Murdoch thought Fox hosts may have gone ‘too far’ in coverage of Trump’s election lies, new filings reveal

Fox Corp chairman also admitted the 2020 election was fair and not stolen from Mr Trump

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 08 March 2023 00:47 GMT
Related video: Tucker Carlson falsely suggests 2020 election was ‘unfairly conducted’

Rupert Murdoch thought Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham went “too far” in backing Donald Trump’s election lies on the right-wing channel, bombshell new legal filings reveal.

Mr Murdoch also said that he believed that the 2020 election was free and fair and not stolen from Mr Trump, documents reveal.

In sworn questioning in January by lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems, Mr Murdoch was asked, “Do you believe that the 2020 presidential election was free and fair?”

“Yes,” he replied, according to a transcript, reported the Associated Press. And later he admitted, “The election was not stolen.”

The revelation was made as a cache of new documents was uploaded on Tuesday as part of the $1.6bn lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting System against Fox News.

“Still getting mud thrown at us! … Maybe Sean and Laura went too far. All very well for Sean to tell you he was in despair about Trump but what did he tell his viewers?” Fox Corp chairman Mr Murdoch wrote in a 21 January 2021 email to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott.

In a 19 November 2020 email to an associate, Mr Murdoch wrote that the “stupid and damaging” fraud claims had made Mr Trump “increasingly mad” and a “danger” as president.

“Apparently not sleeping and bouncing off walls! Don’t know about Melania, but kids no help,” Mr Murdoch wrote.

The $1.6bn defamation lawsuit against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems over the network’s coverage of the 2020 presidential election has been termed as an assault on the First Amendment by attorneys for the channel.

“Thanks to today’s filings, Dominion has been caught red handed again using more distortions and misinformation in their PR campaign to smear FOX News and trample on free speech and freedom of the press,” Fox News said in a statement to The Independent.

“We already know they will say and do anything to try to win this case, but to twist and even misattribute quotes to the highest levels of our company is truly beyond the pale.”

Dominion alleges that Fox knowingly aired baseless conspiracy theories that the company’s voting machines played a part in Donald Trump losing to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

In a separate lawsuit, voting tech company Smartmatic has claimed that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch played a central role in claims that their technology helped “Steal” the election from Mr Trump.

Smartmatic said that both executives “directed Fox News Network to embrace disinformation following the 2020 US election as a business decision.”

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