Rupert Murdoch Embraces Conservative Censorship Conspiracy

Drew Angerer/Getty Images In the days and weeks that followed the 2020 election, President Donald Trump and his political and media a...


Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the days and weeks that followed the 2020 election, President Donald Trump and his political and media allies promoted a dangerous conspiracy that the election was stolen. It wasn’t, but there were enough true believers, devotees to the Word of Trump that a deadly insurrection was waged on the Capitol in an effort to fight back against the perceived injustice of a stolen election.

This has been described as a “big lie,” a reference to the fascist tactic of fabricating a false claim from whole cloth, knowing that, if repeated enough, it would be believed. Trump now faces his second impeachment trial over that riot, and conservative media is lunging for a fresh topic to serve an audience eager to have their aggrievement justified. As a result, there is a new dangerous conspiracy afoot, and it’s being amplified by arguably the most important person in all of political media: Fox Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch.

The new lie that is growing in size every day? That conservative voices are being stifled, censored, or silenced by what Murdoch called, in rare public comments, an “angry woke orthodoxy.” The truth of the matter is that conservative voices aren’t being stifled for their beliefs at all. Half-truths told by and to the willfully misinformed are leading us to another dangerous split. For reasons that have more to do with monetization opportunities than the protection of free speech.

Murdoch was recently feted by the Australia Day Foundation and given a lifetime achievement award for his career as, arguably, the most influential media figure in the history of humankind. In his pre-taped acceptance speech, Murdoch struck out at his progressive critics, in a dispassionate harangue that nearly perfectly mirrored what one sees daily on opinion programming on his beloved Fox News.

“For those of us in media,” Murdoch says in the video, “there’s a real challenge to confront: a wave of censorship that seeks to silence conversation, to stifle debate, to ultimately stop individuals and societies from realizing their potential. This rigidly enforced conformity, aided and abetted by so-called social media, is a straitjacket on sensibility. Too many people have fought too hard in too many places for freedom of speech to be suppressed by this awful woke orthodoxy.”

There are several news items of late that, without the benefit of basic critical thinking skills, would seem to support Murdoch’s claim. Trump was de-platformed from Twitter, Facebook, and virtually every other digital website.

Was that because his political beliefs failed to conform with what the “angry woke orthodoxy”?

Actually, no. The executives at these privately held companies determined that Trump’s promotion of the lie that the election was stolen was dangerous. They had good reason for that belief, best evidenced by the ransacking of the Capitol Building — by Trump followers who believed his repeated lies of a stolen election — that killed five people.

What about the conservative social media network Parler? Surely that unregulated place that touted itself as a safe-space bastion of free thought is no longer being hosted online because of conservative censorship, right? Well, no. It was taken off of Google and Apple app stores and eventually kicked off Amazon servers because the lack of moderation allowed a staggering quantity of death threats to fester on its platform.

And of course, there is the self-promotional, patron martyr of Big Tech censorship, Senator Josh Hawley. He had a book deal canceled by Simon & Schuster over his role in the deadly insurrection of January 6th.

Hawley has since alleged that losing a book deal from a private company was a violation of his First Amendment rights (it was not, for the same reason I don’t have a book deal with Simon & Schuster) and is so angry with the alleged censorship that he wrote a column about how he and his ilk are being stifled. The irony of that opinion piece, published on the front page of one of the nation’s largest papers, a Murdoch property, was surely lost on him and every Fox News host and anchor that breathlessly cited his essay.

Let’s be clear. Despite the repeated claim, there simply isn’t much evidence conservatives are being censored or stifled for their beliefs. People have been kicked off of platforms for pushing dangerous misinformation. If Murdoch wants to argue that conspiracy theories about the election are “conservative,” that’s another problem. The rule is simple: abide by a basic social contract of not calling for people to be executed or amplifying a dangerous lie that sparks violent riots and yeah, you can keep on keeping on.

Proponents of the theory of conservative censorship are not limited to Rupert Murdoch.

Take, for example, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy, who has become a voice of reason amidst much of the stolen election nonsense. He recently chided President Joe Biden for not reassuring conservatives in his inauguration speech that they won’t be “purged or deprogrammed.” Biden also didn’t say that conservatives will not be farmed for food, but that’s not really a concern.

The award for most irresponsible rhetoric goes to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who warned Sean Hannity of the Democrats Biden has surrounded himself with.

“It’s not really about Biden himself,” Gingrich explained. “It’s his entire team around him who are radicals who believe that they could exterminate the Republicans.”

Exterminate? Neither Gingrich nor Hannity noted that those comments came shortly after Trump supporters erected a hangman’s noose and gallows in D.C., and murderous rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence as they swarmed the Capitol.

As Joe Biden pleads with the divided nation to unify, it appears that Murdoch and many of the Fox News hosts and pundits under his employ have different designs. Their focus is the specious case for conservative victimhood, based on cries ranging from censorship to extermination. Why?

Because a divided nation is a lucrative one, and cable news outlets would rather market and fear-molest their target demo than tell a true story.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.



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Rupert Murdoch Embraces Conservative Censorship Conspiracy
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