Rupert Murdoch called Trump’s Jan. 6 actions “pretty much a crime,” the court document says

Rupert Murdoch. (Amanda Edwards / WireImage)

Rupert Murdoch’s contempt for former President Trump’s actions after the 2020 election was expressed again in evidence presented in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News.

“Trump’s insistence that the election be stolen and convincing 25% of Americans was a great disservice to the country,” Murdoch wrote to Fox News Media Chief Executive Suzanne Scott, according to recent unredacted evidence. “Quite a crime. It is inevitable that it exploded on January 6th.”

Fox Corp. CEO Murdoch also admitted in his testimony late last year that he asked Scott to remove Trump from the network.

That ban has since ended when Trump, who leads most polls for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, gave Fox News host Sean Hannity a lengthy interview running in multiple parts this week.

Murdoch’s comments emerged in a slide collection of points by Dominion Voting Systems released this week in his lawsuit against Fox. The presentation included a series of statements and communications from Fox News and its parent company executives, which were previously redacted.

Dominion, a maker of voting machines, claims Fox News deliberately disseminated Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election to appease its viewers, who fled the network in anger at the station’s appeal State of Arizona for then-candidate Joe Biden.

Fox News guests made false claims about Dominion ownership and said its machines manipulated votes to favor Biden. Fox News has claimed that the allegations are newsworthy and that its reporting is protected under the First Amendment.

“These documents show once again that Dominion continues to rely on cherry-picked quotes out of context to generate headlines to distract from the facts of this case,” a Fox News representative said in a statement.

Evidence and affidavits in the case – expected to go to trial in mid-April revealed deep concerns among executives, producers and hosts over Trump’s claims, while voicing concerns that fully denouncing them would put his audience off.

The evidence revealed on the slide also included documents from the “Brain Room” – a Fox News research unit – which alerted executives and producers that there was no evidence of voter fraud. The unit clarified that the claims made by Trump’s attorneys, Dominion’s machines that flipped votes from Trump to Biden, were false.

Trump’s camp said Dominion had erased 2.7 million Trump votes nationwide and switched Trump votes to Biden votes in several key states.

“Election officials from both political parties have publicly stated that the election went well, and international observers have confirmed that there were no irregularities,” the research group said in a memo.

David Clark, senior vice president of weekend programming and news at Fox News, testified that the Brain Room said the Dominion allegations were false and should never have been made public.

But Trump’s legal team of Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, who bolstered the claims without evidence, continued to appear on Fox News and Fox Business Network after the fact-checks were conducted.

A Nov. 30, 2021 message from Fox News producer Alexander Hooper said, “Every day spent with Rudy and Sidney is guaranteed gold,” referring to the ratings increase Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs would receive if the lawyers would be booked as guests.

Even Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ most strident prime-time host, expressed his disgust at Powell and her inability to substantiate her claims. In a November 17, 2020 message to Powell, Carlson told her it was “reckless and cruel” to continue making the allegations without hard evidence.

“They keep telling our viewers that millions of voices have been altered by the software,” Carlson wrote. “I hope you will prove that very soon. Unless you have conclusive evidence of fraud on this scale, it is a cruel and reckless thing to keep saying that.”

On November 21, 2020, Carlson wrote to Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, telling her that it was “shockingly reckless” to continue making allegations that Dominion was using software to manipulate votes without providing evidence.

In a text to an unknown recipient, Carlson – who expressed skepticism about Powell on his program – said it was “a shame we have to pretend the case even has a chance.”

Host Maria Bartiromo, who guest-starred Sidney and Giuliani three times on her Sunday Morning Futures show after Biden’s election was called, was fired by then House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on March 6. November informed: 2020 that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud and that the Democrats’ victory was just.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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