Media behemoth Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News network found themselves on the receiving end of an outraged and acerbic Twitter campaign this week.
Comedian Aziz Ansari launched a #RupertsFault Twitter hashtag over the weekend in response to a Rupert Murdoch tweet. Photo Credit: Reuters
Rupert Murdoch made a generalization last week that all Muslims “must be held responsible” for the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France, a statement that comedian Aziz Ansari quickly took note of.
“@RUPERTMURDOCH PLEASE TELL ME WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO STOP ANY AND ALL CRIMES COMMITTED BY PEOPLE OF YOUR RELIGION???!!!” was just one of a series of caustic Ansari tweets.
Another one read, “@rupertmudoch Are you responsible for the evil s— all Christians do or just the insane amount of evil you yourself contribute to?”
Ansari, who was raised Muslim but now says he’s an atheist, tweeted that by Murdoch’s logic he should be held responsible for the actions of any pedophile Catholics. He ended that tweet with a flourish – #Rupertsfault.
Ansari’s tweets quickly took a life of their own with Muslim users and their friends across Twitter pushing it up in the trending ranks.
“My car battery died this morning, had to buy a new battery #Rupertsfault” wrote user @jehadmajed.
“My dad said I have to shovel the driveway… #Rupertsfault”, said @ZakHuseinWins. “Never before in history has one of the world’s richest and a comedian had equal footing for a media duel. #Rupertsfault” opined user @jason_schmitt.
Meanwhile Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, more commonly known as a writer of fantasy, waded in as well.
“I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I’ll auto-excommunicate,” she tweeted. As of Tuesday evening her statement had been retweeted over 30,000 times.
If Murdoch woke up with a lingering headache from his Twitter experience, seeing his Fox News get skewered on Twitter for false reporting regarding England’s Muslim population could not have helped.
It all started when Muslim “expert” Steven Emerson made several false statements during a Saturday segment, including that the city of Birmingham was a Muslim city – ThinkProgress reported that the 2011 U.K. census recorded 21.8% of Birmingham citizens saying they follow Islam.
“In Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in,” said Emerson.
“And parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire.
So there’s a situation that Western Europe is not dealing with.”
Although Emerson later apologized for his incorrect statements, Twitter users lashed out with the hashtag #FoxNewsFacts, using humor to criticize the right-wing news network.
“When your head gets filled with propaganda, this is the result. #FoxNewsFacts” tweeted user
@WWitness99. “#birmingham under attack from giant Islamic snow machine #foxnewsfacts,” quipped @philmackie. “#FoxNewsFacts Trends Worldwide After Fox ‘Expert’ Completely Makes Up Fake Story. #LIARS,” wrote user @LatinoInitUSA.
Although Emerson has a history of making similar statements, it is possible that this week’s controversy online will permanently affect his career.
“He said he had relied on sources he had used in the past, but accepted ‘responsibility’ for his comments and did not know how his reputation would be affected in the long term,” reported the BBC.