Rupert Murdoch warned that Donald Trump’s obsession with the past could hobble conservatives as political tensions rage, a telling rebuke coming from the controlling shareholder of Fox News as some Republicans try to steer the former president away from his 2020 election grievances.
“The current American political debate is profound, whether about education or welfare or economic opportunity. It is crucial that conservatives play an active, forceful role in that debate, but that will not happen if President Trump stays focused on the past. The past is the past, and the country is now in a contest to define the future,” Murdoch said today at the annual meeting of shareholders of News Corp., where he is chairman.
Murdoch also serves as co-chairman of Fox Corp. with his son Lachlan Murdoch, who is CEO.
Trump and Fox News have not always seen eye to eye — the former was famously enraged when the network’s decision desk called Arizona for President Joe Biden in the last election. Republicans hoping for a victory in the 2022 midterms are growing concerned the former president’s insistence that the party tow the stolen-election line may hurt its prospects.
Trump has indicated he will undermine Republicans he considers disloyal on that front and threatened that his supporters may stay away from the polls. “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do,” he said last month.
Murdoch also used the forum to accuse social media giants Facebook and Google of trying to “silence conservative voices” and manipulating the digital ad market to the detriment of publishers, advertisers and the public.
“Both of these issues highlight the fundamental need for algorithmic transparency. The idea falsely promoted by the platforms that algorithms are somehow objective and solely scientific is complete nonsense. Algorithms are subjective and they can be manipulated by people to kill competition and damage other people, publishers and businesses,” he said.
Facebook’s business practices are under assault like never before after a former employee leaked a mountain of internal documents and data. Both giant companies are the target of lawsuits and potential legislation to curb their influence.
“What we have seen in the past few weeks about the practices at Facebook and Google surely reinforces the need for significant reform,” Murdoch said.