Schumer, Jeffries ask Murdoch to stop Fox hosts lying about 2020 election
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) have sent a letter to Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch asking him to stop Fox News personalities from “spreading false election narratives,” warning they could lead to “further acts of political violence.”
The Democratic leaders focus on Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has received exclusive access from Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to review security footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
“We demand that you direct Tucker Carlson and other hosts on your network to stop spreading false election narratives and admit on the air that they were wrong to engage in such negligent behavior,” Schumer and Jeffries wrote.
The Democratic leaders point to Murdoch’s deposition testimony in which he acknowledged several network hosts “endorsed” false narratives about the 2020 election being stolen and that he and other Fox executives didn’t stop them.
“Though you have acknowledged your regret in allowing this grave propaganda to take place, your network hosts continue to promote, spew, and perpetuate election conspiracy theories to this day,” they wrote.
They noted that Murdoch at one point characterized former President Trump’s claims that the election was stolen as “really crazy stuff” but has allowed Fox News hosts to continue “to peddle election denialism to the American people.”
“This sets a dangerous precedent that ignores basic journalistic fact-checking principles and public accountability,” they wrote.
The letter is also addressed to Fox executive chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and Fox News Media President Jay Wallace.
Fox News hosts including Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham privately expressed strong skepticism about Trump’s stolen election claims and even mocked Trump advisers who circulated outlandish theories, according to texts and testimony that have become public through a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox.
Murdoch admitted in his deposition that he would have “liked us to be stronger in denouncing” the stolen election claims and that he “could have” stopped them from being repeated on air “but I didn’t.”
Schumer and Jeffries raised concern about what they called the “alarming” decision to grant Carlson exclusive access to security footage from Jan. 6 despite Carlson implying in a documentary series that the mob breach of the Capitol was false-flag operation intended to discredit Trump supporters.
“We demand that you direct Tucker Carlson and other hosts on your network to stop spreading false election narratives and admit on the air that they were wrong to engage in such negligent behavior,” they wrote.
They argued that spreading “false propaganda” could embolden future attacks against lawmakers and public officials and “broadly weakens faith in our democracy.”
“Fox News executives and all other hosts on your network have a clear choice. You can continue a pattern of lying to your viewers and risking democracy or move beyond this damaging chapter in your company’s history by siding with the truth and reporting the facts,” they wrote.
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