Lachlan Murdoch pushes back on criticism that Fox News is 'state TV' under Trump

Drew Angerer/Getty Images21st Century Fox co-chair Lachlan Murdoch in Sun Valley, Idaho.
  • 21st Century Fox co-chair Lachlan Murdoch rejected the notion that Fox News represents a sort of “state TV” under President Donald Trump.
  • Murdoch’s comments came at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference.

21st Century Fox co-chair Lachlan Murdoch on Wednesday defended criticism of Fox News’ cosy relationship with President Donald Trump and longtime embrace of right-wing politics, particularly on its opinion side.

Asked by Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget whether the network lived up to its former slogan as a “fair and balanced” news organisation, Murdoch compared Fox News to the distinction between the opinion and news sections at the New York Times.

“Is the New York Times fair and balanced?” Murdoch said in response at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference. “You’ve got to look at the news organisation and the editorial organisation.”

“One of the reasons why the New York Times is such well-respected newspaper and a very fine news organisation, is that their opinion is very strong,” he said. “And there’s clearly a direction and an opinion that speaks to their readers. It’s the same for Fox News.”

Murdoch also dismissed criticism that under President Donald Trump, Fox News represented something of a “state TV.” He pointed to like Shepard Smith, who have frequently spoken out against the president.

“I don’t think that’s true, and I don’t think that any media organisation should be behind an individual,” Murdoch said. “You can be behind ideals and concepts, you can be behind whether you think your viewers want lower taxes and higher employment.”

“You should never get behind an individual because individuals can be fallible,” he added.

Murdoch largely avoided questions about the future of 21st Century Fox. He refused to answer questions about whether the company was attempting to spin off most of the company besides Fox News to Disney, but said the company would never buy CNN.

He also praised the recent wave of sexual harassment revelations, which have resulted in high-profile television departures by anchors at Fox News, NBC, CBS, among other industries.

“We should all see it as a very good year because it is completely unacceptable for men, and unfortunately we’re seeing powerful men, engage in harassment in the workplace,” Murdoch said.

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