When Fox News launched twenty-six years ago, its mission was to advance the interests of conservatives and Republicans, and to serve as a partisan counterweight to credible news enterprises and honest journalists. While that was no secret, it’s founders – right-wing newspaper magnate Rupert Murdoch and GOP media consultant Roger Ailes – pretended to be “fair and balanced,” a slogan that falsely implied that other news operations were not (and which Fox ditched four years ago).
This week Rupert’s son, Lachlan Murdoch, who is now the network’s CEO, spoke at a Morgan Stanley investor conference where he said the quiet parts out loud. Apparently, in the Era of Trump and QAnon, it is no longer necessary to veil their biases in cheesy slogans. Murdoch said that…
“‘The main beneficiary of the Trump administration from a ratings point of view was MSNBC … and that’s because they were the loyal opposition,’ Murdoch said of the rival cable network. ‘That’s what our job is now with the Biden administration, and you’ll see our ratings really improve from here.'” […]
“‘Seventy-five million people voted for a Republican president, sometimes in spite of his personality at times,’ Murdoch said. ‘That’s what we represent. We’re going to stick to the center-right. That’s where our audience is.'”
Murdoch was obviously making excuses for the fact that, since the election last November, Fox News has slipped to third place in the cable news wars, behind MSNBC and CNN. Rachel Maddow is now the number one program in all of cable, not just cable news:
We are extremely appreciative of everyone who watches and supports this show and this network. We will keep doing our best to be worthy of your time and your trust. pic.twitter.com/YTUuHOSAeC
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) March 3, 2021
However, Murdoch’s explanation is peculiar in that he is also admitting that Fox News is “the loyal opposition” to the the administration of President Joe Biden. That’s wholly inappropriate from a journalistic ethics standpoint. Plus, it implies that they were affirmatively supporting Donald Trump for the past four years. Of course, anyone with a functioning cerebrum knew this, but it was rarely stated explicitly in public by Fox News executives.
What’s more, Murdoch is also saying that the reasons for his network’s blatant bias is for ratings. That’s also improper in the news business, where truth is the standard to which honest journalists aspire. Truth, of course, was the first casualty of Fox’s mangling of the reporter’s craft.
And as if that weren’t bad enough, Murdoch went on to concede the repugnant nature of Trump’s personality, or lack thereof. Yet he is still supporting him because of the voters he hopes to keep as viewers. Murdoch outright slams Trump’s noxious demeanor and, in the same sentence, declares that that’s what Fox News represents, and will continue doing so.
The position that Murdoch is taking is not acceptable for any enterprise that purports to be in the news business. And while he seemingly spoke for MSNBC, NBC didn’t appreciate that presumptuousness:
“A spokesperson for NBCUniversal News Group, which includes NBC News and MSNBC, said in response that ‘our role, and the role of any legitimate news organization — whether it includes an ‘opinion section’ or not — is to hold power to account, regardless of party.'”
And therein lies the difference between Fox News and its competitors. While other news networks may have opinions, they are based on facts and applied uniformly. At Fox News their overt negativity is always aimed the Democrats and the liberals whom they regard as enemies (as conveniently illustrated by Tucker Carlson) this week. Fox’s extreme political prejudice has even irritated other members of the Murdoch family. Lachlan’s big brother James complained about the “toxic” politics practiced by Fox News:
“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.”
That pretty much says it all. And it comes from a source that is embedded well inside the Fox bubble. Unfortunately, James has nothing to do with the network any more, other than being a shareholder. But when Daddy Murdoch is “off the air” that may change. And then, so may Fox.
NOTE: Twitter recently suspended the News Corpse account after 11 years without giving a reason. So if anyone wants to tweet articles from my website, please feel free to do so often and repeatedly. Also, Be sure to visit and follow News Corpse on Instagram. Thanks for your support.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.