- Rupert Murdoch said in a January 2021 email to Paul Ryan that Sean Hannity was “pissed off” by Trump.
- Murdoch added in his email that Hannity is “afraid of losing viewers” despite his anger at Trump.
- Murdoch told Ryan that Hannity also needed a “wake-up call” after the chaos at the Capitol.
Rupert Murdoch said in an email that Fox News host Sean Hannity is, in private, “disgusted” with former President Donald Trump, but is more concerned about continuing to watch.
Portions of emails Murdoch sent in 2021 were published Monday in a court filing from Dominion Voting Systems. One of these exchanges between Murdoch, his son Lachlan Murdoch, the CEO of Fox Corporation, and Paul Ryan, a member of the board of Fox Corporation, was dated January 12, 2021 – six days after the riot in the Capitol.
In the email exchange, Ryan, a one-time Republican House speaker, told the two Murdochs that after the 2020 election, “a very high percentage of Americans” think the election was stolen from Trump because in the right wing of the media.
“Thanks Paul. Wake-up call for Hannity, who has privately hated Trump for weeks, but is afraid of losing viewers,” wrote Rupert Murdoch in response to Ryan. Hannity anchors one of Fox News’ most-watched shows, behind “The Five” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
In response, Ryan told Murdoch that he thought Fox and its hosts should try to “put the obvious lies out of our side.”
“I really hope that our contributors, along with Tucker, Laura, and Sean will get that and implement it,” Ryan said, likely referring to Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Hannity.
Murdoch responded that he thought “everyone” was “outraged” by the lies surrounding voter fraud — especially after the Jan. 6 riots, according to Dominion’s court filing.
Dominion court filings release private messages from Fox hosts
Dominion Voting Systems has accused Fox of defaming it by pushing false claims about the company’s role in the 2020 election. Dominion is seeking $1.6 billion in damages.
Murdoch separately acknowledged in his deposition that Fox News hosts were pushing falsehoods about the 2020 election — but at the same time denied that the Fox Corporation endorsed these false claims.
Dominion in its court filings argued, citing exhibits and depositions, that Fox News hosts like Hannity privately disagreed with pro-Trump election conspiracy theorists, but gave them a platform to channel anyway. Hannity, for one, called Trump-allied lawyer Rudy Giuliani a “crazy man” in a November 2020 text message after Giuliani began pushing baseless theories about voter fraud, a Dominion filing showed in February.
Hannity’s panic was also documented behind the scenes of the arrival and the day of chaos in the Capitol. The House panel that investigated the chaos in the Capitol announced a series of text messages from Hannity. The texts detail how “concerned” Hannity is about what could happen on January 6, 2021, and how he’s trying to get Trump to stop the violence in the Capitol while it’s happening.
A Fox spokesperson responding to Insider’s questions about Hannity and Ryan accused Dominion of trying to “publicly smear” the company simply for reporting the news.
A spokesperson for Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch told Insider they had no further comment beyond Fox’s statement.
A representative of Trump’s post-presidential press office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.