- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Former President Donald Trump‘s souring relationship with Rupert Murdoch and Fox News could be reaching the point of no return over his 2020 stolen election claims — adding another layer of intrigue to the 2024 GOP presidential race.

Mr. Trump on Tuesday laid into Mr. Murdoch, saying the Fox News head honcho  — in sworn statements last month  — turned his back on some of the network’s biggest stars and viewers when he admitted some hosts promoted false rigged-election claims.

“Why is Rupert Murdoch throwing his anchors under the table, which also happens to be killing his case and infuriating his viewers, who will again be leaving in droves  — they already are,” Mr. Trump said on Truth Social, his social media platform. “There is MASSIVE evidence of voter fraud & irregularities in the 2020 Presidential Election.”

In a deposition released Monday, Murdoch said hosts Jeanine Pirro, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo “endorsed” the claims. Mr. Murdoch said he doubted the allegations, saying “we thought everything was on the up-and-up.” But he rejected the idea that the entire network promoted the stolen election allegations.

“I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight,” Mr. Murdoch said.

The deposition is related to a $1.6 defamation lawsuit that voting machine company Dominion has brought against Fox, accusing the network of broadcasting false claims it knew were false.

Mr. Trump, in another post Tuesday, said, “It amazes me how weak and ineffective Fox News is at portraying itself in the lawsuit against them.”

He added, “They look too scared and frightened to reveal the massive amounts of voter fraud & irregularities already found, and it would actually help them in the lawsuit. Instead Fox News wants to silence its anchors and reporters, the reason so many of their viewers fled. The Election was that of a Third World Country!”

Mr. Trump‘s stolen election claims are an article of faith among his supporters and among political figures who have aligned themselves with the MAGA movement that has reshaped the GOP.

Other Republicans have blamed Mr. Trump‘s election-fraud war for hurting the GOP‘s image, turning off middle-of-the-road voters and helping Democrats exceed expectations in recent elections.

The beef between Mr. Trump and Fox has been simmering for years and has picked up speed in recent weeks as the ex-president looks to chop down his rivals in the early innings of the presidential race.

Mr. Trump on Monday also knocked Fox News, saying the network is in the bag for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to enter the GOP presidential race later this year.

Fox News is promoting Ron DeSanctus so hard and so much that there’s not much time left for Real News,” Mr. Trump said. “Reminds me of 2016 when they were pushing ‘JEB!’ The new Fox Poll, which [has] always been purposely terrible for me, has ‘TRUMP Crushing DeSanctimonious,’ but they barely show it.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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