Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Politico notes that Rupert Murdoch's media properties -- even the ones that have sometimes criticized President Trump -- are now unified in their demand for an end to Robert Mueller's investigation:
The Wall Street Journal editorial page has in the past been a stern critic of Donald Trump, but in recent days has come under fire for pieces that critics say shift attention away from the president — with many people, including former staffers, left to wonder why.

After having generally avoided Trump’s efforts to de-legitimize democratic institutions, the Journal last week wrote an editorial calling for special counsel Robert Mueller to resign and featured a contributor op-ed Sunday afternoon that said Trump should issue a blanket pardon in the Russian scandal, including of himself.

The Journal has also called for an investigation into Democratic Party collusion with Russia....

On October 28, the [New York] Post also ran an op-ed calling for Mueller’s resignation....
The Journal editorial page has been far to the right for years, but it hasn't always been pro-Trump:
It has often been tough on Trump, including in March, when it scorched him in an editorial titled, “A President’s Credibility.” The editorial called Trump “his own worst political enemy,” and said, “Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.”
Historically, the Journal editorial page has been much more supportive of immigration than the Trump administration is now, from a corporatist/libertarian point of view. In 1984, a Journal op-ed proposed a one-sentence constitutional amendment: "There shall be open borders." In 2008, Jason Riley, an editorial board member, published a book titled Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders.

So there ought to be some limits to the page's Trump partisanship. But these days there don't seem to be any.

Is Rupert Murdoch nudging his editors? Yes, in all likelihood, if only subtly:
... one former senior Wall Street Journal editor ... said it’s difficult to tell exactly how Murdoch exerts his influence over the Journal.

“It’s like mumbled phone conversations with [editor in chief] Gerry Baker or other conversations that you wouldn’t really know about,” he said. “I think he puts his thumb on a lot of things or makes it known that he didn’t like certain stories or that kind of thing. But it was never like, oh this happened because Rupert Murdoch wanted it to or didn’t happen because Rupert Murdoch didn’t want it to.”

Another former Journal staffer said that Murdoch’s influence is often felt in subtle ways. “The thing about Murdoch is that it’s never a situation where Rupert Murdoch comes into the 10 o’clock news meeting and says I want this on the front page. He has his proxies who intuitively understand what he wants,” he said.
Which is odd because, if we're to believe Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman, who's written about Fox News for years, Murdoch doesn't even like or respect Trump. Here's Sherman in a recent interview with Slate's Isaac Chotiner:
And Rupert Murdoch, who privately loathes Donald Trump—I think it’s a little bit of a false narrative that’s been out there in the press that Murdoch and Trump have forged this bromance. I think this is purely a business decision.

You think actually “loathes”? That’s a strong word.

I know from my reporting that people who have been in private settings with Murdoch say that he makes dismissive comments of Trump and tells him to stop tweeting, which is something that Trump will be doing till his last dying breath. Yeah, this is not a close, personal relationship. This is, from my reporting, a business relationship, and Murdoch was smart enough to know that the audience [Roger] Ailes had assembled [at Fox News] are die-hard Trump voters, so it doesn’t make sense really to shift the network ideologically.
So Murdoch, who "loathes" Trump, nudges his editors, some of whom also have contempt for Trump, and the result is that they're urging the president to put America in a state of constitutional crisis.

With Fox, I get it -- Fox's core audience has been primed by twenty years of Fox propaganda to believe that every Republican officeholder is the victim of an evil liberal juggernaut. But you'd think some of the New York Post's readers would be moderate or even liberal, and that many of the Journal's readers would at least prefer a textbook conservative like Mike Pence to Trump. But I guess Murdoch sees his competition now as Breitbart and InfoWars, not CNN and The New York Times, so his media properties have to toe the crazy party line.

Murdoch doesn't care what he's doing to America. When you're as rich and powerful as Murdoch, you assume that nothing bad is going to happen to you, or to others of your elite caste, if the forces you're helping to unleash -- white nationalism, presidential lawlessness -- do serious damage to the country. You'll be fine. If America burns, you'll just decamp to some other pleasant spot on the globe. So you do it anyway, on behalf of a man you consider contemptible, because it's profitable.

No comments: