A former Fox Broadcasting executive has slammed Fox News
, calling it "poison for America
" and claiming that even the network's owner, Rupert Murdoch
, is skeptical of its coverage.
“Rupert Murdoch, whom I served for seven years, has many business
and journalistic accomplishments; he owes himself a better legacy than a news channel that no reasonable person would believe,” Preston Padden wrote in an op-ed for The Daily Beast.
Padden was president of network distribution at Fox Broadcasting Company in the 1990s and was instrumental in the launch of Fox News, which was created to fill “an opening for a responsible and truthful center-right news network,” according to Padden.
But, he continued, things have “gone horribly off the rails at Fox News” in recent years.
He accused the channel, particularly its prime-time opinion programming, of making a significant and direct contribution to: COVID-19
deaths due to vaccine
and mask misinformation
; societal divisions by stoking racial animus and spreading falsehoods about Black Lives Matter protests
; former President Donald Trump
's "Big Lie
" about the 2020 election
; and the violent Jan. 6 attack
on the United States
“Fox News has led many millions of Americans, the vast majority of whom are Republicans
(as my wife
and I have been for the past 50 years),” he wrote.
He cited polling that shows a sizable proportion of Republicans blame “left-wing protesters” for the Jan. 6 attack. “Of course, that is ludicrous,” he wrote, adding that two-thirds of Republicans believe or suspect Trump’s 2020 election will be stolen from him.
“This ridiculous notion has been thoroughly refuted,” Padden went on, “but millions of Americans believe these falsehoods because Fox News drills them into their heads night after night.”
The "greatest irony," he said, was that he believed most of the lies
on Fox News did not reflect Murdoch's own views.
I believe he believed it was important to protect his own health
by wearing a mask during the pandemic and encouraged me to do the same. I believe he believed it was important to protect his own health by getting vaccinated as soon as possible and encouraged me to do the same. And I believe he believes former President Trump is an egomaniac who lost the election.
Padden, who is currently the principal
of a consulting firm and a member of an advisory board for a private equity investment firm, said he had tried and failed for the past nine months to persuade Murdoch of the harm Fox News is causing America.
“I don’t know why he won’t change his mind,” he said.
Stardia's request for comment was not immediately answered by Fox News.
Personalities on the network have been known to spread dangerous and misleading information about the coronavirus pandemic
and the 2020 election, as well as manufactured and divisive political controversy, white supremacist rhetoric and revisionist history
about the January 6 Capitol riot
, among other false and misleading claims.
The Daily Beast has published the full op-ed here.