What’s the most expensive tweet in Twitter history? I nominate Kathryn Murdoch’s post-election tweet, “We did it!”
Murdoch is the wife of former Fox News Corporation director James Murdoch. Her tweet referred to her assessment that former Vice President Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in the still-contested 2020 presidential election. After Kathryn Murdoch’s tweet, shares of FoxCorp tumbled from $27.40 to a low of $24.98 in just two days. While the share price recovered, it dropped another 6 percent when the president retweeted his support for rival networks Newsmax and OANN.
Since marrying into the family that started Fox News, she has taken it upon herself to undermine the most prominent dissenting cable news network. There’s no shortage of outlets serving up the sanctimonious agitprop passing as news these days. One can flip through mainstream media news and watch anchors finish each other’s sentences with the scripted indoctrination that’s daily distributed to the marionette media. But propaganda doesn’t work so well if viewers can seek alternative sources of information. Silencing or subverting Fox News was always about darkening viewers’ windows to the outside world.
Kathryn Murdoch, like so many self-important, privileged, rich women, considers herself appointed by history to save the world from Donald Trump. She’s surrounded by people who praise her insight and selflessness. Nobody corrects her analysis. Nobody acquaints her with hard historical facts. She’s not the only one. James Murdoch, the founder’s son, reportedly wants to distance himself from the conservative outlets that helped make him rich. Lachlan Murdoch likewise reportedly expresses disdain for the president.
Fox’s drift away from the role of counterweight to corporate media is in line with Kathryn Mudoch’s goal of combating partisanship to achieve her desired climate-change policies. According to a 2019 New York Times puff piece, Murdoch is spending her family money to remove obstacles to her agenda, including, “initiatives to restrict gerrymandering and increase access to voting through proposals like automatic registration, as well as open primaries, in which voters do not need to declare their party affiliation.” Ending partisanship, of course, is just another term for ending dissent.
Viewers have noticed a gradual shift in the editorial philosophy of Fox News. Instead of providing a counterbalance to the uniformly agenda-driven left-leaning coverage of American news, agitators from within Fox have sought to water down Fox’s oppositional coverage. Fox preelection polls were indistinguishable from the rest of corporate media’s suppression polls. Fox’s news division frequently regurgitates the same stories using the same vocabulary and the same angles as its corporate sisters. That’s not, “fair and balanced.” That’s simply lazy imitation.
The corruption of Fox News triggers flashbacks to the fall of the former dissident website Drudge Report, which went full NeverTrump years ago. The Drudge Report initially achieved recognition when it covered the Clinton-Lewinsky affair in defiance of an unsuccessful effort by legacy media to suppress the story. Now the Drudge Report sings in perfect harmony with former rivals whose hegemony it once disrupted.
Fox News has the advantage of market share and established positions on most cable offerings. In a way, its subversion reminds one of the temptations facing Supreme Court justices appointed by conservatives. Rather than execute their assigned duties according to neutral criteria, the corrupting influence of power convinces the malleable ego of a duty to use that power for a “greater good” that seems so obvious from inside the bubble.
Confident of their utopian vision, our self-anointed aristocracy works tirelessly to replicate and spread the kind of unrestrained social engineering that led to the squalor and misery now infecting places like California where one party rule is more or less a fait accompli. When Kathryn Murdoch tweeted, “We did it!” she applauded an election tainted by censorship and media collusion.
Fox News arrogantly believes its business model to be bulletproof. “We love competition,” CEO Lachlan Murdoch said during a quarterly earnings call with investors. True, Fox has crushed its echo-chamber media “competitors” by offering dissenting viewpoints and its revenue continues to gush in. “Tens of millions of Americans around the country will turn to Fox to follow our coverage of the presidential election . . . They do this because they trust us,” Murdoch recently said of the company’s impressive profits.
But this trust may have been shaken. As noted by TrendingPolitics.com, “Special Report” host Bret Baier recently deleted a tweet that became a lightning rod for election coverage backlash. The coverage was shoddy and unwatchable. It will be remembered for its premature projection of Arizona long before the close race would be resolved as well as for its projection that Democrats would gain seats in the House.
According to Axios, which admittedly has a spotty record reporting on sources “close” to the president, Trump is now contemplating a new cable channel to exploit Fox’s newly conformist approach.
For now, Fox maintains a stable of conservative superstars led by Tucker Carlson, who frequently scores the highest ratings of any cable news program. But Carlson is reportedly expressing concern over Fox’s corporate conformity.
On November 10, Carlson used his opening monologue to subtly criticize his fellow Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto’s editorial decision to cut off Kayleigh McEnany’s press conference. For many watching the near-total destruction of the American free press, Fox News appears as a poseur using its market share to crowd out truly noncorporate speech. Speaking for myself, Tucker’s show is the whole reason I pay for the service that carries Fox News. If he walks away from Fox, this viewer will follow.