News Corp has taken aim at media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s conservative media empire, saying it is using social media to “drive” opinion across its sites and that the company will be “going on strike”.
The fallout follows the resignation of the company’s chief executive, Rupert Murdoch, amid a series of revelations about alleged bias at News Corp. and the influence of a conservative media network known as Project Veritas.
The media giant has been the target of accusations of “media collusion” with the far-right Project Veritaseum, which is funded by conservative donors.
It was revealed in March that Project Verity is behind a fake news story about alleged collusion between Trump and Russia and that a “shadowy” operation called the American Bridge 21st Century Foundation had been secretly spending millions of dollars to discredit the former president.
News Corp’s chief political strategist, Paul Manafort, also resigned after Project Verita reported that he had accepted $150,000 in cash payments from a pro-Trump political group.
“The reality is we’ve been trying to get a handle on the influence that has been coming from this network for a long time,” News Corp Chief Executive Donald Trump said in a statement.
“It is a threat to our company and to the future of the news business.”
The fallout has not stopped the news industry from reacting.
“The next four years are going to be really interesting for news,” Media Matters’ Adam Green said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”.
“You can see it with all the stories that are coming out about [Project Veritas], all the news organizations are going on strike.”
Project Veritas website, which promotes itself as the “largest independent news website in the world”, said it was not connected to any “left-wing group”.
“The views of the Project Veriteum Foundation and the American Foundation for Political Reform are completely unrelated,” the website said.
“We are proud to stand behind our reporting and our work.”
The News Corp statement said the company was “reluctant to be used by the American media industry to drive news content across the newsgathering platform”, referring to the news aggregation platform Facebook.
“We are also very concerned by the impact that the ProjectVeritas network is having on the news environment and on our journalism.
We are committed to doing everything we can to make sure that the American public knows about these issues,” the company said.”
This is a news industry that is now deeply concerned about the influence the American left is having.”
Trump also called on News Corp to stop using the network to “create negative stories”.
“You’re trying to use a network that is run by a guy that is going to get rid of people,” Trump said on Fox News.
“You’re using it for negative stuff, and that’s not going to work.”
“It’s just really sad.”
Trump, a vocal critic of the Trump administration, has made attacking the media his signature campaign theme.
He recently threatened to “tear the head off” of News Corp if he is not given a pay cut.
He also said in an interview with The Associated Press that he was “very upset” about the network’s decision to pay a “fancy” $20m for the right-wing Project Veritateum blog.
“I have never been upset in my life,” Trump told the AP.
“They’ve just been very, very, rude to me and to our people.”
He added: “I don’t think they should be allowed to have any influence at all over our news, but I think that they should get out of it.”
Trump’s threat to “destroy” News Corp came after the news organisation announced that it would no longer run a program in which conservative personalities were invited to speak to the American people.
The network said the hosts of the program, including Fox News personality Sean Hannity and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, were not “unfairly treated” and that they would not be appearing in future events.
“It is not the way to go about promoting our news to the public,” said News Corp’s news division chief, Craig Murray.
“There are a number of things that the Trump Administration could be doing in terms of taking a different path.”
The project has been used by conservative media to push their agenda in recent years, but it was revealed last year that it was also running a program that pushed conspiracy theories and misinformation about climate change.
The AP’s Josh Lederman contributed to this report.