Former White House press secretary-turned-MSNBC anchor Jen Psaki torched Fox News and Rupert Murdoch after the announcement of his departure from the company on Thursday.
In announcing the exit, Murdoch appointed his son Lachlan in his place as chairman of Fox and News Corp. After decades of relentlessly building a massive media empire, however, Murdoch’s exit didn’t leave Psaki with high hopes for the future of Fox News without him.
“You can’t really talk about the right wing ecosystem in this country without talking about Rupert Murdoch, who announced this week that he’s retiring from his role as chairman of Fox and News Corp,” Psaki said on Sunday’s episode of “Inside With Jen Psaki.”
The MSNBC host continued, “But even if he never sets foot in his office again, he removes himself entirely — which, by the way, I’m very skeptical of — he’s already created this right wing media ecosystem that will keep functioning long after his departure because, over the years, Murdoch’s core objective has been to make Americans fearful of a constant shifting enemy: the other.”
“Murdoch has known that fear sells,” said Psaki, “particularly fear of specific types of people who don’t fit the mold up of the heterosexual, white, Christian American.”
“It’s been a cynical but clearly profitable strategy for him for over two decades, and it starts with the War on Terror, and the coverage of the Iraq War,” the former White House press secretary said.
Psaki then played a video clip of former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, problematically discussing Muslims, intentionally inspiring fear in the viewer.
“That fearmongering against the other laid the groundwork for Fox to tear down the country’s first Black president, Barack Obama,” Psaki noted.
The MSNBC anchor then played more clips from Fox News in which anchors are ostracizing immigrants.
“Over the years, this list of enemies, the sorts of people Americans should be very, very afraid of, got very long,” said Psaki. “So it’s no wonder that Murdoch’s audience was so receptive to the extreme rhetoric of Donald Trump when he came on the scene.”
Psaki continued: “It turns out it takes a whole village of Murdoch’s executives, producers, and anchors to lay the groundwork for the MAGA movement.”
“Fox News, as this right wing media juggernaut, is so much bigger than just one person,” she said. “We’ve seen this over and over. Bill O’Reilly came and went. Roger Ailes came and went. Tucker is gone. And now, Murdoch is stepping aside.
“But it’s hard to imagine that Fox’s strategy of pumping fear of the other into the homes of millions of Americans will change anytime soon,” Psaki concluded. “They couldn’t put that genie back in the bottle even if they wanted to.”