'Lunatic sliding into senility': Fox lawyers feared Murdoch would be 'disgraced on the stand'

'Lunatic sliding into senility': Fox lawyers feared Murdoch would be 'disgraced on the stand'
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Gabriel Sherman, who literally wrote the book on Fox News, reports one of the reasons the right-wing media conglomerate settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million instead of going to trial in the $1.6 billion defamation case is the company’s attorneys feared putting Fox Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch on the stand.

Sherman’s Tuesday article at Vanity Fair focuses on what he calls a “new theory” of why Tucker Carlson was fired from Fox, but he includes damning news about the company’s 92-year-old leader.

Noting that “multiple theories about why Fox fired Carlson” have “circulated in the media,” Sherman points to “fallout from the $787.5 million Dominion settlement; punishment for vulgar text messages published in Dominion court filings; or a consequence of former Fox producer Abby Grossberg’s lawsuit, which alleged Carlson oversaw a hostile work environment. (Fox News has vowed to ‘vigorously defend’ the company against ‘Grossberg’s unmeritorious legal claims.’)”

“But none of these potential reasons fully add up,” Sherman writes – offering his new theory: “According to the source, Fox Corp. chair Rupert Murdoch removed Carlson over remarks Carlson made during a speech at the Heritage Foundation’s 50th Anniversary gala on Friday night.”

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“Carlson laced his speech with religious overtones that even Murdoch found too extreme,” his source says. “Carlson told the Heritage audience that national politics has become a Manichean battle between ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ Carlson said that people advocating for transgender rights and DEI programs want to destroy America and they could not be persuaded with facts. ”

“The answer, Carlson suggested, was prayer.”

“’I have concluded it might be worth taking just 10 minutes out of your busy schedule to say a prayer for the future, and I hope you will,’ he said. ‘That stuff freaks Rupert out. He doesn’t like all the spiritual talk,’ the source said.”

Sherman then focuses on Murdoch’s hastily-voided engagement.

“Rupert Murdoch was perhaps unnerved by Carlson’s messianism because it echoed the end-times worldview of Murdoch’s ex-fiancée Ann Lesley Smith, the source said.”

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“In my May cover story,” Sherman notes, “I reported that Murdoch and Smith called off their two-week engagement because Smith had told people Carlson was ‘a messenger from God.'”

“In late March, Carlson had dinner at Murdoch’s Bel Air vineyard with Murdoch and Smith, according to the source. During dinner, Smith pulled out a bible and started reading passages from the Book of Exodus, the source said. ‘Rupert just sat there and stared,’ the source said. A few days after the dinner, Murdoch and Smith called off the wedding. By taking Carlson off the air, Murdoch was also taking away his ex’s favorite show.”

He calls the broken engagement “part of a string of erratic decisions” Murdoch has made “that raises questions about Murdoch’s leadership of his media empire.”

Sherman reports his sources say there is concern about Murdoch’s leadership.

“’It’s like the King is senile but no one wants to say anything,’ the source said.”

“Once the [Dominion] trial began, the lawyers told Fox execs that Murdoch would be ‘disgraced on the stand, run out of the boardroom, and his testimony will expose him as a lunatic sliding into senility.’ (The person close to Murdoch disputed this. ‘Rupert was very well prepared to testify.’)”

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