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Murdoch hates Fox News
Rupert Murdoch’s deposition in Dominion Voting’s $1.6 billion libel suit against Fox News convinced me that the person who hates the network most is not Brian Stelter, Barack Obama or Jeff Zucker but Murdoch himself. If he could, he would shut it down tomorrow just like he did News of the World when it ran into litigation troubles in UK.
The problem is, Fox News makes a lot of money. But maybe money no longer is his motivation. I don’t know. I do know that news reports on the court case make it look like he is torpedoing his own network.
NPR reported, “In the heat of the moment, right after Election Day 2020, media magnate Rupert Murdoch knew that the hosts on his prized Fox News Channel were endorsing lies from then-President Donald Trump about election fraud.
“And he did nothing to intervene to stop it.
“Instead, Murdoch, the network's controlling owner, followed the lead of the network's senior executives in sidestepping the truth for a pro-Trump audience angered when confronted by the facts.
“Asked whether he could have told Fox News' chief executive and its stars to stop giving airtime to Rudy Giuliani — a key Trump campaign attorney peddling election lies — Murdoch assented. ‘I could have,’ Murdoch said. ‘But I didn't.’
“That’s the picture that emerges in evidence presented Monday by the voting-tech company Dominion Voting Systems in a blockbuster $1.6 billion defamation suit against both Fox News and its parent company, Fox Corp.”
NPR’s sudden embrace of the truth and facts runs counter to its promotion of Russiagate and the spying on Donald Trump by the FBI that Russiagate allowed.
The fix was in on the 2020 election — and Murdoch was in on the fix. His network boasts that it was right about Arizona, but Trump lost it by 0.3%. Calling it before calling Texas and Ohio, which Trump carried by 3% and 8% respectively, showed Murdoch wanted to be on the winning side.
I should care, but I don’t. The network died for me when it chased Roger Ailes into retirement over a blowjob from Gretchen Carlson. It was a he said/she said thing that I view as transactional sex. Both were pigs.
Given her lack of talent, it likely happened and landed her an afternoon show that failed to hold the audience it received from the noon Eastern show. When Fox canned her, she screamed harassment, collected a $20 million settlement, and went into some other business because no other news outfit would give her a TV show. Even Chris Cuomo landed a TV show after CNN fired him.
Murdoch forced Ailes into retirement. If Ailes was surprised, he should not have been. His relationship with Murdoch, too, was transactional. Ailes made the network. Murdoch made the money.
The ouster of Ailes in 2016 compelled me to write, “Roger Ailes will walk away from the network he created 20 years ago in defiance against the liberal — some would say communist — mainstream media. He created an oasis for Americans who wanted all sides of the story, not just the liberal and the moderate, but liberal, moderate, and conservative.
“He succeeded. Fox News is not only the No. 1 cable news network — and has been for 15 years or so — but the No. 1 cable network. Period. He beat ESPN despite its NBA playoff games. Now Ailes is walking away from the network he founded amid allegations of sexual harassment.”
I also wrote in that piece, “He built a hell of a network. He brought truth to the American people. He built the network's reputation on telling stories the rest of the media ignored because those stories made socialists look bad.
“Yes, Fox News disappointed me this year by not balancing the Never Trump choir of former conservatives on its various panel shows. But the world was worse without this brave little network that came to dominate the news. He made news great television without turning it into schlock infortainment.”
Greta Van Susteren also walked away when Ailes left, giving up a nightly show and the millions that go with it. He inspired such loyalty. Cal Thomas penned a wonderful tribute to Ailes, who gave the newspaper columnist a TV gig at CNBC (which Ailes also founded) and later at Fox News.
Thomas wrote for AP, “Ailes was loyal to those who were loyal to him. If someone experienced a serious illness, he would keep them on the payroll so they didn’t have to worry about money.
“When Geraldine Ferraro, the 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee and a Fox News contributor, was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer, Ailes continued paying her until she died. He did the same with other women and men who struggled with physical challenges, including cancer, drug dependency and alcoholism.”
Compassion is a conservative value. Never forget that.
But Murdoch’s loyalty is to his wallet, and as an investor, I appreciate that. Both Fox and News Corp. which he runs, are components of the S&P 500, and my fortune (such as it is) is tied to Vanguard’s S&P 500 index fund.
Watch Fox? Why would I do that? I would never buy a Tesla, but I am glad it is in the S&P 500 because it makes me money.
Fox News makes money. Via the New York Times, in 2021, it raked in “$899 million in pretax income, accounting for 95 percent of the company’s total pretax profit” for Fox Corp.
But Fox News also makes for an embarrassment for Murdoch.
Jack Shafer wrote for Politico on February 9, 2017, “The standard rap against Murdoch has always been that he’s a right-wing monster. That’s just not the case. He’s no more a conservative than Trump is. Like Trump, he takes no principled positions that might impede the making of money or the expansion of his empire.
“Short of scruples, Murdoch persistently jostles his way to where power resides to make deals. If that means dumping the Tories and supporting the candidacy of Labour Party candidate Tony Blair, so be it. If that means giving his New York Post’s primary endorsement to President Jimmy Carter three days after applying for a $900 million Export-Import Bank loan, so be it, too. If that means throwing a fundraiser in 2006 for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s re-election effort, hell yes.”
Unlike President Trump, who turned out to be a conservative, Murdoch is embarrassed by his audience. He seems to be poised to used the Dominion lawsuit to purge the network. Radar Online reported that Murdoch’s top three candidates for firing are Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro — all Ailes discoveries given shows decades ago. Bartiromo goes back to his CNBC days.
He is a Dr. Frankenstein who is ashamed of his creation.
But Fox News is not a monster and it really isn’t his creation. Money can buy a lot of things but it cannot change that.