Monday, November 10, 2008

Even Murdoch Gets The Blues

Interestingly absent from Obama's presser on Friday was the gravitas (averted gaze) of Fox News. They weren't physically AWOL, mind you, they just didn't get called upon. It's a detail that for the most part flew under the radar, but it's fairly piercing. It will be intriguing to see how the conservative network will adjust to a Democratic Party holding the White House and a majority of Congress. In the immediate days after the election, the likes of Major Garrett, Britt Hume, and Chris Wallace backpedaled and miraculously softened their stance on Obama, praising him with accolades and various marks of acknowledgment for everything from his campaign, to his community-organizing past (gasp, Rudy!), to his power of uniting and inspiring people at the national and international levels.

Michael Wolff, a Vanity Fair columnist who is writing an authorized biography on Rupert Murdoch's career and family, claims that even Murdoch is embarrassed by Fox News. In spite of objections from Mr. Murdoch (naturally, one must save face publicly), Wolff describes great strain in the relations between Mr. Murdoch and two of his top executives---CEO Roger Ailes and Peter Chernin, president of News Corporation. Wolff fired back at Murdoch's camp---which had obtained an early draft of the book, despite much hush-hush on the manuscript: "I’m obviously annoyed that they’re looking at an early version of the book, and a purloined one at that. In essence News Corp. is holding stolen goods.”

The story from the New York Times continues: "The objections raised on behalf of Mr. Murdoch came after an article on Mr. Murdoch and the book was published in Vanity Fair in the October issue in which Mr. Wolff wrote that Mr. Murdoch was making friends with liberals and that he had soured on Fox News and Mr. Ailes.

“For a long time, he was in love with the Fox chief, Roger Ailes, because he was even more Murdoch than Murdoch,” Mr. Wolff wrote in the October Vanity Fair piece. “And yet now the embarrassment can’t be missed — he mumbles even more than usual when called on to justify it; he barely pretends to hide the way he feels about Bill O’Reilly.”

The question that has many in the media scratching their heads is why Mr. Murdoch agreed to give such open access to himself and his family. “It’s a big question,” said David Drake, the book’s publicist at Doubleday. “It will always remain a mystery.”

But while we may rejoice at the metaphorical wheels coming off Fox News' wagon, let us not forget what Mr. Murdoch truly is: a risk-taking entrepreneur, media mogul, and---in effect---a corporation. He understands that on 5 November, 2008 the environment changed and the rules were re-written. If he wants to continue to rake in the profits, his coverage needs to change. If he keeps Fox on its current track, the network will become marginalized and its shareholders will lose money. It's quite simple and analogous to the T. Boone Pickens endorsement of green energy. Men like these know very well the power of "green." In the end, it is truly the only thing that interests them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

news corporations make me crazy. as do corporations in general.

i still can't get this clip out of my head:

The Corporation: Unsettling Accounts

whatever brings in ratings...whatever brings in advertising dollars. forget about the human beings.