Lachlan Murdoch: Fox News Is Not State TV

Lachlan Murdoch - Getty - H - 2016
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The Murdoch scion said a network should never get behind one individual.

Lachlan Murdoch, the executive chairman of parent company 21st Century Fox, said it's "not true" to claim that Fox News is tantamount to a Donald Trump-boosting, American version of state television.

"I don't think that's true," he said when Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget posed the question during a Wednesday morning panel at the Ignition conference.

Fox News has been accused by critics of being in the tank for Trump, but Murdoch said that's not the case.

"I don’t think any media organization should be behind an individual," he said. He said, though, that it's fine for a network to get behind certain concepts or ideals.

Murdoch cited Fox News anchor Shepard Smith as evidence of the network's independence. "You can't say that Shepard Smith is behind the president," he said.

Asked whether he would consider bringing a left-leaning media talent to the network, Murdoch said he doesn't think that person would be able to succeed there.

He mentioned MSNBC's Rachel Maddow as an example, and said, "It would be bad for her, and probably bad for us, if we hired her." Murdoch said the network could offer her "all the money in the world" to sign on, but that she would probably lose her audience by coming to Fox News. 

"You have got to be careful with changing the format too much," he said. 

When asked whether Fox News is "fair and balanced," Murdoch pointed to The New York Times as an example of another organization that has a clear separation between an impartial news department and a partial editorial department. "Is The New York Times fair and balanced?" he asked.

He said that Fox News helps fill a gap in the center-right market, and that remains the company's strategy.