Joe Biden called Rupert Murdoch “the most dangerous man in the world”, according to a forthcoming book.
The comment, from mid-2021, is reported in This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, two New York Times reporters.
The book is due out in May. Last month, Politico reported passages in which Jill Biden, now the first lady, is critical of her husband’s decision to pick Kamala Harris as his running mate.
Reporting Biden’s remark about Murdoch, CNN said the president had never spoken in public about the 91-year-old media baron and Fox News owner.
The president did tell a town hall audience he sometimes “turn[s] on Fox to find out how popular I am”. He also apologised to a Fox News White House reporter, Peter Doocy, for calling him a “stupid son of a bitch”.
According to Burns and Martin, Biden “assessed” Murdoch to be “one of the most destructive forces in the United States”.
Fox News anchors including Tucker Carlson have prominently relayed coronavirus misinformation and spoken favorably of Vladimir Putin and Russia. The network has been sued for giving voice to Donald Trump’s lies about electoral fraud in his defeat by Biden, who is now a target for daily ridicule by Fox News hosts.
The White House and Fox News did not immediately comment.
Fox News is broadly supportive of Trump. But Murdoch has clashed with the former president.
In January 2018, the author Michael Wolff reported that Murdoch, a US citizen born in Australia, called Trump a “fucking idiot” over his views on immigration.
Last year, Wolff reported that Murdoch personally approved Fox News’ call of Arizona for Biden, a decision that indicated Trump would lose his re-election fight. Fox News denied it.
Wolff told Brian Stelter, the CNN host who on Sunday revealed Biden’s comment about Murdoch, that Murdoch “hates Donald Trump. Hates him – but Rupert loves money”.
Stelter is the author of a book of his own, Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, published in 2020.
As the Guardian reported, the book reports that Trump’s second attorney general, William Barr, told Murdoch a Fox News personality critical of Trump should be “muzzled”.