- The Daily Beast published an op-ed from Preston Padden, who worked for Fox for seven years.
- Padden said Fox played a part in US COVID-19 deaths by questioning the benefits of mask wearing.
- He also said Murdoch’s views on masks and vaccines differed from much of Fox’s coverage.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A former Fox executive has blasted Fox News, saying that not even the network’s longtime proprietor Rupert Murdoch believes its coverage.
In an op-ed published Sunday by The Daily Beast, Preston Padden, who served as president of network distribution at the Fox Broadcasting Company for seven years, wrote that Fox News is a TV channel “that no reasonable person would believe.”
Padden wrote that Fox News had perpetuated former President Donald Trump’s “wild and false claims” that the 2020 election was stolen from him and that Fox’s decision to question masks had contributed to “the unnecessary deaths of many Americans” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example, the star anchor Tucker Carlson wrote in October that “someone’s been lying to us” about the efficacy of masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Padden also said that the network had embraced vaccine skepticism. For example, Carlson said in December that speedy vaccine development “feels false” because “it’s too slick.”
Fox did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. Padden wrote that the network had provided him “examples of pro-mask/vaccine on-air comments,” but that in his opinion, the anti-mask and anti-vaccine coverage outweighed them.
Padden went on to say that he doesn’t believe that Murdoch’s personal views are represented in Fox coverage.
“I don’t believe that most of the falsehoods on Fox News reflect Rupert Murdoch’s own views. I believe that he thought that it was important to protect his own health by wearing a mask during the pandemic and he encouraged me to do the same,” Padden wrote.
“I believe that he thought that it was important to protect his own health by getting vaccinated at the earliest opportunity and he encouraged me to do the same.”
“And I believe that he thinks that former President Trump is an egomaniac who lost the election by turning off voters, especially suburban women, with his behavior,” Padden said.
Padden went on to warn that Fox’s vast influence on the US was causing widespread damage.
“Millions of Americans believe these falsehoods because they have been drilled into their minds, night after night, by Fox News,” he said.