After numerous “disagreements over certain editorial content” from the company’s news outlets, former Fox CEO James Murdoch abruptly quit News Corp’s board of directors this week.
“My resignation is due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions,” a July 31 letter from Murdoch to the board read.
Murdoch’s father Rupert and brother Lachlan responded to James’s departure in a statement: “We’re grateful to James for his many years of service to the company. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
The publishing arm of the Murdoch family’s media empire, News Corp holds The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, HarperCollins, and others.
James Murdoch formerly served as CEO of 21st Century Fox from 2015 until 2019 when Disney purchased much of its assets in a deal worth more than $71 billion. The remaining television broadcasting assets, including Fox News, were spun off into Fox Corporation in March 2019, the sister company to News Corp.
Murdoch reportedly took his $2.1 billion cut of the Disney deal and began to look for other companies to build. His investment company Lupa Systems has put money into start-ups combatting so-called fake news, as well as U.S. organizations targeting electoral interference, climate change, anti-Semitism, and bipartisan unity.
James Murdoch has long disagreed with his family’s right-leaning news outlets over climate change, to the point where he and his wife Kathryn publicly rebuked News Corp outlets over editorial decisions regarding climate change in January. Kathryn was formerly an employee of the Clinton Climate Change Initiative, according to the Guardian.
He is not a supporter of President Donald Trump and donated to Democrat political candidates including Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, according to the Daily Beast.
Trump calls out Fox News
While James’ brother Lachlan is considered to be more right-friendly, Trump has recently expressed anger at Fox News for what he has called its “disloyalty” — a perceived movement to the left and an increasing willingness to criticize the president.
In April, Trump called for an “alternative” to the network after getting repeated criticism by former DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile, a regular Fox News contributor, and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. However, the president more recently agreed to be interviewed by Wallace for an exclusive in July.
Fox is “doing nothing to help Republicans, and me, get re-elected on November 3rd,” Trump tweeted in May, noting that while there are some “GREAT” people at Fox, others have “forgotten the people that got them there.”
While it is true that Republicans and conservatives are what have made Fox News the top-rated cable news network for the last several years, I think Trump should be careful about expecting never to be criticized. In my view, Fox News doesn’t have any obligation to show favor to Trump. The network calls itself “fair and balanced” for a reason, and I don’t think it really helps Trump as much as he thinks, if the network comes off as nothing more than his mouthpiece.