Fox News Caught Red-Handed: Profit is More Important Than Truth

(Image Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Internal communications released recently as part of a lawsuit against Fox News reveal for all to see the priorities of capitalist media outlets. What these communications show is that Fox News hosts, management, and even ownership continued to push the lie of voter fraud and election tampering even though they clearly understood that the claims were totally made up.

After a Fox reporter fact-checked and challenged President Trump’s claims of voter fraud in a tweet, Tucker Carlson, perhaps Fox’s most popular propagandist, texted fellow hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham: “Please get her fired … It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” In another text, he referenced the supposed use of voting software to steal votes and told a Fox executive that “the software shit is absurd.” Even Rupert Murdoch himself, the primary owner of the entire News Corp empire, admitted that the lies of Trump and his lawyers were “really crazy stuff.”

With these and many other communications, Fox bigwigs were fully aware about the lies they were repeating about election fraud. But they had a bigger problem on their hands: they were losing viewership the more they reported on the election being over and legitimately won by Biden. So, to protect their profits and keep their viewers — the same viewers they have misled and lied to for years – they couldn’t afford to tell the truth. Instead, to keep up their viewership and stock prices, and to remain competitive with other right-wing news outlets, they had to continue to repeat and promote the lies about election fraud coming from Trump and his lackeys. The newer right-wing news outlets like Newsmax and One America News (OAN) were promoting the lies Trump was peddling without any limits, and viewers were flocking to those channels. So, to keep up with their competitors, Fox decided to do the same.

In these and other damning texts, Fox management and leading hosts show that their primary concern wasn’t the truth. Their concern was the conservative Fox brand, and that any loss of viewers would translate directly into lower ratings and lower profits.

But this isn’t unique to Fox News. All corporate media are gigantic corporations, driven by profit above all else. Whether it’s ABC (owned by Disney), or CNN (owned by WarnerMedia), or MSNBC (owned by Comcast), or Fox (owned by Rupert Murdoch and News Corp), profit dictates the news they choose to cover and how they cover it. Reporting accurate facts may be a part of that mission, but a secondary part. Although Fox certainly caters to more right-wing ideas than many of the major news corporations, the underlying principle is the same for all – profits first, accurate news second.

Fox News may be one particularly nasty player in the capitalist media universe, but it is not unique for prioritizing profit over truth. They just happened to get caught red-handed this time.