Nov 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Rupert Murdoch criticizes Trump for staying "focused on the past"

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch at the Sun Valley Resort of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 10, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rupert Murdoch took a dig at former President Trump Wednesday, telling investors that conservatives can't move forward while Trump stays focused on the past.

Why it matters: Murdoch and Trump's relationship soured after the media titan, best known for his ownership of conservative-leaning outlets like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, reportedly made the final call to give his team the go-ahead on calling Arizona for President Biden on election night last year.

Details: Addressing the annual meeting of stockholders, the executive chair of News Corporation said it is "crucial that conservatives play an active, forceful role" in today's political debate, but "that will not happen if President Trump stays focused on the past."

  • "The past is the past, and the country is now in a contest to define the future," said Murdoch, who is also co-chair of Fox news parent Fox Corporation.

Of note: In his address, Murdoch accused Facebook and Google of collusion on ad tech and overcharging advertisers, citing a Texas-led antitrust lawsuit.

  • "Let us be very clear about the consequences of that digital ad market manipulation: obviously, publishers have been materially damaged, but companies have also been over-charged for their advertising and consumers have thus paid too much for products," Murdoch said.
  • Murdoch said that recent practices at Facebook and Google "surely reinforces the need for significant reform." He also called for "algorithmic transparency."
"The idea falsely promoted by the platforms that algorithms are somehow objective and solely scientific is complete nonsense. Algorithms are subjective and they can be manipulated by people to kill competition and damage other people, publishers and businesses."

For the record: Murdoch also repeated a claim often made by conservatives, including Trump, that social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google are purposely censoring conservatives and conservative ideas from their sites.

  • "There is no doubt that Facebook employees try to silence conservative voices and a quick Google News search on most contemporary topics often reveals a similar pattern of selectivity — or to be blunt, censorship," Murdoch added.

Between the lines: Murdoch has long been one of Big Tech's most vocal critics, and he noted in his address the role News Corp. has played in "leading the global debate about Big Digital."

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