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Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch weighed in Thursday on the lawsuit his company is facing from Dominion Voting Systems, as well as the flurry of media coverage about his company stemming from document releases over the last few weeks.
Asked at a Morgan Stanley conference about the suit, Murdoch reiterated that the trial is still scheduled to begin in April. “We’ll all be waiting for that,” he said.
However, he also elaborated on the coverage of the case, which has garnered attention from just about every major news outlet, and sparked segments on CNN and MSNBC. Depositions, text messages and emails from Murdoch, his father Rupert Murdoch, and other Fox News executives and on-air personalities have become headline fodder, providing some insight into the inner workings of the cable news channel.
“I think a lot of the noise that you hear about this case, is actually not about the law,” Murdoch said. “And it’s not about journalism. It’s really about the politics, right? And that’s, unfortunately, more reflective of that sort of polarized society that we live in today.”
“A news organization has an obligation — and it is an obligation — to report news fulsomely, wholesomely and without fear or favor, and that’s what Fox News has always done,” Murdoch said. “And that’s what Fox News will always do.”
Murdoch also elaborated on the Fox News brand and the competitive landscape.
When you look at focus groups of Fox News viewers, said Murdoch, “they see Fox News as not just a news channel, but really a channel that speaks to sort of middle America and respects the values of middle America,” adding that it is “a business that is most relevant to them as opposed to simply a news channel.”
That loyal audience is one reason, he speculates, that CNN and MSNBC have not been able to catch up to Fox in the ratings. He also praised CNN’s “great owner” and “terrific management team.”
“They have deep pockets, and yet it’s hard for them to get traction,” he said of CNN. “This is a hard business to run.”
But he did praise one of his own executives: Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, who has been at the center of the Dominion case.
“The position on the channel is very strong and doing very well. And it’s a credit to Suzanne Scott and all of her team there, and they’ve done a tremendous job at running this business and building this business,” he said.
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