In a moment right out of HBO’s Succession, a Fox News broadcaster reported that the Republican cable channel’s founder is calling it quits.
Rupert Murdoch has controlled the Fox News* network, directing right-wing outrage and conspiracy theories for much of his 70-year media career.
Now, Murdoch, at age 92, is retiring as chairman of Fox Corporation and News Corp, the longtime leader in right-wing media. This follows several years of political upheaval, in which even MAGA viewers have turned on Fox News as Donald Trump has complained about the network not always supporting him as vehemently as he’d like.
It also comes amid legal difficulties for the network over supporting Trump’s election conspiracy theories, which sparked an insurrection against America’s government.
Earlier this year, the network settled a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million. They’re still facing another from Smartmatic, which also makes voting machines.
However, Murdoch’s stepping down does not, on its face, seem to indicate any significant changes forthcoming.
His 52-year-old son, Lachlan Murdoch, will be taking over his father’s roles. The senior Murdoch will also stay connected to the media empire as a chairman emeritus. And there’s every indication that he intends to keep his hand in the day-to-day decisions. Variety reports:
“As chairman emeritus, Rupert explained that he ‘will be involved every day in the contest of ideas,’ adding, ‘Our companies are communities, and I will be an active member of our community. I will be watching our broadcasts with a critical eye, reading our newspapers and websites and books with much interest, and reaching out to you with thoughts, ideas, and advice. When I visit your countries and companies, you can expect to see me in the office late on a Friday afternoon.’”
While not all of Murdoch’s children take the same extreme right-wing views as the man who will, in November, officially be a former chairman of Fox News, Lachlan is considered to be in the same conservative camp as his father.
He’s the eldest Murdoch son and has served as co-chair of Fox News for years. Lachlan Murdoch has held senior executive positions at the network since 1994, according to a FoxCorp Board of Directors bio.
He’s also been involved in legal issues over right-wing politics.
Earlier this year, he dropped a lawsuit against an Australian newspaper that called him (without referring to him by name) an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the January 6th attack.
His strategic lawsuit against public participation ended up with an order to pay the news publisher’s legal fees at a cost of $839k.
Just a week ago, institutional investors sued Fox News for its role in spreading Donald Trump’s election lies, leading to Dominion’s massive settlement.
Yesterday, biographer Michael Wolff released an excerpt of his new book The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty relating how the network fired Tucker Carlson as part of that settlement.
* Editor’s Note: Using the word news in “Fox News” does not indicate that it is a news network but merely represents the presentation of a proper noun.
Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here: