Rupert Murdoch, the acting CEO of the Fox News Channel, and the executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, wanted Fox News to tilt the presidential election presumably through its coverage to anyone but eventual winner Donald Trump.
This revelation allegedly emerged in a conversation between the late Roger Ailes and longtime media journalist Michael Wolff. The writer says he and Ailes spoke on a regular basis after he was forced out of the network that he created.
Ailes, the CEO and founder of Fox News, exited FNC a year ago today amidst sexual harassment allegations, which he denied. Ailes died in May from complications from a head injury after a fall about a week prior. He also suffered from the blood disorder hemophilia.
There has been much speculation that the Murdoch sons, who are on the ascendancy, pushed out Ailes (and star Bill O’Reilly last April) because they wanted to move the network in a more liberal direction than had been the case under Ailes and their more conservative dad, who is now 86.
There has also been conjecture that the Murdochs wanted to tamp down any controversy at Fox News as they continue to seek British regulatory approval to become the sole owners of Sky News in the U.K.
According to what Ailes supposedly told Wolff, Rupert Murdoch allegedly was part of the Never Trump contingent, as he explained in a column for the Hollywood Reporter.
“It was Ailes’ tacit support of Trump that, in part, made his removal from Fox all the more urgent for the Murdochs. And it was not just the liberal sons who were agitated by Ailes’ regard for Trump, but also the father, whose tabloid, the New York Post, helped create Trump, but who found him now, with great snobbery, not of ‘our’ conservative class. (‘When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?’ Murdoch senior tweeted the day after Trump officially declared himself a candidate.) Murdoch instructed Ailes to tilt to anyone but Trump, Ailes confided to me before he was fired, even Hillary. (Ailes, for his part, characterized Murdoch’s periodic efforts at interference as similar to Nixon’s instructions to bomb this or that country — best ignored.)”
After the election, Murdoch, who also holds the title of executive chairman of Fox News parent News Corp, found himself in a pickle where he had to seek out Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who were friends of his ex-wife, as go-betweens to repair things with Trump, according to Wolff.
Donald Trump was a Democrat and independent before running for president on the GOP ticket with a more populist, nationalist agenda than a traditional Republican. In implementing that agenda, the president still faces opposition from members of both political parties as well as from some major media outlets, which includes his ongoing feud with CNN, which he has characterized as “very fake news.”
Contrary to some perceptions, Trump coverage on Fox News is and was a mixed bag. While prime-time bookend programs on Fox News anchored by O’Reilly and Sean Hannity were generally pro Trump, The Kelly File hosted by Megyn Kelly (who since jumped to NBC News) featured a lot of anti-Trump content during the 2016 election season.
Traditionally a ratings powerhouse, Fox News has lost market share since the shakeup in its nightly programming schedule after O’Reilly’s ouster. Tucker Carlson now occupies the prestigious 8 p.m. Eastern time platform formerly the home of The O’Reilly Factor, while The Five replaced Megyn Kelly at 9 p.m.
In the meantime, there has been buzz that a new right-leaning TV network could emerge soon.
Roger Ailes had plans to get back into the news business in some capacity around the time he passed away, Michael Wolff added.
[Featured Image by Noah Berger/AP Images]