Rupert Murdoch: Free speech is being ‘suppressed by this awful woke orthodoxy’

Celebrities at Scott's restaurant in London

Last week, at some point following the inauguration, I was watching a MSNBC segment about the takeaways from the Trump era and what lessons were learned on either side. The former RNC chairman Michael Steele was one of the guests on the segment. He said something that I’ve been thinking about ever since, which is basically that Republicans were really mad about “cancel culture” and “woke culture” and how those things are ruining society in their minds. What bugged me is that Steele seemed to think that they had a point. I’ve come to realize that this is the argument the GOP is making and will continue to make: that “woke” culture is coming to “cancel” you (“you” being Republican voters) for just being yourself. If you vote Republican, you don’t have to bother to learn how to be a functioning member of society, or learn how to not offend people 24-7.

The whole “anti-woke” and “cancel culture run amok” thing is also a conversational smokescreen for what actually happened before, during and after the January 6th insurrection. Donald Trump and his minions plotted a terrorist attack and they were genuinely trying to overthrow the government. It was an attempted coup, and Trump was still threatening violence and retribution even after the coup largely failed. Trump was threatening those things… on social media. And he promptly got deplatformed from most social media sites, and there was a mass banning of Nazis and MAGAts and the like. All of these things are connected, all of these conversations are connected. Which brings me to this: Rupert Murdoch decrying the “woke orthodoxy”:

Rupert Murdoch has been silent on Twitter for nearly five years, but the media baron has come out swinging against social media and what he described as the prevalence of a “woke orthodoxy” in the online realm. Murdoch, 89, created a stir with a two-minute video message that was released in connection with his receiving the Australia Day Foundation’s lifetime achievement award. The video was posted on the website of Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper, which News Corp. owns.

Murdoch’s remarks veer from a conventional thank-you for a lifetime achievement honor and kind words about his “undying love” for his native country to a deliberate swipe at social media. He remarks echo the recent refrain from far-right conservatives that Big Tech giants and social media platforms are seeking to impose censorship by flagging false and inflammatory statements from political figures such as former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been permanently banned from Twitter and other platforms.

“For those of us in media, there’s a real challenge to confront a wave of censorship that seeks to silence conversations, to stifle debate and 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 sensibilities. Too many people have fought too hard in too many places for freedom of speech to be suppressed by this awful woke orthodoxy.”

[From Variety]

Again, all of this sh-t happened in just the past THREE WEEKS. We were there. We all witnessed what actually happened, we witnessed Donald Trump inciting an insurrection in broad daylight, sending his Nazis to the Capitol to murder the vice president, the speaker of the house and anyone else they felt like. Those Nazis actually *DID* murder a Capitol Police officer by beating him to death. After he incited an insurrection, Trump was still issuing barely veiled threats on Twitter and calling on his supporters to stay agitated and violent. It’s not like Jack Dorsey just decided out of the blue that he hated what Trump was tweeting. These are private companies who realized – rather suddenly – that they had significant liability issues if they continued to allow Trump and his followers a platform to organize and incite violence. But Murdoch is definitely telegraphing the same argument which Michael Steele, Josh Hawley and others will make going forward: inciting terrorism is a “free speech issue” when white people are involved.

Rupert Murdoch and wife Jerry Hall arrive at the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Xavier Collin/Image Press Ag

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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62 Responses to “Rupert Murdoch: Free speech is being ‘suppressed by this awful woke orthodoxy’”

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  1. Leah says:

    Says the guy who spent years undermining this country with Fox News and making buck off Trump at the expense of others. His news network has done more damage in the last five years than any previous enemy could have ever done.

    • MMRB says:

      Shut up Rupert, you antiquated privileged troll. No one cares what you think anymore. If you were a real “journalist” you would be able to look at the passage books of time and realize that behaviour like this is how Autocracy is created. One merely has to look at Countries with leaders in power to see how they managed to become like that. The world isn’t going to be bullied by people with money who use it for power.
      If we aren’t careful, we will be the new Syria,or Iraq or Venezuela or ….. I shudder to think…..it begins slowly and silently, the erosions of trust.

      • Eleonora says:

        He’s just angry that men like him don’t have the monopoly on what is and isn’t being published in media, and it’s not always ending up the way they want it.

        They were gatekeepers for CENTURIES.

      • Golly Gee says:

        What makes you think he’s against autocracy? Power corrupts, and many of those with a lot of power want to hold onto it, want more of it, become power mad. Democracy threatens this. He doesn’t want discourse and free speech. He would be very happy if left-leaning media were extinguished.

    • Natters5 says:

      Satan has spoken.

    • Myra says:

      The most dangerous threat to democracy everywhere has spoken. Never mind the fact this mindless consumers of his media empire have been attacking journalists over the past 4 – 5 years and calling for a civil war.

    • Saucy&Sassy says:

      We need to lean hard on our elected officials to bring back the fairness doctrine. Rupert Mudoch has been trying to make the US media like the UK media. We have to put a stop to that. He also was an investor in Parlor. Is anyone surprised? I think the OpEd in the WSJ was a shot over the bow. He wanted to see if he can garner the clicks for money. I still say that people should NEVER respond to anything in his papers. Instead take to social media and tell people to not click on his paper links. Then, cancel your subscription. That goes for any paper he has an interest in. He can only do this if we allow him to.

    • Anne Call says:

      And Jerry Hall must either agree with his vile destructive empire and ideas or maybe just a soulless non caring gold digger. Either way, she’s gross.

      • That picture of her above with Murdoch just brings up a picture in my mind of her on her knees with Murdoch….ugh! Remember that famous quote of her’s where she bragged to a reporter that she gave Mick Jagger a blow job every day before he left the house to try and keep him satisfied enough that he wouldn’t cheat! That surely didn’t pay off for her with Jagger. Wonder how it’s working with that nasty little gnome she’s sold herself to now? She must be a real piece of work because surely her divorce settlement from Jagger should have been enough to keep her extravagant lifestyle without marrying this. Money, money, money.

  2. Watson says:

    I hate this man.

  3. OriginalLala says:

    oh shut up you vile old a**hole…I loathe this man.

    • Darla says:

      ^^^

      Seconded.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Loathe is too polite a word.

      His papers and Faux “News” have done so much damage to the world. HE needs to be held accountable.

      Remember: even “free speech” has its limitations. You can’t yell: “FIRE” in a crowd if there isn’t a fire. You can’t yell, “BOMB!” in an airport and incite a panic (when there isn’t a bomb!). Perjury is another thing that isn’t covered under “free speech”. So is threatening someone (it can be criminally illegal, even if you’re “joking”).

      Considering all that Murdock HAS gotten away with…he needs to take ALL of the seats, sit his evil ass down, and just STFU.

  4. Midnight@theOasis says:

    Says the man who has singlehandedly undermined democracy through his right wing white supremacist media empire. Biggest mistake Democratic governments ever made was allowing this man to publish in their countries. He is the devil himself.

  5. STRIPE says:

    There is a spot in Hell reserved for this man.

  6. Stacy Dresden says:

    I honestly don’t know what they are talking about with censorship. They are tripping. Now, there are financial consequences to violating morality clauses and so forth, but that is not censorship. What a bunch of tyrannical whiners.

    • Sadiebelle says:

      Exactly! You can say what you want, you have to be willing to accept the (in this case financial) consequences of those words.

    • Ann says:

      Exactly! What is this censorship they are bitching about, on NATIONAL TV?? A handful of people got kicked off Twitter for violating their service agreement (and breaking the law!) and now it is all “cancel culture” this and “woke media” that. Bunch of whiney fascists.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      “Now, there are financial consequences to violating morality clauses and so forth, but that is not censorship.”

      LOUDER, FOR THE IDIOTS IN THE BACK!

    • lucy2 says:

      I HATE when racists/bigots/domestic terrorists use the Freedom of Speech argument, because they are always wrong and either stupidly or purposefully misrepresenting what that actually is.

      Also, if you are being interviewed on television or for a newspaper, or if you own a giant media conglomerate, or if you have the ability to call a press conference, you cannot say you are being silenced. You’re not!

  7. paranormalgirl says:

    This “free speech” they keep talking about. I don’t think it means what they they it means.

  8. Amy Bee says:

    His papers have severally damaged the democracy of the US, UK and Australia. Social Media has spread the misinformation and the phony culture war cultivated by his papers and TV stations.

  9. Alexandria says:

    It’s free speech until it comes to non-white terrorists.

  10. Lightpurple says:

    Constitutional freedom of speech means that we can voice our views in our homes, in our yards, on our streets, in public forums, and most importantly, in person, by telephone, or in writing directly to our elected officials AND through the grievance and appeal processes set up in our statutes, regulations, and courts. Free speech does not mean you have the right to say whatever you want in a workplace or a forum owned by a corporate entity whose terms of service you accepted when you set up your account.

  11. equality says:

    Freedom of speech has NEVER included the right to incite riots or to slander and libel people.

  12. heygingersnaps says:

    What a vile, horrible human being this man is, simply put, he’s a waste of oxygen.

  13. Annaloo. says:

    White straight men will lead this conversation forever bc they do not know how to suffer. They do not know (or willingly ignore) how others have suffered for their mass benefit and advancement in this country. Of course, I expected a statement like this from the top banana at Fox.

    At some point, these straight white men will not have a choice. They will find themselves outnumbered by women and people of color who will not accept suffering under them and their paradigms anymore.

    • SarahCS says:

      I really cannot wait for that moment.

    • Golly Gee says:

      I would hope that diversity in power create change for the good, and it definitely needs to happen. White dudedom needs to be toppled. But power has a way of twisting and corrupting many of those who wield it, regardless of race or gender. There are plenty of examples of this.
      Rather I would hope that whoever wields power — be they white, POC, man or woman — doesn’t succumb to it but works towards leveling the playing field to provide true equal opportunity for those without privilege. And that those who had to struggle against the entrenched paradigm in order to achieve power, don’t become complacent. There definitely needs to be more diversity in the experience and viewpoints of those in a position to create change.

  14. K.T says:

    Irreparable evil by this man and his executives of doom. Climate change denial by Murdoch has broken Australia as most of the media is Murdoch and that means expect more forest fires, racism, and another generation of conservative crony-boy toadying politicians, upturned the UK with their rabid polarising for Brexit and Tory incompetents and then the whole mess of the GOP, Fox and Trump et al.

    He’s done so much global damage that it’s truly insane to think about?!

  15. Agirlandherdog says:

    First, I’d like to point out that he used social media to… denounce “so-called social media.”

    It’s so sad for repugs that social media has amplified the voices of people who have been silenced for so long, allowing them the means to organize and educate, creating generations of “woke” people. The flip side of this coin is that repugs are selling this fallacy that free speech means you have the right to say whatever you want, whenever you want, free from any type of consequence, and their followers eat it up with a spoon, immediately picking up rallying cry about free speech(!!), not realizing that it only guarantees freedom from government censorship of speech. But at least those woke people have a platform to call them out.

  16. Gab says:

    There are democrats who sometimes do hypocritical things and deserve to be cancelled as well.

  17. Christa says:

    IMO there is a difference between saying something that is unpopular but with merit and something that is a lie. To some extent they are right. We currently live in a culture where online mobs try to socially annihilate others for saying something unpopular. And people fear being able to express their opinions for fear of consequences. Having a different opinion is ok but they want us to accept lies, which is hard to swallow. But then I try to remember, and I admit it’s hard to remember, part of why people are accepting lies is because they have lost faith in the MSM. I think we have to answer why have they lost that belief in MSM but that means we have to show empathy even if it’s an opinion we don’t agree with. And in the end, it doesn’t do society any good to make people unemployed or socially isolated because then they require more government resources and are more susceptible to radicalization. That’s a vicious cycle. I don’t have all the answers but I see that’s not a good place. Also caveat: opinions on religious stuff is more benign that say racism as long as they aren’t trying to make me live by their rules. I am a lefty.

    • Golly Gee says:

      Thank you for your balanced and thoughtful comment. Humanity seems to have a knack for taking a good thing and poisoning it. Social media is the perfect modern example. It gives a voice to those without a voice, but it has also stoked and amplified anger and hate. This anger and hate have been often channeled towards people or groups that have nothing to do with where the anger came from in the first place. The mob mentality prevalent in social media, has allowed people to justify their views and actions because they are supported by their peers.

  18. ce says:

    For generations, any voice which wasn’t white or privileged was minimized or silenced. God forbid you were a woman!! These white men have been stating and propagating offensive belief systems amongst themselves unabated, and now that they’re getting called out on it, all of a sudden it’s a ‘free speech’ issue. How about if you treat people with respect, you can say whatever you want? Until then, stfu. I’m so sick of this talking point, it’s offensive.

    • L4frimaire says:

      Exactly! They don’t like it when women and people of color, especially Black people, call them on their hypocrisy,and appalling behavior. They’re pissed they can’t get away with it, that we see through them, and that people push back publicly against them. People like Murdoch make me sick. So many towns have lost local papers, have no one reporting on local issues outside of social media, yet this far right propagandist dares to whine about people speaking up when they are wronged. He can go directly to hell.

  19. Alex says:

    I’ve listened to the Even the Rich, I know this guy is full of shit, I’ve got his number. He can complain all he wants because at the end of the day it’s like, at least we’re not the guy who ruined journalism.

    • Golly Gee says:

      Love that podcast! The Murdoch saga was revolting. They didn’t even get into the full drama about his marriage to Wendi Deng, and her rumored elder abuse against him. There are some good in-depth articles online, but I can’t remember in which publications.

  20. Keroppi says:

    Is he also bemoaning the fact that he isn’t allowed to tap anyone’s phones anymore. Boohoo, you awful man!

  21. SJP-NYC says:

    “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Patrick Moynihan

  22. Cecilia says:

    I have a few things to get of my chest:
    1 my can’t this man die already?
    2 what exactly does he have to gain by spreading so much disinformation? His media outlets aren’t exactly full of integrity. Yes freedom of speech is important but opinions must be based on facts. Something he has a problem with.

  23. bros says:

    this was a good article today
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/26/magazine/free-speech-tech.html?smid=em-share

    bazelon is brilliant and in her typical fashion doesnt come down on one side or the other.

  24. L4frimaire says:

    Murdoch truly is an awful person who manipulates the news. He uses his rags to negatively shape public perception and public policy but this billionaire shamelessly goes on about “ woke” culture. Fox News under him is a racist conspiracy theory cesspool of lies and have decided to double down on lies and distortions to boost their ratings. This is the guy who basically decided that Brexit and Tory incompetence was the way to go, and demonizes any opposition to their policies through his newspapers. He is decrying “ woke” culture because he gets pushback to his lies on social media, sees the reach and power of their platforms, saw how cutting Trump off immediately calmed things down, and he doesn’t like the competition. Kevin Rudd, former Australian PM, recently totally called him out by name for his lies and smears, as did Prince Harry. He doesn’t believe in free speech at all.

  25. Indywom says:

    I am sick of people crying about Free Speech and being cancelled when you say despicable things. You have the right to free speech and the consequences that come with it, one of which means being cancelled.

  26. JustBitchy says:

    Ugh, I’ve lost what little respect I have for Jerry Hall at this point. I hope there is 10x the money expected in her deal.

  27. Traveler says:

    Shutting down blatant lies, the fomenting of violence and hate, and the perpetuation of racism is not an infringement on free speech it is the preservation and progression of a civilized society.
    Murdock is a man without conscience. He has built an empire on the manipulation of the masses for his own gain. He knows there’s a sucker born every day.

    And, what a disappointment Jerry Hall is.

  28. Mignionette says:

    Translation = why are we not allowed to be racist, fascist white supremacists in peace?

  29. Liz version 700 says:

    Crusty old bigot says what?!?

  30. detnow359 says:

    When they show you who they are believe them.

    Murdoch is another rich white man who has made it his mission to slant words and create fear. He is Fox News. That is all people really need to remember. He, along with so many others, would like to continue to keep minorities down and “in their place”. People are tired and won’t be silent and it frightens white men, and women, that they will lose their power(white supremacy).

  31. Emerald Crystal says:

    I blame Rupert Merdoch and his extreme right wing conspiracy theorist Fox News channel and other media outlets for the divisiveness of the people today. He really needs to take a long seat and stfu. And, Jerry Hall must really be money hungry in order to marry him. Or possibly, business savvy Mick Jagger had a solid pre-nup which didn’t quite suit her monetary needs. Yuck!

  32. Just A Thought says:

    No it not call censorship when are spreading untruths that does great harm to society.

  33. JackieFox says:

    Coming from a man who controls what is printed and said in the news in a very large chunk of the western world? He’s the last person who should be talking about democracy and free speech.

  34. Cecily says:

    I’m sorry but I do think that even if we are pro “woke”, it’s not cool to hate on people who don’t share your point of view even if it’s despicable. I think when doing that we lose the moral high ground and in some ways are behaving in a more white washed version of their “I don’t accept you as you are and I want to make you in my image” sentiment. We don’t have to agree with people but we don’t have to disagree in a hateful and trashful way. That’s actually undemocratic.

  35. The Recluse says:

    Al Franken had Murdoch’s vile number way back in the 90′s. Even wrote about what an awful influence and menace he was to this country in a book back then.

  36. Midge says:

    I truly hope there is a hell for him to burn in, sooner rather than later.

  37. J ferber says:

    Bullshit. Foreign manipulation of U.S. media with bigots spouting right-wing misinformation and lies about the truth of a fair American election is incendiary fomentation of our failed coup. Murdoch you poisoned the waters of our democracy and made a fortune. You’ve sown hatred, violence, voter suppression and an insurrection. Now shut up and get the hell out of our country. The nerve of you.