William Barr asked Rupert Murdoch to muzzle Fox News’ Napolitano, book says

  • Attorney General William Barr ordered the “muzzling” of Fox News contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano at a meeting with News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch, according to a new book. 
  • In “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth,” obtained and reported by The Guardian, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter writes that President Donald Trump was “so incensed” by Napolitano’s comments on the network that he wanted him removed from the air. 
  • The book is described on an online page by publisher Simon & Schuster as “the urgent and untold story of the collusion between Fox News and Donald Trump” authored by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A new book reportedly details how US Attorney General William Barr ordered the “muzzling” of Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano at a meeting with News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch. 

The Guardian first reported the detail from “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth,” which is described on an online page by publisher Simon & Schuster as “the urgent and untold story of the collusion between Fox News and Donald Trump” authored by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter. 

Napolitano has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, saying in January there was “ample and uncontradicted” evidence that Trump should be removed from office, Business Insider’s Sonam Sheth previously reported. The harsh op-ed came as the Senate weighed opening arguments in Trump’s impeachment trial. 

Since then, Napolitano has spoken out through the network about the administration’s handling of issues like fiery protests in Portland, Oregon, and the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Stelter, citing an unnamed source, wrote in the book that Trump “was so incensed by the judge’s TV broadcasts that he had implored Barr to send Rupert a message in person … about ‘muzzling the judge,'” according to the Guardian. Barr then made the request during an October 2019 meeting, according to the report. 

The outlet reported that while Barr’s request from Murdoch “carried a lot of weight,” ultimately “no one was explicitly told to take Napolitano off the air.” However, he lost involvement in the daytime show and didn’t appear in Fox News impeachment coverage. 

Kerri Kupec, a DOJ spokeswoman, denied the detail on Twitter Saturday night. Kupec wrote in a tweet that Stelter had not reached out to the department for comment.

According to an information page for the book, Stelter spoke with more than “250 current and former Fox insiders in an effort to understand the inner workings of Rupert Murdoch’s multibillion-dollar media empire.” 

The book comes as just the latest look at Trump’s long and pervasive relationship with the network.

Business Insider previously reported that the book also details Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity’s struggle with “Trump-related stress” after the president took office. Hannity has since come to be known around the White House as “the president’s ‘shadow chief of staff,'” Stelter wrote, according to an excerpt published in Vanity Fair. 

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