Revoke Rupert Murdoch's citizenship
Here's the backstory
Today from TAT, a look at FOX and Rupert Murdoch’s culpability as an anti-American propagandist. It’s time to revoke his naturalized citizenship, due to the continuing threat he represents.
Since far before, Trump came down his escalator in a now infamous video, FOX and other media have acted as agents of a foreign adversary. Putin, the mastermind and enabler of the takeover of US right-wing media, ensured that Russia’s efforts to elect Trump also carried Russian propaganda. Yes, a large part of my professional career is in analyzing and developing strategy to protect the US and our allies from such threats. There are many in this field so… this is the dominant opinion of the US intelligence and national security community, except for MAGA types.
Now, before all those who consider themselves principled conservatives lose their mind, yes, propaganda exists on both sides of the political spectrum but with different enablers and differing threat levels from those “sides.” Before beginning, I will interject here, my personal and professional opinion: So long as Americans are more addicted to party over country and attempt to establish their own unique American identity, we will remain dangerously divided. Also, for the record, this is Putin’s goal, much as it was during the Soviet period of Russian history. It’s part of what the Soviets and Russians call, “Active Measures.”
I have selected FOX to talk about for a few reasons, not the least of which is that they are far and away, the most egregious mainstream media threat.
To keep things a little shorter, so everyone can get more holiday shopping in, I’ll simply outline a few points and offer a brief, succinct summary at the end.
1. FOX is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a naturalized US citizen. Under US law, he would be prohibited from owning a network if his citizenship were revoked. Considering the damage, he’s done to US national security by allowing FOX to parrot Russian talking points is immeasurable. By insisting that FOX parrot Trump’s COVID nonsense, I believe that he contributed to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. Between FOX backing Putin’s agenda, especially regarding Ukraine and the COVID deceit, a good case can be made for their culpability.
Congress and administrations previously took bold actions when Nazi and Communist propagandists were influencing American against their own nation. Now, half of Congress defends such media as “conservative.” There is nothing conservative about a political party that parrots adversarial talking points that hold sway over tens of millions of American voters. At the very least, Rupert Murdoch should be required to register as a “Foreign Agent.”
So, a few years ago, there were some suggestions about bringing back some of the types of laws and actions that were created precisely to go against Nazi information incursion into the US– namely the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). So FARA was actually created in 1938, precisely because the US was worried about Nazi journalism, et cetera, so it required those who were foreign agents to register.
2. As one who has worked professionally in influence that supports and defends the US and our allies against aggressors, I am well-studied in how to track and analyze what professionals call “malign influence.” Since 2015, I and other professionals in my field have been tracking and warning about Russian influence. Countless reporting demonstrates the parallels between American right-wing media and Russian influencers, most notably the IRA, Internet Research Agency or commonly called, “the troll factory.”
3. Arrests this year in Florida of Russians still buying media to undermine US democracy and organizing campaigns, demonstrate the currency of ongoing efforts. This happens because those sitting on the right side of the aisle in Congress, benefit from the influence support they get from Putin. This violates their oath of office on countless levels.
4. The Tucker Carlson show was the only main US media that was allowed on Russian TV after the invasion. This is because, Tucker Carlson was repeating Russian propaganda verbatim or near verbatim. How many tens of thousands have died in Ukraine because of such activity, including the current right’s strong suggestions that the US would no longer fund or fully fund Ukraine?
5. Sean Hannity, a White House advisor to trump, throughout his presidency parroted joint right-wing and Russian talking points. If he wasn’t echoing Moscow, Moscow was amplifying Hannity’s talking points for trump. Yes, there are exhaustive examples of such.
6. Rupert Murdoch paid the bill for all of this by way of his ownership of FOX and related media. Heck, I will no longer read the Wall Street Journal due to his ownership.
7. The way that audiences are shaped by a concerted, often by years long efforts such as FOX’s is their key to predictably triggering select behaviors in those audiences. The way that FOX viewers have behaved leading up to, throughout trump’s presidency and beyond, is demonstrably un-American and after Jan 6th, constitutes a known and evidence saturated example of such a national security threat.
While that FOX has been my focus here, there are countless media outlets on both sides of the aisle who daily lie to US voters for partisan reasons. Where I come from, even including a tidbit or half-truth is considered a lie. Professionally, I agree. Let’s not assume that this is roughly each on both sides of the aisle. Right wing media far exceeds left wing media in regard to dishonesty. Still, all such media must be defined as something besides news. At least that way, less Americans would be fooled into believing such. After all, even though growing up, the National Inquirer was high-profile in the supermarket checkout line, no one thought it news. Now, FOX is worse, and people think it’s news. This indicates the degree to which US audiences have been manipulated.
Last but not least, like a pack of hyenas, right wing media operates in a pack. Outlets like Newsmax, Breitbart, OAN and a long list of other non-news, propaganda sites, operate very closely in sync. Just like our political divide, the left is disjointed and like herding cats. They are miserable about syncing messaging.
At the end of the day, syncing messaging is for influence, not reporting news. News is not news if someone tells you lies, half-truths and what the meaning of those items are. It’s propaganda.
I daily use a long list of open-source tools, most publicly available and free, to assess the authenticity of reporting. Most are very easy to use, and most serious analysts and journalists use these as well. I have also written on this topic for Homeland Security Today Magazine. NewsGuard is a site that I find very helpful and easy to understand, for those without professional expertise in this field. They are also those little “nutrition labels” found on Google’s search engine that tell you the quality of different sites. I also find that for easy use and understandability, Media Bias Fact-Check is very reliable. This site also has a 100% rating from NewsGuard.
I’ll leave y’all with this stark and somewhat harsh bottom line: Rupert Murdoch finances exceptional levels of bias and propaganda via FOX and other outlets. His power within the right-wing media world also influences the alleged reporting of other propaganda sites. The impact over the past 7 years especially has been downright supportive of Putin, not the US or our values. If he continues to be allowed to operate such a network, he must certainly register as a foreign agent and FOX must be labeled a propaganda site. Same goes with sites like McClatchy, Occupy Democrats etc.
We are hyper-partisan enough without manipulation by practiced propagandists. As with the old saying, “use your power for good, not evil,” Murdoch has decided on evil, and the evidence is overwhelming.