A Q&A with Brian Stelter about his new Fox News book

Title: Brian Stelter’s New Book Reveals the Troubling Relationship Between Fox News and Trump


In his latest book, “Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy,” renowned media journalist Brian Stelter delves into the controversial and symbiotic relationship between Fox News and former President Donald Trump. Stelter’s meticulous reporting examines how the network’s promotion of conspiracies, particularly Trump’s “Big Lie” about the stolen 2020 election, played a significant role in Trump’s quest to retain power. The book provides a detailed account of the consequences Fox News faced due to these conspiracies and offers insight into the dismissal of its popular host, Tucker Carlson.

The Murdoch Family’s Role

Stelter highlights the role of Rupert Murdoch, the founder of Fox News, and his son Lachlan in shaping the network’s direction. The book opens with excerpts from Rupert Murdoch’s deposition in the Dominion Voting Systems case, where he appeared apathetic towards the damage caused by Fox News’ dissemination of false stories. Stelter argues that both father and son failed to intervene when truthful reporting was replaced by malicious lies. While Lachlan may not share his father’s affinity for Trump, his focus on business metrics and political ad spending overshadowed concerns about Trump’s dangerous rhetoric.

Fox News and the Drive for Ratings

Stelter’s interviews and research demonstrate that Fox News’ coverage of rigged elections, the January 6 insurrection, and attempts to maintain Trump’s grip on power were primarily driven by audience demands. The network’s on-air hosts, such as Sean Hannity, recognized the viewers’ desire to be told that Trump had been robbed of victory. Hannity prioritized catering to the audience’s preference for stories on voting irregularities, even though he privately expressed concerns about the potential consequences of the January 6 events. Stelter reveals that Fox News has consistently served its audience, aligning its coverage with Republican voters’ preferences.

The Power and Influence of Fox News

Stelter explains that Fox News wields significant influence over American politics, culture, and beliefs. He argues that the network propped up Trump while simultaneously poisoning him with misinformation, a theme explored in his previous book, “Hoax.” Stelter’s research uncovered a trove of internal communications within Fox News that revealed a disturbing disregard for journalistic norms. The revelations from Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against Fox News provided concrete evidence, confirming the claims made in “Hoax.” The subsequent settlement of the suit and Tucker Carlson’s dismissal added further intrigue to the story.

Insights from Inside Fox News

Stelter’s interviews with insiders shed light on the work environment within Fox News. While some employees genuinely believe in the Trump agenda, most view their roles as just a job rather than a calling. The book reveals that many staffers focus on gossip about host hookups and ratings rivalries, rather than reflecting on the network’s impact on society and democracy. Stelter notes that introspection and accountability are lacking at Fox News, reflecting a tone set by Rupert Murdoch’s directive to ignore criticism.

The Damage Inflicted

Although it is difficult to quantify the extent of the damage caused by Fox News, Stelter argues that the network has had a detrimental impact on the country, democracy, and journalism. The book raises important questions about the role of media in shaping public opinion and the responsibility of news organizations to uphold truth and journalistic integrity.


Brian Stelter’s “Network of Lies” provides a compelling and well-researched examination of the relationship between Fox News, Donald Trump, and American democracy. Through meticulous reporting and insider interviews, Stelter reveals the role of Fox News in promoting conspiracies and shaping public opinion. The book serves as a stark reminder of the power of media and the need for accountability within news organizations.

Original Story at www.poynter.org – 2023-11-13 12:34:35

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