Fox billionaire Rupert Murdoch slams 'awful woke orthodoxy' in award acceptance speech
- Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch blasted what he called "woke orthodoxy" that he says threatens public discourse.
- He made the charge while accepting the lifetime achievement award from a United Kingdom nonprofit on Saturday.
- His comments echo many other conservatives' claims that a left-dominated "cancel culture" threatens free debate and conservative ideas.
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Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire media tycoon behind Fox News and News Corp, has slammed an "awful woke orthodoxy" that he says stifles debate and promotes conformity on social media.
The octogenarian businessman made the comments on Saturday during a recorded acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award from the Australia Day Foundation, a United Kingdom nonprofit, the New York Times reported. Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper, a News Corp holding, published the video, the Times said.
In the clip, Murdoch thanked the foundation for the award and indicated that his time in media isn't over, despite the "finality" of the award.
"I can assure you that there are many goals still to come and challenges to overcome," Murdoch said. "I'm far from done."
Read more: Former Cambridge Analytica director Brittany Kaiser talks data rights legislation and the future of Big Tech under Biden
Murdoch, News Corp's executive chairman, also took aim at social media and so-called cancel culture, echoing claims from some far-right politicians and pundits that their views are being censored by tech companies and mainstream media outlets.
"For those of us in media, there's a real challenge to confront: a wave of censorship that seeks to silence conversation, to stifle debate, to ultimately stop individuals and societies from realizing their potential," Murdoch said.
"This rigidly enforced conformity, aided and abetted by so-called social media, is a straitjacket on sensibility. Too many people have fought too hard in too many places for freedom of speech to be suppressed by this awful woke orthodoxy."
The remarks came just weeks after several social media platforms banned President Donald Trump for posting misinformation and inciting violence in the leadup to and during the January 6 Capitol riot, fueling renewed allegations of leftwing bias in Big Tech and suppression of conservative thought online.
In an effort to stem the spread of misinformation and further violence, Twitter also purged thousands of QAnon-related accounts and temporarily suspended newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, while Amazon, Apple, and Google dropped conservative-leaning social media site Parler from their respective platforms.
Like Murdoch, some Republican lawmakers have used their reach to take swipes at what they see as the silencing of conservative ideas. Greene wore a facemask embroidered with the word "censored" while delivering a televised speech on the House floor earlier this month.
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who has caught heat for his efforts to overturn the results of the November election, lost a book deal with Simon & Schuster after the Capitol insurrection and took to Twitter to deride the publishing house's "woke mob."
He also wrote an op-ed for the Murdoch-owned New York Post titled "it's time to stand up against the muzzling of America," which was featured on the paper's front page on Monday.
However, the powerful Murdoch family isn't in agreement about the role of the media in politics. James Murdoch, the elder Murdoch's youngest son, indirectly criticized his family's empire when he blamed news outlets that "propagate lies" for their role in the Capitol siege in a recent Financial Times interview.
"I hope that those people who didn't think it was that dangerous now understand, and that they stop," Murdoch told the paper.
He did not mention any outlets by name, but Fox News has been criticized for giving airtime to baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
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