- The Washington Times
Thursday, October 17, 2019

Fox Corp. executive chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch spoke out in a rare interview about the lack of civil debate in the U.S. and how the Trump era has affected cable news.

During an interview with Mr. Murdoch published Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter’s Matthew Belloni commented about how it’s “gotten so nasty at Fox News.”

“Look,” the Fox executive responded. “I think unfortunately in this country, there is less and less civil debate, and I think we’re all poorer for it.”

Mr. Murdoch was also asked whether an impeachment trial for President Trump would fetch “good or bad” ratings for Fox News.

“Look, the news cycle has been crazy for everyone,” Mr. Murdoch answered. “And there’s a point where people become exhausted. But if you look at this administration, the network that has benefitted the most has been MSNBC.”

The Fox executive’s comments follow Fox News anchor Shepard Smith’s sudden exit from the network after working there since its 1996 inception. Mr. Smith was a frequent critic of President Trump’s policies and publicly criticized his primetime colleague Sean Hannity and the network’s opinion commentary.

Mr. Murdoch didn’t talk about Mr. Shepard’s departure but was asked by The Hollywood Reporter whether the late Roger Ailes would tolerate so much infighting at the network.

“I can’t speak to if Roger were around or not, but unfortunately in this country there’s less and less civil debate,” Mr. Murdoch said. “Civil debate among our countrymen and our colleagues at work is something we always aspire to.”

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