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Attacking Lachlan Murdoch

For two days, Ben Smith — the man who leaked the Steele dossier and defended it even though it was full of lies and Russian propaganda — has attacked Lachlan Murdoch, purportedly with friends of his.

First, Smith calls it a “dangerous mistake” to put the 48-year-old in charge of the network. What is the major accusation against Murdoch?

The person who could have stopped the flow of misinformation was Ms. Scott’s boss, Lachlan Murdoch, the chief executive of the Fox Corporation. But he wasn’t paying much attention.

Can you image the reaction at the New York Times if the CEO entered the newsroom and demanded changes? For goodness sake, when the New York Times’s actual editor didn’t show enough fealty to various woke causes, the reporters nearly rioted. If the corporate owner showed up and barked orders, there would be a mass walk out.

But the New York Times wants the corporate CEO of 21st Century Fox to dictate the news coverage on a subsidiary cable channel that happens to have more audience than the other news networks and more overall eyeballs each day than the New York Times gets.

The 48-year-old heir to his family’s media fortune was focused instead on buying a streaming company called Tubi for $440 million, a person who has spoken to him said. The acquisition would drive “long-term growth,” he proudly announced in a news release on March 17.

Just so we are all on the same page, 21st Century Fox is not Fox News. Fox News has a chief executive. Her name is Suzanne Scott. Lachlan Murdock is in charge of a global corporation that owns a great many global media outlets.

Not content to use people to trash the head of 21st Century Fox, the next day Smith attacked Fox for taking precautions to protect the health of 89-year-old Rupert Murdoch. Because of the overnight opinion hosts were downplaying the spread of the coronavirus and convincing others it was no big deal, Smith posits it was hypocritical of the corporate owners to take it seriously.

Again, the New York Times is demanding intervention at the network by its corporate owners in a way the New York Times would reject for itself.

The reason has very little to do with the virus and very much to do with Lachlan Murdoch increasing his grip on the network. It is an effort by the media to undermine the new leadership, cast doubts, and shame both advertisers to impact the revenue stream and the company itself. It is corporate bullying by a competitor designed to either get it to fall in line or be harmed financially.

On top of that, the accusation amounts to a singularly impressive charge — the corporate owners of 21st Century Fox let its news channel have editorial independence.

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