Title: Lachlan Murdoch to Take the Helm at Fox News, Continuity Expected
When Rupert Murdoch formally hands over the reins of his media empire to his 52-year-old son Lachlan in November, die-hard Fox News viewers will hardly notice any difference. Conservative-leaning Lachlan has already been in control of the cable-news giant’s parent company since 2019 when he was appointed as chief executive, and his more liberal brother James left the family business.
Lachlan’s ideological alignment with his father has been widely acknowledged, with former Fox executive Preston Padden stating, “I’ve had a sense that Lachlan is at least as conservative as his father.” This continuity is reflected in Rupert Murdoch’s endorsement of Lachlan as a “passionate, principled leader” and a firm believer in the cause of freedom, much like his late grandfather who started the family’s media business.
Despite making donations to both Republican and Democratic campaigns, Lachlan has predominantly supported Republicans, including a significant contribution of $1 million to the GOP’s Senate Leadership Fund. His stance on Fox News’s editorial direction has also been unwavering, even after the network faced a massive defamation lawsuit regarding baseless claims of presidential vote-rigging, resulting in a record $787.5 million settlement.
Lachlan’s journey within the Murdoch empire has been shaped by his upbringing and exposure to the media business from a young age. His experience cleaning printing presses for Sydney’s Daily Mirror and working as a cub reporter for the Murdoch-owned San Antonio Express-News solidified his destiny to follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. After studying in New York and Princeton, he began his career in the media business in Australia before moving back and forth between his home country and the United States, taking on increasingly significant roles within the company.
As Lachlan prepares to assume full control of both Fox Corp and News Corp, he faces legal and strategic challenges. Fox News is currently facing a $2.7 billion lawsuit from voting technology company Smartmatic, along with other legal battles. Critics urge Lachlan to retract lies and falsehoods propagated by the network, holding him responsible for the impact it has on people’s lives.
While Rupert Murdoch claims to be stepping away from the companies, skepticism remains among Fox employees and observers. Many believe that he will remain actively involved, as he has done in the past, and Yale School of Management professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld suggests that Murdoch is so intertwined with his business that he may periodically step back in despite any official retirement.
With Lachlan Murdoch taking over the reins of Fox News, the network is poised to maintain its conservative stance and continue with its current programming strategy.