Fox News will not change political stance, says Lachlan Murdoch
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Fox Corporation chief executive Lachlan Murdoch defended the company’s financial powerhouse Fox News, telling investors the network would go from “strength to strength” despite a drop in ratings after the cycle. the US presidential election.
“We expect news audiences to normalize and Fox News to continue to dominate,” he said Tuesday while announcing that cable channel chief Suzanne Scott would remain in an extension of “multi-year” contract.
Observers have questioned how the controlling Murdoch family would position Fox News during a Biden presidency, after some Donald Trump loyalists opposed the network after the November election when he called for a vote in favor of Joe Biden then. that Trump denied the results.
This led to a split in the conservative audience, as some supporters of the former president flocked to smaller niche broadcasters such as Newsmax.
However, Murdoch indicated that Fox News would not pivot, saying, “We will stay where we are and we believe that it is absolutely fair and that it is the best thing for the company.”
“We believe that where we are targeted, center-right, is exactly where we should be targeted. We don’t need to go any further to the right. We don’t think America is more right, ”he said. “And we’re obviously not going to rotate left.”
Fox News, alongside other U.S. news companies, is entering a new political era after Trump’s chaotic presidency fueled a gripping news cycle, fueling record television ratings in recent years.
Murdoch’s comments came as Fox News is embroiled in a legal battle over its coverage of Trump’s baseless allegations of voter fraud.
Smartmatic, a voting machine company accused by Trump supporters of helping rig last year’s U.S. election, sued Fox News, several of its prominent presenters and two of the attorneys last week. former president for defamation.
On Monday night, Fox filed a motion to dismiss the $ 2.7 billion lawsuit, arguing that network coverage was protected by the First Amendment.
“When a sitting president and his deputies sue the results of an election, the public has a right to know the substance of their claims and the evidence supporting them,” Fox said in his motion. “If these surrogates fabricated evidence…. . then a libel action can be brought against them, but not against the media which covered their allegations and allowed them to try to substantiate them.
Last month, Murdoch’s brother James criticized the US media for “toxic politics” threatening American democracy in a scathing rebuke from the country’s news industry. He did not directly mention Fox News, his father, Rupert, or his brother. The company, which has long insisted on the divide between its opinion programming and media coverage, did not respond to his comments.
Since Rupert Murdoch agreed to sell his prized television and movie studios to Disney in 2017, the remaining Fox company has grown much thinner. The $ 20 billion group leans heavily towards live news and sports, two genres that have been less vulnerable to streaming disruptions.
Fox reported adjusted net income of $ 93 million, or 16 cents per share, on revenue of $ 4.09 billion in the three months ending in December, beating Wall Street estimates.
Fox News fueled the results, offsetting higher spending in other parts of the business due to rising NFL rights costs and the cancellation of sports games due to the pandemic. The company’s cable division posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $ 571 million, up from $ 556 million a year ago, as Fox News affiliate fees rose to “double digits” .
Shares fell 4.5% to $ 31.24 early in the session.