Former Fox News executive Preston Padden just eviscerated his former place of employment in a recent op-ed for liberal news site The Daily Beast titled, “Former Murdoch Exec: Fox News is Poison for America.” Padden previously worked under founder Rupert Murdoch for seven years but is saying now that the network has drifted far from its original center-right vision and has turned into a network that constantly spews fake news and hateful conspiracy theories.
According to Yahoo! News:
Initially Fox News followed the standard Murdoch playbook: find a market in need of new competition, jump in with both feet and shake up the status quo. Clearly there was an opening for a responsible and truthful center-right news network. And that is how Fox News started. I played a cameo role in the birth of Fox News by accompanying Roger Ailes to meet with then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani to seek his help in persuading Time-Warner CEO Gerry Levin to carry Fox News on the all-important Time-Warner Cable systems in New York City. Levin did not want to provide “oxygen” for a new channel to compete with Time-Warner’s CNN. Ultimately Murdoch had to pay a massive “tribute” to cable operators to get Fox News added to their systems. But as always, he was confident—confident that his new channel would be a success and that he would get all the money back. And he did.
But, in recent years things have gone badly off the tracks at Fox News. Fox News is no longer a truthful center-right news network. The channel (especially the leading prime-time opinion programming) has contributed substantially and directly to:
Padden claims that Fox News has single-handedly contributed to the COVID-19 death rate, the January 6th Capitol riot, as well as the current division of Americans.
Fox News has caused many millions of Americans—most of them Republicans (as my wife and I were for 50 years)—to believe things that simply are not true. For example, Yahoo News reports that 73 percent of Republicans blame “left-wing protesters” for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Of course, that is ludicrous. All one has to do is look at the pictures or videos of the attack to see that the violent mob was comprised of Trump supporters. Similarly, a poll by SSRS in late April found that two-thirds of Republicans either believe or suspect that the election was stolen from Trump—60 percent saying there is “hard evidence” that the election was stolen. As noted above, this ridiculous notion has been thoroughly refuted. But millions of Americans believe these falsehoods because they have been drilled into their minds, night after night, by Fox News.
Over the past nine months I have tried, with increasing bluntness, to get Rupert to understand the real damage that Fox News is doing to America. I failed, and it was arrogant and naïve to ever have thought that I could succeed. I am at a loss to understand why he will not change course. I can only guess that the destructive editorial policy of Fox News is driven by a deep-seated vein of anti-establishment/contrarian thinking in Rupert that, at age 90, is not going to change.