Fox News boss Rupert Murdoch reveals what he really thought of Trump's election fraud claims
Georgetown, Delaware - While Fox News guests and anchors peddled ex-President Donald Trump's lies that voter fraud led to his loss in the 2020 election, the boss of the network, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, didn't believe a word of it.
Deposition testimony released Tuesday showed that Murdoch, the chairman of Fox Corp., did not buy into any of the theories pushed by Trump's legal representatives and surrogates on his conservative news network.
Fox News is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems in a $1.6 billion defamation suit that alleges the network deliberately lied about fraud claims to boost its ratings. Murdoch was deposed in the case on January 19.
A transcript showed that when Murdoch was asked by Justin Nelson, one of Dominion's attorneys, if "the 2020 election was not free and fair" the mogul's answer was, "No."
"Do you believe that Joe Biden was legitimately elected president of the United States?" Nelson asked.
Murdoch responded yes.
"It's incorrect that the election was stolen from President Trump; correct?"
"It was not stolen," Murdoch replied.
"Do you believe President Trump was a sore loser?"
"Yes," Murdoch said.
Fox News accused of maliciously promoting Big Lie
Dominion was wrongly accused by Trump's team of using its machines to manipulate votes to throw the election to Joe Biden. Trump representatives also said without evidence that the Denver-based voting machine maker was controlled by the Venezuelan government.
Fox News maintains that its reporting and commentary was protected by the First Amendment because allegations presented by a sitting president are newsworthy, even if false.
Dominion will have to prove to a Delaware court that Fox News acted with malice by recklessly disregarding the truth in reporting on Trump's claims and the false allegations against Dominion.
Dominion's motion for summary judgment – which cites deposition testimony and internal communications at Fox News – notes how executives, producers and anchors raised concerns about what Trump-supporting guests and anchors such as Maria Bartiromo, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro and former Fox Business Network anchor Lou Dobbs were saying about the false claims.
In his deposition, Murdoch admitted that Dobbs, Bartiromo and other hosts fueled the unsupported allegations against Dominion.
Many described statements by Trump's lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani as "nuts" and "crazy."
But they continued to appear on the network to promote falsehoods in the weeks leading up to the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, when Trump supporters attempted to stop the electoral vote count.
Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS