Rupert Murdoch and his family have been roundly ridiculed and lambasted in the US media since Fox News agreed to settle a libel case filed by Dominion Voting Systems for $787m last month. But the latest criticism, from the wife of a former ally, will likely hurt more than most.
The widow of Roger Ailes, Fox News’ former chairman who stood down in 2016 amid sexual harassment allegations, has attacked the Murdoch family in the wake of the Dominion settlement and the sacking of Tucker Carlson.
In an interview with the Daily Beast in New York, Elizabeth Ailes said that her husband, who died in 2017, would refer to Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan Murdoch, as “Tweedle Dumb” and “Tweedle Dumber”, respectively. She said of Lachlan, the current chief executive of Fox: “I was told he’s a spear fisherman, I don’t know if he spends time in the office.”
As for Rupert Murdoch, she said he was a “jealous man” who had fired her husband because he “eclipsed Rupert on the world stage”. She further suggested that the Murdochs had recently sacked Carlson because he – like her husband – had become too big for them.
In a tweet on Monday (15 May), which would have been Roger Ailes’s 77th birthday, she wrote: “It took you 20 years to build Fox News into the powerhouse that it was and only 6 years for the Murdochs to wreak havoc. Rupert thought he could do your job. What a joke. He has the checkbook but could never come close to your genius.” Ouch.