It is becoming painfully obvious that many of the loudest voices who whine about “disinformation” in the public square are often among the worst abusers themselves.
Try to follow along with this particularly egregious example of elite hypocrisy.
Kathryn Murdoch is the daughter-in-law of Rupert Murdoch, the founder of NewsCorp, which is the parent company of Fox News. Kathryn married Rupert’s youngest son, James.
According to a story in The Guardian from January 2021:
“James Murdoch has condemned the U.S. media for ‘propagating lies’ which have unleashed ‘insidious and uncontrollable forces’ that will endure for years. Questioned about whether Fox News — founded by his father Rupert Murdoch and run by his brother Lachlan — had played a role in the riot at the Capitol last week, he said media groups had amplified election disinformation, which successfully sowed falsehoods.”
The Aspen Institute recently announced that Kathryn will serve as a commissioner on their Commission on Information Disorder.
If the Aspen Institute will permit me, I will suggest the first target for investigation.
Courier Newsroom is a “news site” founded by Acronym, the sister organization of Pacroynm, a Democratic Super PAC. Acronym ran Democratic campaign press releases and made them appear as news articles in Facebook feeds to deliberately confuse voters — the literal definition of fake news.
According to Open Secrets:
“ACRONYM is behind Courier Newsroom, a network of websites emulating progressive local news outlets. Courier has faced scrutiny for exploiting the collapse of local journalism to spread ‘hyperlocal partisan propaganda.’”
Open Secrets also found that Courier Newsroom’s claim to be ‘independent’ of Acronym, a 2019 tax return proves their direct connection:
“It claims to operate ‘independent from’ ACRONYM and says ownership is shared with ‘other investors.’ But a new tax return obtained by OpenSecrets lists ACRONYM as the full owner of Courier as of April. 30, 2019, the most recent date on record. An ACRONYM spokesperson told OpenSecrets that Courier has attracted multiple private investors since that time.”
This Aspen Institute investigation should be fairly brief: The Commission can interview its newest commissioner, Kathryn Murdoch, who donated $500,000 to Pacronym (two $250,000 donations given 8/14/20 and 7/22/20). This made Kathryn Murdoch one of Pacronym’s top 10 donors in the 2020 election cycle.
Isn’t this “disinformation”?
Why did she donate to such an organization and effort, well after it was widely criticized for being a propaganda group promoting fake news websites?
There are additional questions that the Aspen Institute’s new commission should investigate:
Have either James or Kathryn Murdoch donated to the affiliated non-profit ACRONYM? Have either made an investment in Courier Newsroom?
It is impossible to separate the goals of the Aspen Institute commission and the commission’s membership from the absurd fact that Kathryn Murdoch’s membership discredits the entire organization as she is directly guilty of the very thing they claim to investigate.
The full context is even more rich with rank hypocrisy.
As if Kathryn’s appointment to a commission focused on disinformation wasn’t bad enough, consider James Murdoch and his performance theater.
In 2020, James Murdoch quit his father’s media company, saying that he was “increasingly uncomfortable” with News Corp and Fox “‘legitimizing disinformation.’”
• Matt Mackowiak is an Austin and Washington, DC-based political and communications consultant and president of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC. He has served in senior roles for two U.S. senators and a governor and in the Bush administration.