Rupert Murdoch Admitted Some Fox Commentators Endorsed Election Lies

From a Washington Post story by Jeremy Barr, Sarah Ellison, and Rachel Weiner headlined “Rupert Murdoch admitted some Fox commentators ‘endorsed’ election lies”:

Rupert Murdoch, chair of Fox News’s parent company, acknowledged in a deposition that “some of our commentators were endorsing” the baseless narrative that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

When asked in particular if Fox News host Jeanine Pirro was among the hosts who endorsed the claims, Murdoch replied “I think so.” He said that former host Lou Dobbs did so “a lot,” and that 9 p.m. host Sean Hannity did so “a bit.” Yet Murdoch denied that Fox itself endorsed the claims.

Murdoch’s sworn testimony was made public on Monday as part of a response by Dominion Voting Systems to Fox’s bid to have a judge throw out the election technology company’s $1.6 bill defamation lawsuit. Dominion has alleged that Fox broadcast comments made by Trump-affiliated lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani that defamed the voting company.

Murdoch was also quoted in Monday’s filing as stating on the record that Fox News executives should be “reprimanded, maybe got rid of” if they have been proven to have known that lies were being broadcast on the network.

A previous filing from Dominion made public on Feb. 16 contained evidence that Murdoch did not believe the allegations of voter fraud made by Trump’s attorneys on Fox programs. In the latest filing, Dominion cites Murdoch acknowledging that he doubted the claims from the beginning.

“I mean, we thought everything was on the up-and-up,” he said in his deposition. “I think that was shown when we announced Arizona,” referring to Fox’s election-night prediction that Joe Biden would win the highly contested state.

Murdoch acknowledged that he had a “long talk” with his son, Fox Corp chief executive Lachlan Murdoch, and Fox News executive Suzanne Scott, about “the direction Fox should take” after the some once-loyal Fox viewers turned away after the Arizona call. When Rupert Murdoch was pushed by Jared Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law, to recant the call, Murdoch recounted in his deposition that he refused to do so and said, “Well, the numbers are the numbers.”

Jeremy Barr covers the media industry for The Washington Post.

Sarah Ellison is a staff writer based in New York for The Washington Post. Previously, she wrote for Vanity Fair, the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, where she started as a news assistant in Paris.

Rachel Weiner covers federal courts in Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Va.

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