Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor calling on Rupert Murdoch and Fox News to stop spreading election misinformation and publicly denounce the Big Lie. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Earlier this week, we learned that Rupert Murdoch admitted during a deposition that he and Fox News executives knowingly—knowingly—broadcasted the Big Lie on their network, despite many of them knowing it was completely bogus.
And when asked if he could have stepped in to stop it, Mr. Murdoch claimed that he could have but chose not to, and he expressed regret for not doing so. With all due respect, expressing regret is not enough. I repeat: expressing regret on an issue so vital to the future of our democracy is just not enough.
So, what Rupert Murdoch and Fox News executives and hosts have done is dangerous. When people doubt that elections are on the level, that is the beginning of the end of this wonderful democracy. Elections are our wellspring. When people don’t believe they’re legit, democracy starts flying out the window and some other form of autocracy comes in. We’re not there yet, but Fox News and its commentators who have lied have helped sow some evil seeds in our body politic. The wellspring of democracy is elections, and it’s why this wonderful, great experiment has endured for so long.
When conspiracy theories like the Big Lie are allowed to grow, when they are given a prime time slot on cable news – well, we all saw what can happen on January 6th. And that’s why I wrote a letter with Leader Jeffries to Mr. Murdoch this week demanding that he should do what he should have done a long time ago: First, stop spreading lies about the election. Second, stop sowing division. Third, stop weakening faith in our democracy. Fourth, stop the commentators who continue to repeat the Big Lie, even after so much of Fox, including Mr. Murdoch, admitted it was a lie and admitted they regretted it happened, stop them from doing it again. Expressing regrets is simply, simply not enough.
In light of mounting evidence that Fox News knowingly misled their viewers, it is also alarming, it’s disturbing, it’s highly inappropriate for Speaker McCarthy to share highly sensitive security camera footage of the January 6th attack to Tucker Carlson—one of the biggest peddlers of the Big Lie. One of the people who's done more to destroy faith in this democracy than just about anyone else.
Releasing this footage publicly reveals the location of security cameras across the Capitol grounds, making it harder and more dangerous for our brave Capitol police officers who defended the Capitol that day to do their job.
So, giving someone as disingenuous, fundamentally as dishonest, as Tucker Carlson—when it comes to what happened in the election—giving him exclusive access to this type of sensitive information is a grave mistake—a grave mistake—by Speaker McCarthy and feeds into the propaganda he’s already put on Fox News’ air.