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Media analyst: Fueling mistrust is part of Murdoch’s business model

By Ramishah Maruf, CNN Business

CNN media analyst Bill Carter compared Rupert Murdoch to a “robber baron” on “Reliable Sources” Sunday, referencing his disruptive role in the media as threats to American democracy become more mainstream.

“He basically came in like the guys in the 19th century,” Carter said, “and in the pursuit of wealth and power, he was willing to despoil things like they did the environment. And what they’re doing now to democracy.”

Murdoch’s business model has been successful. But Carter said his network is going into “moral bankruptcy,” pointing to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who teased on Wednesday a three-part special promoting 1/6 trutherism.

The trailer for the show promoted by Carlson, titled “Patriot Purge,” will air on the network’s Fox Nation streaming platform, and featured rhetoric about a “false flag” operation, the notion that the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was an inside job planned by the government as part of its alleged war against Trump supporters.

On “Reliable Sources” Sunday, CNN Chief’s Media Correspondent Brian Stelter asked Julie Roginsky, a former Fox News contributor and Democratic strategist, for her impressions of the network today.

Roginsky said above all else, Murdoch’s priority is retaining his business model.

“Ultimately, he’s doing this because he believes that there’s a very good possibility that Donald Trump may be back in the Oval Office in two more years,” Roginsky said.

Fox News is not commenting on the record, but CNN senior media correspondent Oliver Darcy said the media giant is trying to distance itself from the documentary. Fox personality Geraldo Rivera called the idea that the insurrection was a “false flag” operation “bulls**t” on Twitter.

But the Murdochs continue to remain silent when it comes to reining in the more incendiary views of their network’s most watched personality. “They’re not willing to do that because they’re in the business of cashing in on people’s paranoia, and all of the hostility that they’ve ginned up. So it’s part of their overall strategy,” Carter said.

Astead Herndon, a national political reporter for The New York Times and CNN political analyst, was interviewing voters on the ground in Virginia earlier this month, and heard many the same conspiracy themes that were being spread by Carlson and Murdoch media.

“I actually think it’s a lot bigger than just Fox or Rupert Murdoch,” Herndon said on “Reliable Sources” Sunday. “We’re talking about an entire ecosystem.”

Herndon said its as if these voters are in a media cocoon that is getting tighter by the day.

“They are convinced about the false reality of a November election being stolen, and that is the driving factor,” Herndon said. “They’re creating that as a litmus test for the Republican politicians who are running now.”

But Herndon cautioned that it’s a mistake for the media to think of Jan. 6 as an isolated event. At the local level, there continue to be rallies pushing the “Big Lie,” further fueling the false narrative.

“We should not think of democracy as something that’s been stable for a long time and then was just upended with Donald Trump,” Herndon said, citing people of color and other constituencies who have historically been excluded from the Democratic process.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Oliver Darcy contributed to this report

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