Tuesday, March 07, 2023


On Fox News last night, Tucker Carlson broadcast what was said to be a big story based on previously unreleased January 6 surveillance videos, but as Mediaite's Colby Hall notes, you'd never know it was a big story from watching other programming on Fox:
The segment exploded on the right-wing corners of social media, where it was celebrated as a “bombshell” of historic proportions.... The world’s richest Internet troll, Elon Musk, even got duped by the remarkably moronic segment, expressing shock at its supposed revelations.

Oddly enough, however, the bombshell has been entirely ignored by Fox News.

Since Carlson delivered the supposedly huge news during his Monday night program, not a single Fox News show has covered the revelations....

Fellow prime time hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham? They didn’t touch the story. The top-rated cable news morning show Fox & Friends, which caters to a Trump-friendly audience? They entirely ignored it. As of writing, the daytime news programs have also opted not to touch the story, including the opinion-based panel show Outnumbered.
I checked the Fox News website throughout the morning, and the report on Carlson's broadcast wasn't among the site's top stories until almost noon. I just checked again, and now it's buried -- ranked below stories such as "Ned Price Stepping Down as State Department Spokesman" and "Aaron Carter’s FiancĂ©e Speaks Out as Singer’s Mom Demands Investigation."

I can guess why Rupert Murdoch would want to bury the story: He loathes Donald Trump and doesn't want to promote anything that might make Trump more popular with Republican voters.

But Murdoch doesn't feel this strongly enough to prevent Carlson -- his employee -- from airing pro-Trump material. And of course he doesn't. Carlson is his most popular prime-time host. Carlson's show makes Murdoch a lot of money. So Murdoch buries the story on his channel's straight-news broadcasts and on the channel's website, and presumably discourages his other big-name hosts from promoting the story, while telling himself he can't possibly keep the story off his channel altogether, even though he owns the fucking channel.

As we know from his deposition in the Dominion lawsuit, Murdoch likes to say that he and the channel he owns can't possibly be blamed for inappropriate programming that people whose salaries he pays somehow magically put on the Fox air. When such programming appears, it's their fault, not his, and he's helpless to prevent it:
Question "You are aware now that Fox did more than simply host these guests and give them a platform, correct?"

Murdoch answer: "I think you've shown me some material in support of that."

Question: "In fact, you are now aware that Fox endorsed at times this false notion of a stolen election?"

Murdoch answer: "Not Fox, no. Not Fox. But maybe Lou Dobbs, maybe Maria, as commentators."

Question: "We went through Fox hosts Maria Bartiromo, yes?"

Murdoch answer: "Yes. C'mon."

Question: "Fox host Jeanine Pirro?"

Murdoch answer: "I think so."

Question: "Fox Business host Lou Dobbs?"

Murdoch Answer: "Oh, a lot."

Question: "Fox host Sean Hannity?"

Murdoch: "A bit."

Question: All were in that document; correct?"

Murdoch: "Yes, they were."

Question: "About Fox endorsing the narrative of a stolen election; correct?"

Murdoch: "No. Some of our commentators were endorsing it."

Question: "About their endorsement of a stolen election?"

Murdoch: "Yes. They endorsed."
They endorsed -- these people who mysteriously show up every day in studios Murdoch owns, appear on programs he controls, and cash paychecks he signs. But he has nothing to do with them!

Saying, in effect, "I'm just the cathouse piano player; I have no idea what goes on upstairs" might persuade a jury to rule in Fox's favor in the Dominion lawsuit. But this seems like more than just a deceitful legal strategy. In the period following the 2020 election, Murdoch wanted to wash his hands of Trump, but he also didn't want to do anything that would interrupt the Fox News money flow. Clearly that's still the case. And so Murdoch is still a Trump enabler, even if he lies to himself that he isn't.

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