Murdoch calculated expediency with Donald Trump


The symbiotic, mutually beneficial bond between Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and Donald Trump has often been described as a romance or a love fest.

Now that this relationship looks like it could go to divorce court, let’s remember what really matters in any decision to separate: money and power.

And let’s remember what a white doesn’t matter: loyalty.

There is no such thing on either side of this equation. In fact, I would argue that neither side is capable of this.

Murdoch and Trump aligned for mutual benefit. It might be changing.

Trump is, after all, the president, who thinks the mob’s vicious call to hang his forever loyal Vice President Mike Pence on January 6, 2021, was a very reasonable idea.

And he is the same man who mysteriously forgets his close associates as soon as they give him any trouble. After White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson — a frequent presence at his meetings, whose work center was mere steps away from the Oval Office — gave disastrous testimony to the Jan. 6 select committee in June, Trump suffered general amnesia. : “I hardly know who this person is, Cassidy Hutchinson, I’ve heard so many negative things about him (total fake and ‘leaker’)…”

Semper Fidelis, In other words, not really Trump’s strong suit. It is more fitting what famed Chicago columnist Mike Royko suggested as a motto for his city, where public officials often have a hand: In UBI East? ( “where’s mine?)

For Murdoch, cold hard practicality would rule the day. If Trump continues to serve the objectives of the media empire as he has effectively been doing for the past six years—bringing money in the form of ratings and audiences and benefiting Murdoch’s chosen political party—he will remain in favor.

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If not, he will be thrown overboard without regret, at least by the top leadership: Rupert Murdoch and his increasingly important son, Lachlan.

Whether this will actually happen is not entirely clear. The indications are still a bit vague and certainly open to interpretation.

On the one hand, the opinion pages of two Murdoch newspapers – the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post – have recently turned on Trump, both offering scathing editorials that blasted him for his role on January 6, 2021 , especially his complete lack of leadership in dispersing the menacing mob. And, far more important than any newspaper editorial, his most valuable media ally, Fox News, has skipped most of the live coverage of the former president’s speeches and rallies, while not interviewing him for months.

Worse, the man to emerge as his main opponent for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has apparently caught the eye of the cable network.

But there is still a lot of pretentiousness. Just days earlier, the talking heads of “Fox and Friends” – perhaps following Trump’s anger that he had moved to the “dark side” after reporting some unfavorable polling numbers – were once again in their delicatess. But hit the big ego. Brian Kilmeade called him “the greatest golfing president ever”, and Ainsley Earhart backed it up with a laudatory exclamation: “Athletic!”

Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson showed up at Trump’s Saudi-funded golf tournament in Bedminster, NJ over the weekend, and paired it with the former president over anti-Biden chants from the crowd.

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Murdoch, it seems obvious, is waiting to see which way the wind blows.

Yes, they have doubts about Trump as the right horse, but most of all, they want to hang onto the vast base of MAGA voters (and spectators) who haven’t made up their mind about moving forward.

A former Fox News commentator was quoted in a weekend story by my colleagues Sarah Ellison and Jeremy Barr, “Looking loyal to Trump got them money, and the moment it would stop making them money, they would stop doing it.” Will give.” The elder Murdoch may have personally hated, or at least avoided, Trump’s malfeasance, as revealed in the House hearings; That distaste is probably what is showing in the Post and Journal’s editorials.

But we are not there yet. And high ideals will have nothing to do with what happens in the end. Pure practicality will rule the day.

Despite the occasional bickering, Trump would never actually turn on Fox. After all, his social media platform, Truth Social, is no substitute for the constant explosion of support he receives from the country’s most popular cable network and its prime-time stars. And the television options he once mentioned, such as One America News and Newsmax, haven’t worked.

But the soulless motion moves in both directions. If Trump manages to snag the Republican nomination in 2024—far from impossible despite his rising star—Fox will be by his side with fanfare and megaphones at the ready.

Not because of personal affection. Not because of staunch loyalty. But because it would be the best bet to retain what really matters.

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