James Murdoch Scorches the ‘Disinformation’ and ‘Toxic Politics’ of… Fox News?

Last week the militant flank of Donald trump’s cult brigades mounted a seditious assault on the Congress of the United States. Their mission was to disrupt the legislative branch of government from performing its constitutional duty to certify the results of the presidential election. Their orders came from Trump himself who was intent on overturning the will of the American people and declaring himself the de facto dictator of the country.

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Fox News, Titanic

Trump’s plot was a predictable failure, like pretty much everything else he attempts. But it still produced significant harm as at least five people were killed, and untold more injured. And that isn’t counting the harm it did to the nation’s reputation and faith in democracy.

However, this violent and unpatriotic insurrection didn’t happen in a political vacuum. It was whipped into a manic state of irrational fury by the relentless provocation of Trump, who devoted months to persuading his cult disciples to ignore reality and to disbelieve the facts about the election that he lost decisively to Joe Biden.

Trump was aided and abetted by an ultra-conservative pack of media shills who parroted his delusional assertions of election fraud. And that media contingent was led, as usual, by Fox News. Sycophantic bootlickers like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro and the “Curvy Couch” potatoes of Fox and Friends, all contributed to the flagrant flurry of falsehoods that buttressed Trump’s attempted coup.

The traitorous rhetoric disgorged by Fox News was produced and sanctioned by the family of Rupert Murdoch that controls the company. The patriarch, Rupert, still serves as chairman of the media empire. His son Lachlan is the current CEO. And their hand-picked executive team carries out their orders to advance the rightist dogma of the Trump-led Republican Party.

Rupert’s other son, James, has set himself apart from any operational role in the family business. Although he is still a major stockholder and sits on the board of directors. However, he appears to have somewhat less extremist conservative positions. And that was evident in his remarks following the Capitol riots:

“The damage is profound. The sacking of the Capitol is proof positive that what we thought was dangerous is indeed very much so. Those outlets that propagate lies to their audience have unleashed insidious and uncontrollable forces that will be with us for years. […]

“Spreading disinformation – whether about the election, public health or climate change – has real world consequences. Many media property owners have as much responsibility as the elected officials who know the truth but instead choose to propagate lies. We hope the awful scenes we have all been seeing will finally convince those enablers to repudiate the toxic politics they have promoted once and forever.”

James Murdoch nimbly avoided naming names in his commentary. But it’s difficult to imagine anyone other than Fox News when he cites “those outlets that propagate lies.” Fox News has long been the foremost offender among media sources that were “spreading disinformation” about “the election, public health or climate change.” So when brother James condemns the “media property owners … who know the truth but instead choose to propagate lies,” it’s impossible to believe that he isn’t referring to his father Rupert, and his brother Lachlan.

And James is right about the persistent damage caused by the purposeful dishonesty of his family of propagandists. They enabled both Trump and the hordes he commanded into the service of his totalitarian aspirations. His statement is a profound condemnation of a media Firestarter bent on burning down the foundation of American democracy.

However, what will James do about it going forward? As a board member and stockholder he has considerable clout in shaping the future direction of the company. And he has both ethical and financial arguments for insisting on major changes. After all, Fox News has taken a considerable hit in the ratings since the election on November 3rd. CNN has actually been beating Fox regularly since then. Even MSNBC has been outperforming Fox.

So now that Fox is languishing in third place it would be a good time to shake up their programming. The problem is that they have actually been getting worse and worse. They even announced recently that they will not broadcast an inaugural special on January 20th that is being carried by CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC. So if James wants to be taken seriously, he needs to do more than release statements to his pals in the press.

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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

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4 thoughts on “James Murdoch Scorches the ‘Disinformation’ and ‘Toxic Politics’ of… Fox News?

  1. If FOX News really wants to be “Fair and Balanced,” then they need to have more commentators such as Chris Wallace, and the occasional Judge Nepolitano as the moderate and reasonable commentators.

    Frankly, I am sick of the lies and the insidious extreme right-wing rhetoric of Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham, and other guest commentators who obviously are more interested in riling up the base than they are in providing truth and facts. Viewers saw what happened on January 6th at the Capitol, and frankly, that was a bridge too far for anyone who understands how fascism and authoritarian government gets its start in overturning Democracy.

    For over four years, Fox has fed its audience a constant steady diet of trumpism, lies and disinformation, emphasizing for example, the anarchists, looters, arsonists and troublemakers who infiltrated the peaceful BLM protests but somehow could not draw a similar comparison with the anarchists who deliberately tried to subvert a legitimate election, using the same tactics, only clouding it as if “they were exercising their First Amendment Rights!” What we actually witnessed was one branch of government, the Executive, trying to override, and stop another branch, the Legislature, from doing its job, because we had a childish loser who refuses to accept that the election was fair, even after 60 cases and the SCOTUS, with 3 hand-picked trump judges, found all to be without merit or evidence!

    I certainly hope that James Murdoch and others on the Board, with a true understanding of how the media can actually create anarchy by a constant diet of fanning the flames of hatred, racism and divisiveness, and instead would terminate the liars and start putting people on who truly reflect what America and its Democracy are all about–a country of DIVERSE people, with a variety of ideas, who can have healthy debate on how to solve America’s problems for, “We, the People!”

  2. Why IS Rupert Murdoch so driven to destroy our democracy? He must like living here, since I read that he’s moved here, likely part-time basis.
    FauxNews is NOT news, as it has said when questioned by federal gov’t agency (Congress?). Yet, they promote themselves as a “news” channel, while being nothing more than divisive, destructive propaganda disseminators. They should:
    a) Be taken off the air; or
    b) Have to quit using the name/term “news”; or
    c) At very least, should be forced to have a disclaimer on screen at all times (ticker tape would be good) stating that they are for entertainment (yuck!) only & not fact-based news outlet!

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