Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on his joint letter with House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to Rupert Murdoch calling on Fox News to stop knowingly spreading misinformation about the 2020 election and to publicly recant its endorsement of the Big Lie. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
On Monday evening, reports came out that Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, acknowledged in a deposition that hosts of the network promoted the false narrative that Donald Trump won the 2020 election. Asked if he could have stepped in to prevent this, Mr. Murdoch acknowledged that he could have but chose not to. He could have stepped in but chose not to, and expressed regret for not doing so.
To this day, several Fox News hosts continue promoting the Big Lie. They keep spreading the Big Lie despite mounting evidence that behind the scenes, many top hosts and executives at Fox have recognized the stolen election narrative is entirely bogus. Nevertheless, they continue broadcasting it all the time.
This morning, Leader Jeffries and I wrote a letter to Mr. Murdoch demanding that he do what he should have done a long time ago: order Tucker Carlson and other hosts on Fox News to stop spreading lies about the election. They need to stop giving a platform to dangerous and entirely unfounded conspiracy theories that eat at the wellspring of our democracy. And they need to admit, on the air, that they were wrong to engage in such negligent and destructive behavior.
Sadly, too much damage has already been done to our democracy: a significant segment of voters—by some measures as much as thirty percent of the electorate—still do not believe that the 2020 election was legitimate.
And what Fox News hosts have done is flat-out dangerous—dangerous! When people doubt that elections are on the level, that is the beginning of the end of this wonderful democracy—because elections are our wellspring. They’re the core of what the Founding Fathers set up. It was the great novelty of the Constitution that has spread around the world.
And when conspiracy theories like the Big Lie are allowed to grow, violence can ensue, as we all saw for ourselves on January the 6th.
And Mr. Murdoch’s testimony is all the more alarming after Speaker McCarthy is reportedly allowing Tucker Carlson to review highly sensitive security camera footage of the events surrounding the violent January 6th insurrection. Sharing that footage is a grave mistake that risks emboldening the supporters of the Big Lie.
Mr. Murdoch, Fox News Executives, and hosts all have a choice, a very important choice: they can continue broadcasting lies about our elections and further erode trust in democracy, or they can admit their mistake, start telling the truth, and move beyond this shameful chapter in their company’s history by coming clean with their viewers and the American people. We hope Mr. Murdoch heeds our call. The survival of our democracy is too important.