Rupert Murdoch is not a stupid man. He also was not always a fascist. But he has one ideology–money. All else in the world must bow to his personal desire for more power, including democracy. As you may remember, Herr Tucker did not immediately become a hard-core loon on Covid. He was initially critical of Trump for not taking it more seriously. But the rubes that Fox had developed for years weren’t there for it. They wanted to believe that Covid was a conspiracy against Trump and they were going to find the “news” to prove it to them. So as Eric Boehlert explains, Murdoch switched it up and went all in against doing anything useful about Covid because he feared losing viewers to OANN and other even worse networks.
In no other country where Murdoch owns properties and enjoys political leverage, such as Britain and Australia, have his media outlets endangered so many lives the way Fox News has in the U.S. There’s been a conscious decision by Murdoch to unleash on America an anti-science, anti-vaccine campaign the likes of which has never been seen before in modern media, which is why this NPR headline surprised nobody: “Study Finds More COVID-19 Cases Among Viewers Of Fox News Host Who Downplayed Pandemic.”
Why is Murdoch allowing, and even encouraging, the life-threatening programming to fester on Fox? He’s terrified of being outflanked by even more rabid, right-wing media outlets, such as OAN, and Newsmax. Committed to never allowing a sizeable audience take hold to the right of Fox News, Murdoch has made a calculated decision that actively endangering his viewers is preferable to them switching over to another channel.
One month after the 2020 election, Fox’s ratings were reeling as Newsmax vacuumed up MAGA viewers by telling them it’s not possible to know who had won the presidential election this year, and that Trump’s second term was still within reach. The channel specifically attacked Fox News for crowning Biden president-elect on November 7.
Also, Murdoch’s News Corps made headlines last summer when it cancelled a longtime, right-wing commentator in Australia. The move was widely seen as punishment for the pundit’s Covid lies. That’s because in Australia, Murdoch’s company operates under different rules and is willing to stand up for common sense when it comes to not pushing obvious Covid-19 lies.
In the States we have an entire Murdoch network that’s not only encouraging millions of viewers not to get vaccinated, but claims the inoculation might kill them, the government cannot be trusted, and the vaccine poses a danger to pregnant women.
Too cowardly to pull back his top-rated U.S. hosts, Murdoch refuses to protect American news consumers from Fox News’ cult-like disinformation regarding a miraculously safe and effective vaccine.
That’s a huge reason why the U.S. vaccination rate has stalled so far behind other industrialized nations — the Biden White House is facing a cynical and powerful anti-vax movement that’s unlike anything else in the world. We are the only country that’s simultaneously trying to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic while battling a homegrown, deep-pocketed political and media crusade determined to keep the pandemic going for partisan reasons.
The U.S. has become a global leader in pandemic lies, and that’s because of Murdoch, who rushed to get vaccinated one year ago. All that while the network churns out lies about the pandemic and it couldn’t care less that nearly one million Americans, including a huge block of Fox viewers, have perished.
Fox’s ratings are up and Biden’s approvals are down — that’s all Murdoch cares about.
He will be damned to the end of time for this. And so much else.