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Mar 8, 2023, 1:38pm EST
mediapoliticsNorth America

What Fox News personalities have privately said about Trump

A promo of Fox News host Tucker Carlson on the News Corporation building in New York in 2019.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
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The News

Tucker Carlson said he “passionately” hates Donald Trump, while Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch described the former president and his attorney Rudy Giuliani as “increasingly mad.”

These revelations are among the hundreds of pages of testimony, emails, and text messages of Fox News executives released Tuesday, as part of an ongoing $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems against the conservative network.

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Know More

Among the explosive revelations, documents showed Fox News staff privately second-guessing their own coverage, badmouthing Trump and his lawyers, and dismissing election conspiracy theories that they broadcasted on-air in the weeks before and after the 2020 election.

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Tucker Carlson

In private text exchanges, here’s what Carlson said about Trump:

  • “I hate him passionately.”
  • “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait.”
  • “What he’s good at is destroying things. He’s the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong.”
  • “We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest. But come on. There really isn’t an upside to Trump.”
  • He also called Trump a “demonic force, a destroyer.”
  • He said Trump’s decision not to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration was “disgusting.”

Rupert Murdoch

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In an email exchange in the weeks after the 2020 election, the Fox Chairman berated both Trump and Rudy Giuliani as being “increasingly mad” for spreading false election claims.

  • “Stupid and damaging,” Murdoch said of Giuliani. “The only one encouraging Trump and misleading him. Both increasingly mad. The real danger is what he might do as president. Apparently not sleeping and bouncing off walls! Don’t know about Melania, but kids no help.”

What Murdoch said about Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham’s coverage promoting pro-Trump election conspiracy theories in 2021:

  • “Maybe Sean and Laura went too far. All very well for Sean to tell you he was in despair about Trump but what did he tell his viewers?”

What Murdoch thought of pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell:

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  • A “crazy would-be lawyer.”

Murdoch’s depositions show he widely rejected the election conspiracy theories. He also testified being “dismayed” by Trump’s behavior and agreed when he was asked whether he thought the former president was a “sore loser.”

Laura Ingraham

Fox News anchors Ingraham and Carlson poked fun at Trump attorneys Giuliani and Powell in a text exchange.

  • “Giuliani embarrassed the President,” Ingraham texted Carlson, referring to Giuliani’s legal representation in election-related lawsuits.
  • “These are Qs a second-year law student would known,” Ingraham said of Giuliani being unable to answer a judge’s question in court.
  • Ingraham called Powell a “complete nut,” adding, “no one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy.”

Robert Thomson

News Corp’s chief executive Robert Thomson emailed Murdoch the front page of the New York Post on Dec. 21, 2020, calling for Trump to concede the election. Thomson shared an exchange he had with former Post editor-in-chief Col Allan.

  • “Spoke to Col over the weekend...having seen Trump up close, he agreed that we should take a stronger line. Georgia is crucial.”

Bill Sammon & Chris Stirewalt

Former DC Managing Editor at Fox, Bill Sammon, texted then-politics editor Chris Stirewalt, criticizing the network’s false election claims, saying:

  • “In my 22 years affiliated with Fox, this is the closest thing I’ve seen to an existential crisis — at least journalistically.”

Stirewalt, who was instrumental in Fox’s decision to announce Biden’s win in Arizona, replied:

  • “What I see us doing is losing the silent majority of viewers as we chase the nuts off a cliff.”

Sammon and Stirewalt later lost their jobs at Fox.

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Step Back

In court filings, Dominion, which sells election technology, claimed that Fox News had “recklessly disregarded the truth” by promoting various conspiracy theories about Trump during the 2020 presidential election.

“The lies were good for Fox’s business,” Dominion said in court documents.

Fox News responded in a statement, accusing Dominion of distorting internal communications at the network.

“Thanks to today’s filings, Dominion has been caught red-handed using more distortions and misinformation in their PR campaign to smear FOX News and trample on free speech and freedom of the press,” the network said. “We already know they will say and do anything to try to win this case, but to twist and even misattribute quotes to the highest levels of our company is truly beyond the pale.”

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