"Although you have expressed regret at allowing this gross propaganda to be carried out, your network's anchors continue to promote, disseminate and perpetuate election conspiracy theories to this day," Schumer and Jeffries write. As with the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 by radical supporters of President Donald Trump, who was voted out, this could lead to "political violence" and weaken "trust in our democracy".
Murdoch must therefore instruct the Fox News moderators to stop spreading "false election narratives" and publicly admitting previous mistakes, the faction leaders write. "We call on you to ensure that Fox News does not continue to promote the Big Lie and other election conspiracy theories."
Murdoch admitted under oath that prominent Fox News anchors such as Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Sean Hannity "supported" false allegations of voter fraud in their broadcasts after the November 2020 presidential election, according to a court document released this week.
The 91-year-old multi-billionaire stressed that it was not Fox as a whole who did this, but some "commentators". During the survey, Murdoch also regretted not having countered allegations of electoral fraud by the Trump camp more strongly.
The background is a defamation lawsuit by the voting machine company Dominion, which is demanding $1.6 billion (around €1.5 billion) in damages from Fox News. Dominion has accused Fox News of making false claims about the company, even though the broadcaster knew the allegations were unfounded.
After the presidential election, Trump refused to acknowledge his defeat by Democrat Joe Biden and made allegations of voter fraud that have been refuted many times. The lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, who worked for him at the time, targeted Dominion and another voting machine company in particular with confused conspiracy theories. Among other things, they were able to spread their allegations on Fox News.
As early as mid-February, a Dominion court document made it clear that Murdoch and well-known Fox News hosts believed Powell and Giuliani's allegations to be nonsensical. Murdoch, for example, described the claims internally as "crazy" and "harmful".
Fox News, however, accused Dominion of "misrepresenting the facts" after the new court document was published. The company "picked out" statements from Fox officials that were completely irrelevant as evidence.
Defamation lawsuits against the media are very difficult to win in the US. The First Amendment to the US Constitution provides very broad protections for free speech.