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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Former Fox executive Preston Padden Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images

Fox proprietor Rupert Murdoch "owes himself a better legacy than a news channel that no reasonable person would believe," former Fox executive Preston Padden wrote in an op-ed for the Daily Beast, published Monday.

Why it matters: Padden was president of network distribution at the Fox Broadcasting Company for seven years and helped in the launch of Fox News, which he described in the article as "poison for America."

What he's saying: Padden wrote that Fox News began as "a responsible and truthful center-right news network." Since then, "things have gone badly off the tracks at Fox News," he said.

  • He accused the channel and its "prime-time opinion" shows of contributing to division in the U.S., citing examples including promoting former President Trump's rally before the U.S. Capitol riot and showcasing his "wild and false claims" about the 2020 election.
  • Padden alleged that Fox News caused the "unnecessary" deaths of "many Americans" by "fueling" COVID-19 vaccine hesitation and "disparaging the wearing" of masks — linking to a report on remarks by Fox host Tucker Carlson railing against children wearing face coverings.

Of note: "The greatest irony is that I don't believe that most of the falsehoods on Fox News reflect Rupert Murdoch's own views," Padden wrote, adding that the Australian-born American businessman had worn a mask and got vaccinated, encouraging him to do the same.

  • "I believe that he thinks that former President Trump is an egomaniac who lost the election by turning off voters, especially suburban women, with his behavior.
"Over the past nine months I have tried, with increasing bluntness, to get Rupert to understand the real damage that Fox News is doing to America. ... I am at a loss to understand why he will not change course. I can only guess that the destructive editorial policy of Fox News is driven by a deep-seated vein of anti-establishment/contrarian thinking in Rupert that, at age 90, is not going to change."

The other side: Padden said Fox News had provided him with "examples of pro-mask/vaccine on-air comments." But he argued that these "were heavily outweighed by the negative comments of the highly rated primetime opinion hosts."

  • Representatives for Fox News and Trump did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Go deeper

J.D. Vance addresses tweets slamming Trump: "I regret being wrong"

J.D. Vance, venture capitalist and author of "Hillbilly Elegy." Photo: Astrid Riecken for the Washington Post via Getty Images

Author J.D. Vance, who's running in the Ohio Republican race for a U.S. Senate seat, addressed on Fox News Monday his since-deleted tweets criticizing former President Trump.

Why it matters: The venture capitalist and now-vocal Trump supporter has been accused of hypocrisy and "flip-flopping" after CNN's Andrew Kaczynski last week shared screenshots of the 2016 tweets in which Vance said the then-presidential candidate's comments on "Immigrants, Muslims, etc." were "reprehensible."

2 hours ago - World

Biden: U.S. combat mission in Iraq will end this year

Biden returning to the White House on July 25. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The United States' combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq will be completed "by the end of the year," President Biden said Monday prior to a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Why it matters: Biden is close to shifting the U.S. military mission in Iraq to a fully advisory role more than 18 years after combat troops were sent to the country under the former President George W. Bush.

How extreme weather feeds inflation

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

This summer's extreme weather is having ripple effects that could raise food prices in the U.S. and disrupt diets around the world.

Why it matters: Climate scientists and food supply experts, like those at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, have long warned about the impact of human-caused global warming on prices, food shortages and hunger.

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