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Rupert Murdoch admits he “could have” prevented Rudy’s lies on Fox but “didn’t” End-shutdown




Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch admitted in a statement that while he had an opportunity to stop former President Donald Trump’s legal team from selling lies about voter fraud on his network, he decided not to take it.

“I could have. But I didn’t,” Murdoch told Dominion Voting Systems lawyers when asked if he could have ordered Fox News to keep Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell off the air after the 2020 election.

On top of that, Murdoch also admitted that several of his network stars helped shape a false on-air narrative about the election being “stolen” from Trump due to corrupted voting machines. “They supported,” the Fox president declared under oath in a legal document unsealed Monday. “I wish we were stronger in calling it out in retrospect.”

This latest filing from Dominion, which is suing Fox News for $1.6 billion, comes on the heels of the voting software firm releasing an explosive batch of emails and text messages earlier this month from the presenters, producers and executives of Fox News. Both sets of documents portray network bosses and top stars criticizing the Trump team’s “crazy” voter fraud claims behind the scenes as they are simulcast to millions of viewers.

Dominion argues that damning internal communications between Fox employees and management prove the network knowingly spread lies after the loss of Trump as a way to bolster its ratings.

The messages reveal that Fox executives and staff were concerned about disgruntled MAGA viewers who abandoned them for alternatives like Newsmax after the network called Arizona for Joe Biden, sparking outrage from Trump and his supporters. Shortly after Arizona’s first call, many of the network’s hosts and commenters began spreading outlandish theories that Dominion’s machines and software were part of a complex voter fraud conspiracy involving, among others, the late dictator Venezuelan Hugo Chavez.

In his deposition before Dominion’s lawyers last month, Murdoch was forced to admit that while Fox has argued that his hosts reported Trump’s voter fraud claims “neutrally,” many of them actually endorsed the lies of the media. “solemn election” of the former president.

Stating that former Fox Business host Lou Dobbs amplified the unsubstantiated narrative of voter fraud “a lot,” Murdoch also admitted that current Fox News stars Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo and Sean Hannity also sold Trumpworld’s falsehoods to the air.

“Yes. They approved it,” he said.

While these latest documents reveal that Murdoch was deeply concerned about the impact Trump’s election loss was having on the network’s ratings and reputation, they also show that he was willing to stand on the sidelines as Fox gave Giuliani airtime. and Powell to voice their unsubstantiated accusations. .

And you could have told [Fox News CEO] Suzanne Scott or the anchors, ‘Stop putting Rudy Giuliani on the air,’” a lawyer asked the owner of Fox News.

“I could have. But I didn’t,” Murdoch replied.

Dominion’s filing also included a statement from Fox legal director Viet Dinh, who said he raised concerns about Hannity’s on-air rhetoric in the days after the election. Noting that Hannity said on November 5, 2020, that it would be “impossible to know the true, fair and accurate election results,” Dinh noted that he told other Fox executives that “Hannity is walking terribly to the line with his comments and guests tonight.”

Asked if the network administration had an obligation to prevent its hosts from spreading lies, Dinh replied: “Yes, to prevent and correct known falsehoods.”

However, with viewers fleeing the network in the days after the election, Murdoch and other executives began talking about “the direction Fox should go” and how to win back that audience. On November 8, 2020, Murdoch confirmed that part of that decision was to allow Team Trump’s “wild claims” to air, framing them as “big End-shutdown” and that it was simply the network “talking about the End-shutdown”.

The head of Fox’s “Brand Protection Unit,” Raj Shah, a former Trump administration official, warned executives after the first call from Arizona that the network “would get hit hard from the right” if it went ahead of the call. Biden for president. Shah would later share polling data with Murdoch and others showing that “positive impressions of Fox News among our viewers plummeted after Election Day to the lowest levels we’ve ever seen.”

While many of the Fox News executives were frightened by the exodus of viewers, Fox Corp. board member Paul Ryan told Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch “that Fox News should not spread conspiracy theories.”

A Fox News spokesperson reacted to Dominion’s latest filing by saying it shows “an extreme and unsupported view of defamation law that would prevent journalists from doing basic reporting.”

In their counterclaim earlier this month, Fox’s lawyers said that “a reasonable viewer would have readily understood that the hosts were not defending the president’s allegations, but were instead providing a forum for the chief architects of those legal challenges,” and they added that “there is no potential for defamation at all.”

At the same time, the network strives to keep its audience in the dark about the blockbuster lawsuit and the latest revelations. In addition to telling Fox News media host Howard Kurtz that he is not allowed to cover damning copy, the channel also shot down an ad that featured its stars dismissing Trump’s behind-the-scenes election lies.

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