Five years ago, I made a prediction.
I said that Fox News, as an alternative news source, was hanging on a thread. I explained that, although Fox offered points of view and reporting that so-called “mainstream” news outlets avoided, things would be changing in the future. I offered that only two people, then both in their 80s, were totally responsible for the Fox’s different approach to covering the news and that when they inevitably moved on in the next five years, the “fair and balanced” channel would morph into becoming more like CNN.
That time is now upon us with the imminent retirement of Rupert Murdoch as chief executive officer of 21st Century Fox.
Murdoch is one of the two people setting the course of Fox News. The other is Roger Ailes. And without Murdoch in the driver’s seat, Ailes’ power will certainly be diminished in his remaining time leading Fox News.
Specifically, here’s what I said publicly five years ago: “I have to tell you … this may be a little controversial, but I believe, a lot of people look at Fox News as, you know, their alternative choice for TV. I think Fox has a lot of limitations. I am not particularly excited about it but one thing I do know is, that whatever it is doing well right now, it is not going to continue doing well into the future because it depends on two human beings who are both in their 80s – Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch. They’re not going to be around forever, and when they leave, inertia, that is very familiar to me from my many years in the ‘mainstream’ media, will take Fox News right where CNN is. … The children, the Murdoch children, have said they can’t wait to make Fox News more like CNN. Now why would you want to make the successful Fox News more like the unsuccessful CNN? Because, you get invited to better cocktail parties in Manhattan when you do that – it’s that simple.”
I predicted an implosion of Fox News that would happen quickly after Murdoch and Ailes retired.
Here we are, right on schedule.
Rupert Murdoch’s son, James Murdoch, who resigned from News International – the publisher of several overseas tabloids and newspapers will soon become the new CEO, CNBC reported. The elder Murdoch is reportedly staying on as chairman, while another son, Lachlan, becomes executive co-chairman.
All this is taking place just as the 2016 presidential election gears up. Why is that significant?
James Murdoch gave $2,300 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. He also donated between $1 million and $5 million to the scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation. The elder Murdoch, meanwhile, has donated to both establishment Republican and Democratic campaigns, including those of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Steny Hoyer.
Significantly, James Murdoch has a good relationship with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of Fox’s top shareholders.
“James is a giant,” the prince said in a recent interview.
This is the beginning of the end of Fox News as a meaningful alternative news source.
When Ailes leaves, turn out the lights.
He will be the next canary in the coalmine.
Then watch what happens to Fox personalities who offer points of view and news judgment out of step with the media elite.
It will take time, but the very elements that allowed Fox to rise to the position of cable news ratings king will be stripped from the programming. It won’t happen overnight. It will be a process that develops over the next two or three years.
It’s good news for the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s good news for “progressives” re-establishing a hammerlock of control over TV news. It’s bad news for dissent, debate and for fairness and balance in reporting.
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