A former Trump White House deputy press secretary who became a senior vice president at Fox Corp. has left the company following the exposure of his key role in pushing Fox News’ reporting in a pro-Trump direction, even though he privately disbelieved the president’s false claims of election fraud.
Raj Shah, whose text messages showing that he did not believe the Trump camp’s election denial were revealed in Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit, left the company last month.
“Raj brought talent and creativity to his role at Fox,” Fox spokesperson Brian Nick said in an email confirming his depature. “We appreciate his service and wish him the best on his next endeavor.” The reason for Shah’s exit, first reported by CNN, was not made public.
Shah’s name surfaced, however, in multiple documents brought to light by Dominion’s lawsuit against Fox News, which revealed that Shah was among the execs, producers and hosts who privately expressed disbelief in the claims of a stolen election, but nevertheless pushed the network to amplify the narrative on the air.
One notable exchange took place amid the infamous press conference held by Rudy Giuliani a few weeks after the November 2020 election, when the former mayor pressed the allegations of election fraud as streaks of hair dye ran down the side of his face.
“This sounds SO F—— CRAZY btw,” Shah wrote, The Washington Post reported, when the gravity and breadth of the Dominion lawsuit came to light.
“Rudy looks awful,” a deputy responded, prompting Shah to remark that “he objectively looks like he was a dead person voting 2 weeks ago.”
Shah, whose job was to protect the company’s brand, also pushed back on any efforts to dispute the claims on the air as the network feared losing conservative viewers to networks like Newsmax and One America News that went whole-hog on Trump’s election denial.
When a Fox News reporter on the air at the end of Giuliani’s news conference said that some of what the president’s lawyer claimed was “simply not true,” Shah reacted quickly.
“This is the kinda s—that will kill us,” he texted the deputy. “We cover it wall to wall and then we burn that down with all the skepticism.”
Fox settled the Dominion suit for an eye-popping $787.5 million as it was set to go to trial in mid-April, but after millions of pages of documents revealed the widespread deception related to Dominion’s election machines and Trump’s claims of fraud more broadly. The lawsuit is widely believed to have factored into the firing of host Tucker Carlson as well.
Shah, 38, is a longtime Republican operative whose previous experience spanned John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, the lobbying firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, opposition research firm America Rising Corporation and multiple positions at the Republican National Committee over four election cycles, focusing on opposition research against Democrats, before he went to the Trump White House.
He was the party’s research director in 2016. The Post reported that he led the efforts to promote stories related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and her work at her family’s foundation.