A Washington Post article about Fox News has an interesting tidbit suggesting that CEO Lachlan Murdoch knew there was something wrong with at least one source of the dough Tucker Carlson is raking in for him. But not bothered enough to do anything about it, apparently.
The article is called, “A year ago, Fox News considered a breakup with Trump. 2021 changed those plans.” It suggests that Fox has made a deal with the Trumpism devil to keep its ratings high. One way the devil may claim its due is via the billion-dollar lawsuits Fox is facing as the result of its Big Lies about the 2020 election.
But there’s also the fact that the inmates are running the asylum. The Post's Sarah Ellison revealed this nugget about the oversized influence of Tucker Carlson, as seen in this anecdote about his seditious Patriot Purge series about January 6 (emphases added):
In November, Carlson produced a documentary series — released on the network’s streaming service, Fox Nation, but promoted on Fox News — that floated unfounded theories that the Jan. 6 attack was an inside job by the government to target Trump supporters. (“They’ve begun to fight a new enemy in a new war on terror,” Carlson intoned in the first episode. “ … an actual war, soldiers and paramilitary agencies hunting down American citizens.”)
The Carlson series drew howls of condemnation from critics outside Fox, but also some whispers of dissent within the network, including from anchors Bret Baier and Chris Wallace. In November, two longtime Fox News contributors, Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, cited Carlson’s special — “a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions” — as their primary rationale for resigning from the network.
Even Lachlan Murdoch, the chief executive of the network’s parent company, Fox Corp., was troubled by the incendiary trailer for the series, according to people who spoke with him. Yet the series continued to air on Fox Nation, which further lent Carlson an air of untouchability inside Fox. (Asked for comment, Brian Nick, a spokesman for Lachlan Murdoch, said, “When Lachlan has a concern, he addresses it internally with the team, not through the media.”)
NPR’s David Folkenflik reported that the objections from within Fox “rose to Lachlan Murdoch.” Presumably, inside dissenters were Ellison's sources about Murdoch feeling troubled. But, apparently, Murdoch was not troubled enough to stop a series that drove out Goldberg and Hayes and, very possibly, Wallace, too.
In March, 2020, New York Times media columnist Ben Smith wrote that Rupert Murdoch’s decision to put son Lachlan in charge of Fox was “a dangerous mistake.” Smith painted Lachlan Murdoch as an out-of-touch and disinterested manager without the chops for the job: “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,” Smith said.
However, Smith also noted that Carlson is the Fox host Lachlan Murdoch is closest to. In May, after her interview with Lachlan Murdoch, Insider’s Claire Atkinson told CNN, “[Murdoch] believes that Tucker is brave and what he means by that is that Tucker says what is on people's minds."
Before Lachlan Murdoch gave Carlson a pass to rewrite the history of an assault on our Capitol, he refused to acknowledge Carlson's promotion of white supremacists’ “replacement theory.” Carlson saw the green light and made the rhetoric a staple of his show.
So whether Lachlan Murdoch greenlit Carlson’s Jan. 6 series out of fecklessness, greed, admiration for the network’s prime time white supremacist and America hater or some combination of all three, the result is the same: a propaganda network that is dangerously out of control.
It’s a sobering thought for the holiday season, but here we are.
(H/T NewsHound Brian)
(Murdoch image via screen grab)