May 24, 2022 - Economy

Lachlan Murdoch responds to criticism that Fox News is polarizing

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch isn't afraid to clap back at critics who say Fox News' programming has become too divisive.

  • "I think when you're in the news business, and you're number one ... you get a lot of heat and it just comes with the territory," he told Axios, referring to the company's longtime cable news ratings lead.

Why it matters: Cable news became even more ideologically split during the Trump administration and in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

  • Fox News primetime hosts have has been criticized for promoting conspiracies and falsehoods around the election results, COVID-19 and other issues.
  • "I think the world is more divided and on edge than it has been, you know, for a very long time," Murdoch said in an interview last week. "I think on the noise around it, so much of it is politicized ... And so, you've got to be tough about it."

Details: Last week, protesters lined up in front of Fox Corporation's New York City headquarters to protest Fox News primetime hosts in the wake of a Buffalo, New York, shooting.

  • A broad array of Democratic officials and progressive groups have criticized Fox News, saying its hosts have referenced the "great replacement theory," a racist conspiracy theory that reportedly inspired the Buffalo shooter.
  • Murdoch pushed back against those attacks, noting that the shooter's manifesto also targeted Fox Corp owner Rupert Murdoch for his support of Israel.

Flashback: Last Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Rupert Murdoch and other Fox News executives asking them to "immediately cease the reckless amplification of the so-called 'Great Replacement theory' on your network’s broadcasts."

  • "Unfortunately, it comes with the territory," Murdoch said. "You've got to kind of realize what it is and how some of it is very organized kind of attacks — very coordinated — but it is what it is."

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