Rupert Murdoch’s plans for his media empire include 'dumping' Donald Trump: journalist

Rupert Murdoch’s plans for his media empire include 'dumping' Donald Trump: journalist
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On November 9, the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post published a cover story headlined “DeFuture,” which celebrated far-right Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ landslide reelection victory and hailed him as the future of the Republican Party. It remains to be seen whether or not DeSantis will run for president in 2024, but Murdoch is obviously hoping that he will.

Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump announced, on November 15, that he plans to seek the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. But the 91-year-old Murdoch, according to The Guardian, is making it clear that he won’t be endorsing the former president as he vies for the Oval Office once again.

The Guardian’s Mark Sweney reports, “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 Gov. Ron DeSantis. After the Republican Party’s disappointing performance in the U.S. midterm elections, in particular the poor showing by candidates backed by Trump, Murdoch’s right-wing media empire appears to be seeking a clean break from the former president’s damaged reputation and perceived waning political power.”

READ MORE: 'Where woke goes to die': Why Florida is now a red state

In an op-ed published by The Daily Beast on November 16, journalist Clive Irving offers some in-depth analysis of Murdoch’s plans for his media empire. And those plans don’t involve Trump.

“Rupert Murdoch is not just dumping Donald Trump,” Irving explains. “He wants back his role as the world’s most feared media mogul. At the age of 91, Murdoch has cast off what he felt were the shackles of a constraining marriage and is in the process of regaining total control of his global media empire, as well as reasserting his political influence in America. This won’t be easy.”

The journalist elaborates, “He has to persuade the stockholders in the two halves of his empire, Fox Corp and News Corp, that they should be merged into one, with him at the top — nearly a decade after they were forced to split up when his British tabloids, part of News Corp, were exposed to the huge legal costs of a phone-hacking scandal.”

Irving stresses that Murdoch’s decision to merge Fox Corp and News Corp has “angered stockholders in both,” albeit “for different reasons.”

READ MORE: Fact checkers rebuff Trump’s claim of stopping a 2018 'steal' for Ron DeSantis

“Many investors in News Corp, which houses Murdoch’s legacy newspaper businesses, don’t want to be associated with Fox News — as one told the Financial Times, ‘Fox News is kind of toxic and should be ringfenced,’” Irving observes. “On the other side, Fox investors fear that their company, which gushes profits, would lose value by being in the same stable as the newspapers, in a struggling sector with far larger costs and that generates far less money. In short, it is hard to find anyone who thinks the merger makes any sense in business terms. Nor, as some have suggested, is it a necessary step to simplify the Murdoch dynastic succession when the mogul does decide to retire — or after his death.”

Claire Enders of the firm Enders Analysis told the Beast that Murdoch’s plan to merge Fox Corp and News Corp underscores his desire to “be back in the thick of things.” But Enders, according to Irving, has also “warned that the terms of the merger were weighted against the interests of Fox shareholders and cautioned that a similar merger of Viacom and CBS left the resulting Paramount Global worth $13 billion less than if the two had remained separate.”

Although Republicans obtained a small majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the 2022 midterms were largely a disappointment for MAGA Republicans. Many Trump-backed candidates lost to Democrats, but one MAGA Republican who performed extremely well was DeSantis. The far-right Florida governor ran a very MAGA campaign yet did so without Trump’s help, and he defeated Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by 19 percent.

As Murdoch sees it, Trump has become a liability for the GOP. In 2016, the Australian media mogul was never crazy about Trump as a presidential candidate. But when Trump won the election, Murdoch and his colleagues at Fox News promoted Trump for the sake of ratings; it was purely a business move. Now, according to Irving, Murdoch views supporting DeSantis as wise from both a political standpoint and a business standpoint.

“The Trump presidency took Fox News to the heights of its fortunes,” Irving notes. “The White House and Fox News were joined at the hip. Murdoch had weekly talks with Trump and Fox News anchors, notably Sean Hannity, served as Trump whisperers. That’s why Murdoch’s dumping on Trump now seems so ruthless.”

READ MORE: 'He needs to go': Pennsylvania Republicans blame Trump for their midterms humiliations

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