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An open letter to Rupert Murdoch

Any reasonable person who watched the Feb. 10 presentation by the Democratic House impeachment managers was unavoidably struck by then-President Donald Trump’s months-long effort to undermine the U.S. Constitution, culminating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Trump incited the murderous riot in a futile attempt to achieve autocratic power, and he watched it unfold with no apparent concern for its devastating effects on our nation.

It should now be clear to all that Trump is unfit to serve in government, and he must be disqualified from any future candidacy for elective office. It should also be clear to all that Trump was the same corrupt, incompetent, malignant-ego person when he ran for president in 2016.

The damage and death from the Trump mob riot are horrific, but they represent only a small fraction of the damage Trump caused to our nation over the past four years. How many U.S. lives have been lost to Trump’s COVID-19 mismanagement, Trump’s turning over protection of our environment to the fossil fuel industry, Trump’s assault on poor peoples’ access to health care, Trump’s dismantling of federal agencies (including the U.S. Postal Service) and the invaluable services they provide, Trump’s undermining of global alliances as he instead embraced murderous autocracies like Russia and Saudi Arabia, Trump’s racist policies and Trump’s corruption of the rule of law?

Rupert Murdoch, you and your company News Corp. bear primary responsibility for the scars our nation now bears from Donald Trump. Trump would never have been president without your active support. You own the Republican Party that now stands profoundly discredited as a result of having embraced and supported Trump’s many, many lies. It is not, as former House Speaker John Boehner famously said, “The Trump Party.” It is the “News Corp./Trump/Republican Party.”

News Corp. has for four decades boosted rogues and charlatans, most recently including Trump and the Ivy League Insurrectionists, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and NY-21’s own Elise Stefanik. Through your Fox News and the opinion content in your Wall Street Journal, you have propagated many lies characterizing Republicans as self-reliant patriots and Democrats as shameless “taker” opportunists. View the movie “Bombshell.”

You now face billion-dollar threats to your bottom line under lawsuits from voting machine manufacturers your commentators falsely maligned. Your viewership is plummeting as people realize that you lied to them. Sponsors are fleeing.

Where does News Corp. go from here? Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. can start by admitting through Fox News and WSJ that:

¯ Donald Trump was unfit from day one to serve as president.

¯ The Republican Party, controlled by Fox News and WSJ, was wrong to support Donald Trump as president, and you bear significant responsibility for the damage Trump caused to the nation.

¯ You also bear responsibility for your active support of other Republicans over the past forty years who were unfit, starting with Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

¯ You also lied to the nation about global climate change (which is a real and urgent problem), Obamacare (which has efficiently expanded access to health care), the massive contributions of Republican presidents to the national debt, and tax cuts for the wealthy that created many problems and solved none. Further, you should acknowledge that racism is wrong and racial reconciliation should be a top priority, gerrymandering and voter suppression must end, and diplomacy (not war) is the only means to achieve favorable international relations.

¯ You are immediately suspending your usual biased and misleading content through Fox News and WSJ, and devoting programming to examination of the many ways you propagated biased, false and misleading content to pervert U.S. politics for the benefit of your earnings and the political fortunes of the many unfit Republican candidates you actively supported.

¯ The members of your organization who are unable to transition away from biased inflammatory misrepresentation and to truth and honesty must be purged from Fox News and WSJ and replaced by responsible voices.

¯ You will then undertake programming to purge the Republican Party of Trumpists. Republican leaders, members of Congress, and other Republicans who most actively supported Trump must be purged from the Republican Party if it is to again earn the respect of the nation. This purge will necessarily include Republican leaders of both houses of Congress and the Ivy League Insurrectionists: Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and Elise Stefanik.

¯ Then you will devote programming to a necessary reconstituting of the Republican Party and development of a philosophical and policy platform. There won’t be much left after the necessary purge of the Republican Party, but the need remains for a viable center-right political party in the U.S. You have responsible national-level Republicans like Sen. Mitt Romney, responsible Republicans who have left or are leaving Congress like former Senator. Bob Corker, and responsible state-level Republicans like Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who have consistently and responsibly voiced conservative perspectives while not associating closely with Donald Trump. From these elements, you can develop a Republican Party that can contribute constructively to the nation’s political dialogue and again earn the respect and votes of the nation.

Rupert Murdoch, your choice is to continue on your 40-year irresponsible path with News Corp., or divert to a responsible path. I sincerely hope you choose the latter.

David Banks resides in Rockville, Maryland, and is a former resident of Lake Clear.

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