Lachlan Murdoch, the top executive at Fox Corp., dismissed negative headlines surrounding the company as it faces a $1.6 billion lawsuit stemming from its coverage of the 2020 election.
“I think a lot of the noise that you hear about this case is actually not about the law, and it’s not about journalism, and it’s really about politics, right,” Murdoch said during a Morgan Stanley investor conference on Thursday. “And that’s unfortunately more reflective of this, this sort of polarized society that we live in today.”
Fox News is being sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems, with the voting software company alleging the network knowingly aired false statements about its product being peddled by former President Trump and his allies in the weeks that followed the election.
Depositions and private communications by leading Fox employees made public through Dominion’s recent legal filings show top hosts and executives at the network dismissing Trump’s unproved claims of election fraud while worrying how the cable news network’s giant audience would react to fact checks of those claims.
Fox, in legal filings of its own and public statements, has defended itself on First Amendment grounds, arguing it had a journalistic duty to cover the newsworthy allegations being put forth by the president and his aides.
The network has separately accused Dominion of “cherry picking” quotes from its top hosts and leaders for the company’s legal filings and inflating its financial valuation.
“I think fundamentally what I have to say about it is that a news organization has an obligation, and it is an obligation, to report news fulsomely, wholesomely and without fear of favor,” Murdoch said. “And that’s what Fox News has always done and what Fox News will always do.”
Murdoch separately gave a public vote of confidence in Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, who is at the center of several of Dominion’s claims against the company.
“And this is really important — it’s a credit to Suzanne Scott and all of her team there,” Murdoch said. “They’ve done a tremendous job at running the business and building this business.”
A trial by jury in the case is expected to begin next month.
Updated at 2:13 p.m.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.