- Lachlan Murdoch said the Fox News host’s comments were “horrific and disgusting”, according to court documents
- Leland Vittert was criticized for challenging Trump’s election fraud claims, the lawsuit said.
- Court documents reveal how Fox News executives feared alienating Trump fans.
Lachlan Murdoch, the eldest son of the billionaire owner of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, has ordered a network anchor to be reprimanded for challenging Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, it has been revealed. in court documents.
Fox CEO Lachlan said journalist Leland Vittert’s “anti-Trump” views were “[s]mug and obnoxious”, according to a legal filing made as part of a $1.6 billion lawsuit by Dominion against Fox News.
Dominion accused Fox News of pushing baseless claims that voting machines were used in a scheme to rig the results of the 2020 election. The company released several private communications with the owner of network, Rupert Murdoch, and his top lieutenants, including his son Lachlan.
According to the documents, Lachlan had a close interest in the network’s coverage of a November 14 2020, Washington, DC, rally of Trump supporters protesting against what they say was a stolen election.
“He said [Fox News executive Susan Scott] on November 14 during Fox’s coverage of a rally in support of Donald Trump that ‘News guys should be careful how they cover this rally. So far some of the comments on the side are quite hostile, and it’s not appropriate. The narrative should be that this is a big celebration of the 25th president,” it added.
“Scott replied: ‘Yes thank you’; and when Lachlan criticized Leland Vittert’s coverage as ‘[s]mug and obnoxious,’ Scott said he was ‘calling now’ to direct Vittert’s producer to fix the issue,” it said.
Vittert, who has worked as a correspondent in the Middle East and Ukraine, clashed with a Trump aide during Fox News’ November 14 coverage of the rally after challenging his claims of election fraud.
The anchor left Fox News in April 2021, and now presents a show on NewsNation. Insider has contacted Leland for comment.
The documents reveal the Murdochs’ role in shaping Fox News’ coverage of the 2020 election, as well as their uncertainty about how to handle claims of fraud made by Trump and his allies, which they believe that’s a lie.
They show the extent to which the Murdochs worry about how aggravating Trump or his supporters might hurt their ratings and profits.
Fox News disputed Dominion’s case, saying its right to discuss Trump’s election fraud claims is protected under the First Amendment.
“Dominion’s lawsuit has always been more about what makes headlines than what withstands legal and factual scrutiny,” it said in a statement.
“Their summary judgment motion takes an extreme, unsupportable view of defamation law that would prevent journalists from basic reporting and their efforts to publicly challenge Fox for covering and commenting on the allegations of a sitting The President of the United States should recognize this for what it is: a flagrant violation of the First Amendment.”