While considering purchasing the rights to The Apprentice after Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, Fox News’ billionaire co-founder finally decided against doing so out of concern that the former president would “destroy” the show by turning it into a political platform.
The Fox executive Rupert Murdoch admitted in public testimony unsealed this week that he and his son “kicked about” the notion of acquiring the show, which Trump hosted for 14 seasons beginning in 2004.
Murdoch testified that “we were searching about for what in the world do we put on the evenings in Fox Business since CNBC has on repeats of, I don’t know, Shark Tank, I suppose,” according to NBC News.
Furthermore, he said “You have a lot of outlandish business plans. We either deliberate about it, take action, or do nothing at all.”
A few weeks later, though, he had a change of heart.
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“Trump, having second thoughts, would use it as his primary campaign vehicle. He intended to put an end to it “According to other parts of Murdoch’s testimony.
As part of a $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News, voting equipment business Dominion Voting Systems, which was the target of significant allegations of election fraud and other malfeasance during the 2020 presidential election, provided the aforementioned testimony to the court.
The corporation claims that several of those who disseminated the election fraud rumors, including certain Fox News stars, privately admitted they did not believe the conspiracy theories, but amplified them on-air anyway, ostensibly to boost their ratings.
There was apparent concern on the part of network executives over the language being used by some of the network’s most prominent characters. Murdoch emailed the company’s CEO “Maybe Sean and Laura went too far,” referring to the primetime stars Hannity and Ingraham, in an email that was made public on Tuesday and highlighted by the Post.
Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch emailed former House Speaker Paul Ryan saying Hannity was “privately upset with Trump for weeks, but was frightened to lose viewers!” According to the same email, Murdoch dismissed claims that the election was tainted by collusion between political parties as “nonsense.”
In a counterclaim, Fox said Dominion “mischaracterized the record” and “cherry-picked remarks shorn of crucial context.”
A spokesman for Fox News said in a statement provided to PEOPLE that Dominion was engaging in a “PR campaign to discredit FOX News and stomp on free speech and freedom of the press” by spreading “distortions and disinformation.”