James Murdoch says he quit his father’s media empire because it was ‘legitimizing disinformation’ and slams ‘crazy’ Trump for ‘infecting the US with cruelty’ and downplaying COVID
- The youngest son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch told the New York Times about his decision to break free from the family business
- James Murdoch, 47, said he ‘pulled the rip cord’ from the family empire because he was ‘increasingly uncomfortable’ with News Corp and Fox
- He accused the news organization of ‘legitimizing disinformation’ suggesting it ‘hides agendas’, ‘sows doubt’ and ‘obscures fact’
- He said he also clashed with the family empire’s denial of climate change
- Murdoch also blasted Trump’s ‘craziness’ for downplaying COVID-19
- He blamed the president for ‘infecting the population’ with ‘cruelty’ saying ‘it’s no coincidence the number of hate crimes in this country are rising’
- Murdoch threw his support behind Joe Biden saying ‘hell yes’ when asked if he will be voting for the Democratic candidate in November’s election
- Conservative outlet Fox, owned by News Corp, has long been an ally to Trump
- Murdoch quit the board of News Corp in July blaming ‘disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company’s news outlets
The youngest son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his second wife Anna told the New York Times about his decision to break free from the family business, saying he ‘pulled the rip cord’ because he was ‘increasingly uncomfortable’ with News Corp and Fox ‘legitimizing disinformation’ and denying climate change.
In a major departure from his father’s Fox business which has long been an ally of the president, Murdoch also blasted Trump’s ‘craziness’ for denying the dangers of the pandemic and said ‘it’s no coincidence the number of hate crimes in this country are rising’ since he entered the White House.
Murdoch, 47, sensationally quit the board of News Corp at the end of July citing ‘disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company’s news outlets’.
News Corp is one of the two major media conglomerates owned by the Murdoch family, the other being Fox Corporation, which was established after The Walt Disney Company acquired the majority of 21st Century Fox last year.
The empire and the dramas going on among family members has been an inspiration for the popular TV show ‘Succession’.
Murdoch told the Times it was ‘not that hard a decision’ to stand down from News Corp because of major disagreements with his father and brother Lachlan over the running of the business.
He accused the news organization of ‘hid[ing] agendas’, ‘sow[ing] doubt’ and ‘obscur[ing] fact’ to its audience at a time when Trump has blasted other outlets for spreading so-called fake news while often heaping praise on conservative outlet Fox.
‘I reached the conclusion that you can venerate a contest of ideas, if you will, and we all do and that’s important,’ he told the Times.
‘But it shouldn’t be in a way that hides agendas. A contest of ideas shouldn’t be used to legitimize disinformation.
And I think it’s often taken advantage of. And I think at great news organizations, the mission really should be to introduce fact to disperse doubt – not to sow doubt, to obscure fact, if you will.’
Murdoch said he became ‘increasingly uncomfortable’ with the inner workings at the company and so ‘pulled the rip cord.’
‘I just felt increasingly uncomfortable with my position on the board having some disagreements over how certain decisions are being made,’ he said.
‘So it was actually not that hard a decision to remove myself and have a kind of cleaner slate.’
Murdoch said he felt he couldn’t change the company from the inside and so no longer wanted to be associated with it.
‘I think there’s only so much you can do if you’re not an executive, you’re on the board, you’re quite removed from a lot of the day-to-day decisions, obviously,’ he said.
‘And if you’re uncomfortable with those decisions, you have to take stock of whether or not you want to be associated and can you change it or not.
‘I decided that I could be much more effective outside.’
He added that he had ‘been arguing about politics since I was a teenager’ with his father.
Murdoch told the Times his new ventures include investing in start-ups created to combat fake news and the spread of disinformation.
He said fake news was ‘terrifying’ because it ‘undermine our ability to discern what’s true and what’s not’ and said the spread of disinformation ‘is only at the beginning as far as I can tell.’
The Australian-born mogul began building his media empire in Australia by acquiring numerous publications in the 1950s, before entering the British newspaper market in 1969, and expanding to the US in 1974.
He founded News Corporation in 1980, which quickly evolved into one of the largest media groups in the world owning assets in print, news, and television.
In 2013, News Corporation split into two sister companies, News Corp and 21st Century Fox. The latter was later rebranded as Fox Corporation after the majority of its assets were sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2019.
Murdoch currently serves as the executive chairman of News Corp and the chairman of Fox Corporation. He is estimated to be worth $17billion.
Lachlan Murdoch, 48, the eldest of the Murdoch children, is the heir apparent to News Corp Executive Chairman Rupert and is co-chairman of News Corp. He was named executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corp in 2019, after 21st Century Fox was sold to Disney.
Before the sale, younger brother James had been the CEO of the company and Lachlan was executive chairman. Lachlan is also chairman of Australian entertainment company NOVA Entertainment, which operates a number of radio stations across the country.