Wednesday, February 1, 2023

James Murdoch blames US media for unleashing ‘insidious forces’

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James Murdoch blasted the US media for the “toxic politics” that threaten American democracy, claiming that landlords are as guilty as politicians who “know the truth but instead choose to spread lies.”

The remarks of Rupert Murdoch’s youngest son, made in an interview with the Financial Times and another joint statement with his wife Kathryn, are his strongest public rebuke against the American news industry since he stepped down. is separated from the family business built by his father.

Asked if America’s dominant conservative news network Fox News had played any role in the riot that shook Washington Last week, James Murdoch said media groups amplified election misinformation, letting “a substantial portion” of the public believe “a lie”.

“The damage is profound,” said Murdoch. “The sacking of Capitol Hill is proof that what we thought dangerous is indeed very, very good. These media that spread lies to their audiences have unleashed insidious and uncontrollable forces that will stay with us for years to come.

“I hope people who didn’t think it was so dangerous will understand it now and stop,” he added, noting that he had “not seen any evidence of this yet. “.

During the interview set up to discuss his latest digital business in IndiaMr. Murdoch did not directly mention Fox News, his father, who founded it, or his brother Lachlan, the CEO of Fox Corporation.

Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The network has long insisted on the gap between its opinion programming and news coverage.

While many Fox News hosts have defended Donald Trump’s political agenda, network reporters have often broken stories criticizing the president.

James Murdoch, who was chief executive of 21st Century Fox in 2015-2019, said he was also speaking on behalf of his wife Kathryn, with whom he has traced an independent path of the conservative policies of the Murdoch Empire. The couple have been big donors to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and have supported organizations fighting climate change and fake news.

Rupert Murdoch with James (right) and Lachlan Murdoch, © Kevork Djansezian / Getty

Rupert Murdoch’s six children each received up to $ 2 billion from the shattering of his media empire and the sale of his entertainment business to Walt Disney in 2019. Forgotten in the battle for family succession, James has then used the funds to create Lupa Systems, an investment vehicle to build a media portfolio.

In August, he withdrew from the family’s news business altogether, resigning from the board of News Corp – which has a stable of titles ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the Sun – due to “Disagreements on certain editorial content”.

While his objections are well known, so far he has been relatively reserved for public criticism. James, along with his siblings, still owns a significant share of the family trust, which those close to the Murdochs speculated could be used to influence the direction of the empire after Rupert relinquished control.

“The spread of disinformation – whether it’s elections, public health or climate change – has real-world consequences,” James and Kathryn Murdoch said in a joint statement following the FT interview.

“Many media owners have as much responsibility for this as elected officials who know the truth but instead choose to spread lies. We hope that the horrific scenes we have all seen will eventually convince these facilitators to repudiate the toxic policy they have promoted once and for all.

When asked if he saw signs of change, Mr Murdoch replied that he had prayed that people “come to their senses” and said there would necessarily be “an account” for the media. .

The owners of news organizations, he said, were “co-opted by forces who just want to stay in power, or who manipulate our rhetoric from abroad and are only too happy to cause chaos and mess. burn things ”.

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