Can Lachlan Murdoch rein in scandal-hit Fox as 2024 election looms?

Lachlan Murdoch, the anointed son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has taken over as chair of Fox Corporation, following his recent appointment as head of the family’s publishing division, News Corp. As the US approaches the 2024 presidential election, Lachlan Murdoch’s role in shaping US politics has become increasingly significant. However, observers suggest that his primary concern lies in protecting the profitability of Fox News rather than preserving democracy. Lachlan Murdoch is also auditioning for the approval of his elder siblings, who will have equal voting rights to determine the future of the family business after their father’s death.

Fox News is still grappling with the consequences of its coverage of the 2020 presidential election. The network recently paid $787.5m to Dominion Voting Systems for defaming the company by spreading lies about the election being stolen. The Murdochs have privately criticized Donald Trump‘s behavior, but failed to rein in their hosts from spreading misinformation. Fox Corp is now facing multiple lawsuits related to the so-called “Big Lie,” including a $2.7bn lawsuit from voting machine company Smartmatic.

Lachlan Murdoch’s upbringing was steeped in media and politics, as his father would quiz him and his siblings on newspaper headlines before school. Despite a rivalry with his younger brother James, Lachlan eventually emerged as the favored son, taking control of the Network Ten broadcasting company in Australia and becoming the head of the Murdoch family in the country. Colleagues describe Lachlan as personable and down-to-earth, with an affinity for Australia’s egalitarian ethos. However, Lachlan eventually lost his investment in Ten Network after it was placed into bankruptcy.

The sibling rivalry between Lachlan and James escalated in 2015 when they were appointed co-chairmen of 21st Century Fox. James abruptly resigned from the family firm in 2020, citing disagreements over editorial content, particularly the denial of climate change and support for Trump. This cleared the way for Lachlan to become CEO of Fox Corp. He splits his time between Australia, Los Angeles, New York, and the UK. Observers suggest that Lachlan is more of an absentee landlord, relying on others to manage the day-to-day operations of Fox News.

As Lachlan Murdoch assumes his role as chair of Fox Corporation, his primary focus appears to be on protecting the profitability of Fox News, rather than preserving democracy. With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, the network’s coverage and its impact on the political landscape will be closely watched. Lachlan’s relationship with his siblings, particularly his elder sisters who will have equal voting rights in determining the future of the family business, remains a key factor in his leadership. The Murdochs’ handling of the fallout from the 2020 election and their response to lawsuits related to misinformation will also shape the network’s reputation and influence going forward.

Original Story at – 2023-11-20 20:14:42

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