Rupert Murdoch gets a hammering in a new article by a Rolling Stone writer. Nothing too unusual about that. But Matt Taibbi’s colourful piece is well worth reading.
Then Taibbi gets into more entertaining stuff about the relationship between Donald Trump and Fox News.
Once the channel’s favourite, he argues that Trump “is fast becoming the network’s arch enemy... a traitor” for denouncing Fox “as a false conservative god.” He writes:
“The orangutoid real estate mogul’s presence in this presidential race is a real and hilarious threat to Murdoch’s political influence...
Until Trump arrived, Murdoch owned the lowest common denominator in the media space. He didn’t just play to our worst instincts, he wrapped both arms around them and squeezed as hard as he could...
Murdoch sold political coverage that could be digested directly by the stomach, bypassing the mind. He fed viewers a steady diet of southern strategy bromides about minorities and foreigners and queers and feminists and Sean Penn, all working together to steal the minivan out of Middle America’s driveway.
From a production standpoint, this coverage strategy is a beautifully utilitarian thing. The stuff writes itself... You win by picking five to six news stories each week that fit the narrative, and just hammering the hell out of them...
Murdoch’s genius is that he always found ways to hit new lows without hitting absolute bottom.”
Then The Don came along, and - pun alert - he is set on trumping Murdoch. And the clash between right-wing ideologues seeking to be top dog with America’s conservative audiences presents Fox News with a problem. “He’s pitching voters on the idea that Rupert’s news network is a sellout establishment plant,” writes Taibbi.
Matters came to a head when Trump clashed with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly who questioned him about his apparent misogyny during the Republican candidates’ debate in August.
Then, according to a report in New York magazine , Trump was called by Fox News chairman Roger Ailes to assure him that the channel would cover him “fairly” in future. Why? Because of concern that Trump’s views were more popular than those of Fox News.
“Fox was deluged with pro-Trump emails”, said the report while Megyn Kelly got the thumbs down. It cited a Fox source who said: “Roger was not happy. Most of the Fox viewers were taking Trump’s side.”
Taibbi is scathing about how that problem is perceived by Ailes and Murdoch who, he remarks, have “spent a generation building an audience of morons”. He adds:
“Their business model depends on morons; morons are the raw materials of their industry... The problem with morons is that you... have to keep upping the ante to make it work.
Trump is doing his best, but he’s going to places now that make even Rupert Murdoch nervous. Meanwhile the ‘respectable’ candidate is Fox’s own Ben Carson, a man who continues to be living proof that you don’t need to have a brain in order to operate on one.”
Taibbi argues that Murdoch senses his “beloved audience of idiots” are drifting away and “beginning to suspect the truth about him, i.e. that he isn’t really one of them.
“Murdoch could go lower to prove his devotion, but that next step down is Trump. If he balks at that, he might lose his audience. Beautiful.”
Source: Rolling Stone