger Ailes designed it. The point was always to normalize angry Right Wing talking points and to put everyone else on the back foot. Fox News has never been in the mainstream, and the Right Wing attempts to redefine CNN as somehow “Far Left” have always been laughable. One has to wonder if these guys have ever heard of Pacifica Radio.
But it is true that there are now even more extreme outlets flanking Fox News on the Right – namely the wingnuts at Newsmax and OAN and Breitbart and the like. In the aftermath of Donald Trump losing the 2020 election, it does seem that a chunk of the angry Right Wing base of Fox News is now turning to these alt propaganda sources that go even farther down the rabbit hole. So it makes sense that Fox News is frantically trying to reclaim its viewers by throwing them more red meat. I’d note that Fox News only covered the election results as they did as a way of trying to pretend to be “fair and balanced”. It’s a similar game to that played by Rasmussen Reports in their polling – keep a heavy Right Wing thumb on the scale until the last possible minute and then report something accurately at the very end and then claim to have always been accurate.