Joseph Azam left Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in 2017 largely due to the increasingly combative tone of Fox News and the network’s lack of commitment to the truth, The Hill reports. Azam served as senior vice president under Murdoch and explained his decision to leave the company in an interview with CNN.
“I’m a big believer in the marketplace of ideas, right?” he said in the interview.
“And I was fine working with and for people who had very different values and opinions than I did, but I noticed a significant shift in the ferociousness and, frankly, in the relationship with facts.”
Azam, who is Muslim, also pointed to rhetoric on the opinion side of Fox News which he characterized as anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, and anti-Muslim. He said that these sensibilities increased dramatically prior to the 2016 election, with the result being “a fervor” of anxiety about what was happening in the country.
Azam echoed many of these ideas in another interview, this one with National Public Radio, where he spoke in detail about his experience at the company and his thought process in leaving. The NPR interview came in the wake of a reporter who left an affiliated company, Sky News Australia, over what she described as problematic coverage of Muslims and immigrants following the recent massacre at two New Zealand mosques.
Tune into CNN’s @ReliableSources at 11a ET to see @joseph_azam, the Murdoch executive who resigned over anti immigrant and anti Muslim rhetoric on Fox and other Murdoch properties.— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) April 7, 2019
My earlier NPR interview with Azam here: https://t.co/H5OzMFPYT2
“Scaring people. Demonizing immigrants. Creating, like, a fervor — or an anxiety about what was happening in our country,” Azam said of his former employer.
“It fundamentally bothered me on a lot of days and I think I probably wasn’t the only one.”
Even before leaving the company, Azam found himself tangling with colleagues, sometimes publicly. In a now-deleted tweet, Azam responded to Fox News personality Tucker Carlson when Carlson asked about what the U.S. had to gain through immigration from what he called failing countries.
“#Tucker: Why does America benefit from having tons of people from failing countries come here?” Carlson’s tweet read.
Azam replied, also on Twitter.
“If you come upstairs to where all the executives who run your company sit and find me I can tell you, Tucker. #Afghanistan.”
Azam grew up in Queens, New York, but originally immigrated from Afghanistan, presumably one of the “failing countries” to which Carlson referred.
Azam says that he deleted the tweet after News Corp General Counsel and Executive Vice President David Pitofsky spoke to him personally and told him not to attack members of the Murdoch empire publicly.