Rupert Murdoch‘s decision to hand over control of News Corp and Fox to his son Lachlan presents an opportunity to repair the strained relationship between the media empire and former US President Donald Trump. Despite their falling out, Trump remains a ratings winner, making it a logical move for Fox to rebuild ties with him. However, restoring the relationship may prove more challenging than anticipated.
The deteriorating relationship between the Murdochs and Trump led to his decision not to attend Fox’s Republican debates. Yet, his absence did not hinder his chances of securing the nomination. In fact, a J.L. Partners poll showed that 30% of viewers judged Trump to be the winner of the third debate, further highlighting Fox’s reliance on him.
Trump’s connection with Murdoch and his family dates back to the late 1970s and 1980s when he frequently appeared in the Murdoch-owned New York Post’s gossip column. His prominence in the paper propelled him from a New York real estate developer to a celebrity figure. During the 2016 election, Murdoch initially supported Jeb Bush, but as Trump gained momentum, Fox endorsed him, and their relationship became mutually beneficial.
However, there were bumps along the way. Trump demanded the replacement of Fox anchor Megyn Kelly as the host of the second Fox-hosted debate, and when Fox refused, he boycotted the event, claiming it would hurt Fox’s profits. Nevertheless, Fox News remained a crucial mouthpiece for the Trump administration during his presidency, amplifying his achievements and serving as a conduit between him and Republicans.
The relationship began to deteriorate on election night in 2020 when Fox announced Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, which the Trump campaign considered a betrayal. Additionally, Fox’s support of Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories about the election led to a defamation lawsuit settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, further damaging the relationship.
Trump’s animosity towards Murdoch and Fox has escalated to the point where he called them “MAGA Hating Globalist RINOS.” He has also criticized the network for treating him unfairly and released a recorded interview with former Fox star Tucker Carlson, who has expressed his dislike for Trump and claimed he was fired as part of the agreement with Dominion.
Despite Trump’s absence from the debates, his chances of securing the Republican nomination remain strong, according to polling experts. For Fox News, rebuilding bridges with Trump is crucial to maintain its Republican audience’s attention. Additionally, criticism of the debate format suggests that Fox needs to make changes to win the ratings war. With declining viewership without Trump, the network must act swiftly.
However, resetting the Murdoch-Trump relationship may not be easy. Lachlan Murdoch, who now assumes control, reportedly has had issues with Trump’s behavior in the past. Rebuilding ties could be seen as a sign of weakness on Lachlan’s part and potentially strain his relationship with his father.
In conclusion, while there is a business case for Fox to rebuild its relationship with Donald Trump, it may prove challenging given the history of disagreements and strained ties. Nonetheless, Fox News needs to regain Trump’s support to maintain its Republican audience and address declining viewership. The path forward will require careful navigation by the Murdoch family as they navigate the complex dynamics between politics and media.
Original Story at thewire.in – 2023-11-20 00:30:59