Rupert Murdoch’s resignation – Rupert Murdoch abandons ship as it approaches stormy waters
Rupert Murdoch’s resignation comes with unparalleled instability at his beleaguered Fox News business, raising several concerns about the network’s future as the country’s most popular right-wing outlet.
According to exclusive reporting by the Guardian, Murdoch anticipated that a defamation case with Dominion Voting Systems over false information about the 2020 election would cost Fox News $50 million.
The media magnate reportedly became “frothing at the mouth” in rage at Donald Trump, whose conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 election Fox personalities continually fanned, and it was resolved for a staggering $797.5m.
Murdoch frequently expressed his desire for the late president’s demise, according to Michael Wolff, the author of the recently released book The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty.
Now that other, potentially more expensive cases are still pending, including a $2.7 billion damages claim from Smartmatic, another voting system manufacturer vilified by Fox’s on-air talent like Dominion, Murdoch is taking the high road.
In addition to the monetary cost of Fox News’ commitment to the Trump world, the news outlet’s loss of much of its status and glitter in conservative circles will have hurt the billionaire considerably more.
The network has been embroiled in several scandals, none more so than the abrupt and well-reported resignation in April of the well-liked personality Tucker Carlson, a right-wing extremist and former Republican power broker.
A claim made by Fox’s formerly most popular anchor that Murdoch sacked him as part of the Dominion settlement has been refuted by both Fox and Dominion. However, Carlson’s continued criticism of his former employer would seem to be additional proof of unrest within the company.
After Carlson’s departure, Fox’s ratings immediately dropped, with viewership in his 8 p.m. primetime slot declining by about 50% over the two weeks. However, they have since begun to partially recover thanks to increases in viewership for Jesse Watters, who took over for Carlson, and Laura Ingraham, who hosts the hour before him.
Before Carlson was fired in March, CNN claimed that Fox employees were “shocked and disgusted” by being kept in the dark about events at Dominion and that they were expected to report to work as usual.
However, hosts like Carlson, Sean Hannity, and others kept airing their right-wing talking points. According to court documents in the Dominion case, Fox presenters were aware that the allegations of rigged voting machines and the broader falsehood of a stolen election were false. Still, network executives, including
Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, the CEO of Fox Corp., were afraid of alienating their pro-Trump audience.
At the time, Oliver Darcy, a senior media writer for CNN, stated that the messages “revealed that some of the channel’s most high-profile messengers were effectively paid actors playing the part to juice the network’s ratings.” And they have made it abundantly evident that the network is not a journalistic organization.
Also in April, a Washington Post investigation questioned Fox’s claims to be the country’s most reputable news organization.
It did so by pointing out that while Fox was the only “mainstream” platform for viewers on the right, Democratic viewers were dispersed among various left-leaning networks.
A 2022 Trust in Media survey found that Americans generally trusted Fox News less than other outlets, including CNN and even OAN (One America News), a far-right, pro-Trump extremist cable network dropped by significant carriers for spreading lies and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, the Covid-19 pandemic, and other issues.
The extent to which Fox will change direction following Rupert Murdoch’s resignation remains uncertain. Lachlan Murdoch, aged 52, was already the executive chair and chief executive of the Fox Corporation and will now succeed his father as the chair of News Corp, the print media arm of the Murdoch empire.
One of his initial priorities will be assessing how Fox handles Trump’s continued popularity, as Trump remains the frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination in 2024, despite facing 91 charges in four separate indictments related to the 2020 election, illegal retention of classified documents, and payment to an adult movie star.
Fox, which strongly supported Trump before and during his single term in office, seemed to distance itself from him amid the Dominion lawsuit and refused to have him on the network after he announced his re-election bid in November.
Instead, Republican challengers like Florida’s right-wing governor Ron DeSantis and, initially, Vice President Mike Pence, were given significant airtime while Murdoch grew less favourable towards Trump.
However, with DeSantis’s campaign faltering and Pence polling in single digits alongside other candidates in the crowded primary field, far below the frontrunner, Fox must decide how much it will try to repair the relationship with Trump and reconsider the extent and nature of its coverage of him.
Ignoring him is no longer an option. In his resignation message to employees, Murdoch insisted that the companies he leaves behind, including Fox.
Without any sense of irony, Murdoch claimed that “most of the media” is focused on “promoting political narratives rather than pursuing the truth.” With the Trump dilemma unresolved and the pending Smartmatic lawsuit hanging over them, Murdoch appears to be abandoning ship just as the network heads into particularly turbulent waters.
As Fox often declares in its marketing messaging, America is watching. Tone Analysis: The tone of the text is informative and analytical. It provides an overview of the current state of Fox News following Rupert Murdoch’s resignation. It examines the potential challenges and decisions the network may face regarding its coverage of Trump.
The analysis highlights the contradictions in Murdoch’s resignation message and suggests a sense of uncertainty for Fox News as it navigates a changing political landscape.
The tone remains objective throughout. Changes Made: Corrected spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Removed unnecessary words and phrases to improve conciseness.