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Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch talked about his company’s recent defamation suit settlement with Dominion Voting Systems by pointing to CNN so far escaping litigation after holding a chaotic town hall with Donald Trump filled with alleged falsehoods about the 2020 U.S. election.
“How do we not get sued? It’s a great question. We could be CNN,” Murdoch told MoffettNathanson’s Inaugural Technology, Media and Telecom Conference on Wednesday during an appearance that was webcast.
“I haven’t seen a lawsuit yet. Maybe there’s one coming, but I’m not gonna hold my breath,” he added, arguing it was as newsworthy for Fox News to cover Trump’s “allegations” of widespread fraud in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election as CNN did last week.
Murdoch insisted Fox Corp. settled the Dominion lawsuit at a cost of $787 million after the court limited the company’s ability to use the First Amendment in its defense. Also, had the trial proceeded, the company faced a potential multiyear appeals process.
“Ultimately, it was a difficult decision, but the right decision, because I don’t believe Fox News or any of our hosts engaged in any defamation during the whole period, but it was the right business decision,” he added.
Asked about Fox News firing Tucker Carlson, Murdoch declined to talk about “programming decisions” at the network, “short of saying all of our decisions are made with the long-term interests of the Fox News brand and business at heart.”
Murdoch also pointed out that Fox News parting ways with Carlson followed earlier ousters of primetime ratings winners, with no apparent downside for the business.
“We’ve done it before, right? You know, Bill O’Reilly was a superstar. Megyn Kelly was a superstar. Glenn Beck was a superstar, and we’re able to move forward with programming decisions that ultimately result in long-term growth and profitability of the business,” Murdoch said.
He added the advertising business at Fox News had not been impacted by the exit of Carlson.
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