Fox News hosts have spent the past few days wildly and irresponsibly speculating that the FBI planted evidence when investigators searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound, proving that the network is still very much a propaganda machine for the former president. Fox Corporation’s CEO Lachlan Murdoch, however, has privately bashed the former president, according to a report from CNN’s Reliable Sources.
Oliver Darcy reports sources have told him that Lachlan Murdoch, son of media scion Rupert Murdoch, has “freely criticized” Trump and does not like the way he acts. Lachlan has also reportedly said that if Trump runs in 2024 it would be bad for America. While the elder Murdoch’s negative feelings about Trump have been previously reported, his son’s thoughts on the former president were not widely known. Although the executive may not be a fan of Trump, the report says, Murdoch knows that the channel’s viewers would balk if the network were to pivot against him, which could hurt its bottom line. A Fox News spokesperson declined CNN’s request for comment on the matter.
This report comes not long after both The New York Times and The Washington Post noted that Fox News has recently limited its cheerleading of Trump. Although the network is still fervently defending him against the numerous investigations he now faces, they’ve been stingier with their air time. As the Times pointed out, Fox News did not broadcast Trump’s July rally in Arizona, choosing instead to air an interview with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who may challenge Trump in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. This and other slights led Trump to whine to aides that even Sean Hannity has not paid him as much attention as he’d like, the Times reported.
Even the editorial board on the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal turned on Trump during the Jan. 6 hearings, running an editorial titled “The President Who Stood Still on Jan. 6” after the panel’s damning presentation of the former president’s inaction on that day. “The most horrifying [facts] to date came Thursday in a hearing on President Trump’s conduct as the riot raged and he sat watching TV, posting inflammatory tweets and refusing to send help,” the editorial board wrote. And The New York Post (also owned by Murdoch) on Monday ran an editorial calling Trump the Republican Party’s “sabotager-in-chief” and blaming him for Biden and the Democrats’ recent legislative victories.
But since the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, the network is once again carrying Trump’s water and repeating his allegations that the investigation is politically motivated. “I don’t see how this guy has any credibility whatsoever,” host Jesse Watters said of Trump-appointed FBI Director Chris Wray on the day of the raid. “He’s got to go.” So while behind closed doors, Fox’s chief executive may have harsh words for Trump, it’s likely you won’t hear those criticisms on air.