Immediately following the midterm election last week, Rupert Murdoch turned on Donald Trump. Reportedly, the two men have been at odds for a few years now, and Murdoch had his doubts about Trump’s reelection in 2020 too. What we saw last week was a wall-to-wall denouncement in Murdoch’s media empire. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post both ran significantly anti-Trump stories and Fox News has begun phasing out their sycophantic Trump coverage. Fox News and WSJ are leaning heavily into hyping Ron DeSantis, an actual Florida swamp monster who is a lot like Trump, only younger and sleazier (if that’s possible). In case you needed all of that underlined, here’s a handy piece on Rupert’s machinations behind the scenes.
Rupert Murdoch has reportedly warned Donald Trump his media empire will not back any attempt to return to the White House, as former supporters turn to the youthful Florida governor Ron DeSantis. After the Republican party’s disappointing performance in the US midterm elections, in particular the poor showing by candidates backed by Trump, Murdoch’s rightwing media empire appears to be seeking a clean break from the former president’s damaged reputation and perceived waning political power.
Last week, Murdoch’s influential media empire, including right-leaning Fox News, his flagship paper the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post, each rounded on Trump, calling him a loser and a flop responsible for dragging the Republicans into “one political fiasco after another”.
“We have been clear with Donald. There have been conversations between them during which Rupert made it clear to Donald that we cannot back another run for the White House,” a senior News Corp source told the i newspaper.
Trump has accused Murdoch of going “all in” to support DeSantis, 44, whom he has called an “average Republican governor” and has nicknamed “Ron DeSanctimonious”.
Lachlan Murdoch, the heir apparent and eldest son, who co-chairs News Corp and runs the parent company of Fox News, has reportedly told DeSantis that the group would back him if he ran in the next election. “Lachlan has been keen on Ron for some time,” said the i’s source. “He’s viewed within the organisation as a sanitised version of Donald.”
DeSantis, who has been called “DeFuture” by the New York Post and “the new Republican party leader” in a Fox News column, has not declared whether he intends to compete to be the party’s 2024 presidential candidate.
It really is like Succession, right? Rupert and his sons just sit in a room and pick the next Republican presidential candidate. There was that interesting moment in Bombshell where Fox News – and the Murdochs – encouraged Megyn Kelly to go after Trump in the primary debate, then Fox News refused to back her as Trump began attacking Kelly relentlessly, and they basically forced her to “make nice” with Trump. Something similar will happen again if DeSantis f–ks up or MAGAts suddenly get agitated about Trump again. Murdoch isn’t some paragon of integrity, he prefers to back the “winner” regardless of whether that guy is a rapist, a traitor, a thief, an insurrectionist, etc.
There’s also a very good chance that Trump – who is like a wounded animal, lashing out at everyone – decides to turn the full extent of his ire on the Murdochs. Is Trump powerful enough to take down the Murdochs? It would be fascinating to watch him try.
Update: Here’s how the Post covered Trump’s announcement last night. Page 26!! Ouch.
NY Post: Florida Man Makes Announcement —> story deep inside on page 26. pic.twitter.com/rccr3OcD1P
— Christine Romans (@ChristineRomans) November 16, 2022
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, cover courtesy of the NY Post.