James Murdoch has told the FT that US news channels promote “toxic politics” threatening US democracy. He said proprietors are as culpable as politicians who “know the truth but choose instead to propagate lies”.
While he doesn’t name his father Rupert, who founded Fox News, or Lachlan, the brother who runs it, there is zero doubt as to his target.
Asked directly about Fox News, Murdoch said media groups had amplified election disinformation, leaving “a substantial portion” of the public believing “a falsehood”.
“The sacking of the Capitol is proof positive that what we thought was dangerous is indeed very, very much so. Those outlets that propagate lies to their audience have unleashed insidious and uncontrollable forces that will be with us for years,” said Murdoch.
While Murdoch ran 21st Century Fox from 2015 to the 2019 sale to Disney and stayed away from the news business, he remained a director of Fox Corp owner of Fox News and the stable of right leaning newspapers in the US, UK and Australia until August last year.
Murdoch now openly criticises the company for its lines on a range of issues including the Trump administration, climate change and Brexit. He now says he prays people would “come to their senses” and said there was bound to be “a reckoning” for media.
His comments come as Rupert Murdoch’s UK company has obtained permission for the launch of News UK as a rival to GB News.