Rupert Murdoch has lost control of his Fox News hosts: analysis
Rupert Murdoch (Photo by Jewel Samad for AFP)

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has lost control of his top-rated hosts at a crucial time for his Fox News network which has seen its credibility torn asunder by revelations they pushed 2020 election conspiracy lies while privately acknowledging they knew better.

In a column for Bloomberg, Erick Larson and Gerry Smith wrote that not only has Murdoch's influence diminished with keeping his employees in line, but his flagship network may not be much of a player when the 2024 presidential election comes around.

With the network facing an uphill battle as it tries to fend off a $1.6 billion defamation suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems, the executive chairman of News Corp is at what the Bloomberg report calls a "crossroads."

"Back in 2021, Fox Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch was described by President Joe Biden as the 'the most dangerous man in the world,' such was the raw power his cable news network had in shaping public opinion." they wrote. "Flash forward to now, where a more diminished figure emerges from court filings revealed this week as part of a $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox by Dominion Voting Systems Inc., one forced into an uncomfortable admission: He could have stopped the promotion of the false idea that the 2020 election was rigged against Donald Trump, but feared the network would lose loyal viewers and irritate the then-president."

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As the authors note, there is now a cloud hanging over Fox as the 2024 presidential election ramps up.

"Just how influential Murdoch remains, whether he still has the ability make or break political careers, looms large in Republican circles ahead of what portends to be a contentious 2024 presidential primary race," they wrote before adding that his problems are complicated by his desire to maintain high-ratings and his reluctance to corral his more popular personalities who are responsible for them.

"The lawsuit not only put Murdoch’s media empire under scrutiny, but also reveals that he doesn’t have complete control of some his most high-profile on-air commentators who remain loyal to Trump," they suggested before adding, "The network is unlikely to change its programming formula."

According to Jon Klein, former president of CNN, "Their basic outlook on the world will not change. It’s core to their business model to say anything, do anything, allow anything so long as they’re not outflanked by the even crazier outlets to their right like OAN.”

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