A Murdoch Succession



No one has had a bigger impact on modern American media and politics than Rupert Murdoch. His most enduring legacy in the U.S. will be Fox News — whose parent company’s board he stepped down from yesterday — and the ethos of fear and contempt that infuses today’s Republican Party.

Murdoch launched Fox News in 1996 to exploit what he saw as an unaddressed need for a conservative TV network. Existing news outlets, he believed, leaned left without acknowledging it. Fox’s reach was initially limited, but as more cable providers began to carry the network, its influence grew. A study in 2007 established what became known as the Fox News Effect: The introduction of the network on a particular cable system typically pushed local voters to the right.

Fox’s power grew in part from the very proposition of cable news. Years before people were glued to their smartphones, they were glued to their TVs. Hour after hour, night after night, Fox hosts shaped the realities of its viewers, fostering a suspicion of Democratic politicians and policies and of the mainstream media. In the process, the network became the only news source that many American conservatives trusted.

Fox also derived its clout from its unique relationship with its audience. Murdoch was a businessman and Fox News was a business, which meant that ratings, above all, drove programming decisions. In this sense, Fox was a nonstop Republican message-testing machine. The goal was always to find what resonated most with Fox viewers — a group that was becoming synonymous with the Republican base — and then double- or triple-down on it.

Murdoch owned media properties on multiple continents, but he took a special interest in Fox News. Its political influence gave him political influence. He didn’t necessarily call in interview questions from the control room, but he oversaw all of the big decisions — like the hirings and firings of hosts and executives — that shaped the network’s direction.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, Fox News provided endless hours of coverage of raucous Tea Party rallies and of the “birther” campaign — a false story claiming that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. — to delegitimize the nation’s first Black president. Both were quintessential Fox: building a populist, right-wing groundswell into a movement that delivered reliably big ratings and stoked the G.O.P. base, creating and feeding an appetite for cultural warfare.

It was that groundswell — and Fox’s amplification of it — that propelled Donald Trump’s political rise. Murdoch and Trump have had an on-and-off relationship. Murdoch initially opposed his 2016 candidacy, but eventually swung Fox behind him and was thrilled to have a president whom he could get on the phone whenever he needed.

During the Trump presidency, Fox became America’s dominant news network. But it also became a kind of prisoner of its own business model, spawning numerous imitators and an ecosystem of right-wing outlets that were seeking to threaten its monopoly over conservative voters. Even as Murdoch privately dismissed Trump’s claims of voter fraud as “really crazy stuff,” his network kept selling the lie. Its support ultimately came at a financial cost: In April, the network agreed to pay nearly $800 million to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over 2020 election coverage.

Though Trump and Murdoch’s relationship is currently off, there is little doubt that Fox will back Trump if he becomes the Republican nominee. Its viewers will demand it.


Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch in Sun Valley, Idaho in 2017.Credit…Tk/Getty Images

On the eve of the 2024 election, Murdoch is turning control over to his eldest son, Lachlan, the winner of the family’s Shakespearean succession fight. Rupert will remain chairman emeritus and will continue to be active behind the scenes.

Each new poll confirming the resilience of Trump’s popularity — despite four indictments and 91 criminal charges — is a testament to Murdoch’s impact. You might call this, too, the Fox News Effect.

  • Lachlan is finally getting the family prize: the keys to his father’s media empire.

  • His path to succession was rocky at times, but Lachlan showed his father in recent years that they were aligned politically.

  • Murdoch built a propaganda machine by giving his people what they wanted. He turned grievance into money and power, James Poniewozik writes.

  • The electorate that Fox helped shape has made this country ungovernable, Michelle Goldberg argues for Times Opinion.

  • House Republican holdouts blocked a military spending bill for the second time this week, rebuking Speaker Kevin McCarthy and risking a government shutdown.

  • The Senate confirmed two more generals to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, circumventing Senator Tommy Tuberville’s blockade. Hundreds of other military promotions remain in limbo.

  • Nearly 500,000 low-income people will keep their health coverage after state officials found they had wrongly removed them from federal programs.

  • Justice Clarence Thomas secretly attended donor events for the Koch network, a political organization, at least twice. Read more about his relationship with the libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch in ProPublica.

  • A rule that allows retirement plans to consider environmental and social issues in investment decisions survived a legal challenge by 26 states.

  • President Biden is framing his re-election campaign around his likeliest opponent: Trump.

  • U.S. diplomats lost, then revived, a deal to free Americans imprisoned in Iran. Here’s the back story.

  • Seven months after entering hospice care, Jimmy Carter is eating peanut-butter ice cream and watching Atlanta Braves games. He will turn 99 on Oct. 1.

  • President Biden’s decision to allow Venezuelan migrants to work temporarily came after demands from Democrats, but it also provided ammunition to Republicans.

  • Arrivals from South America are also straining Mexico’s immigration system, overwhelming shelters and aid agencies.


President Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
  • Volodymyr Zelensky met with Biden at the White House, receiving a promise of further tanks and weapons.

  • “If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war”: Zelensky also appealed to members of Congress. Some Republicans have grown skeptical of giving more aid to Ukraine.

  • This August was earth’s hottest on record. June and July also broke records.

  • Federal agencies should take planet-warming emissions into account when buying vehicles and equipment, the Biden administration directed.

  • Sea-ice coverage in the Arctic shrinks in mid-September. These photos show what its like to study climate change during the melt.

  • A real estate crisis in China has triggered alarms over the country’s shadow banks, risking panic.

  • Britain signaled its approval of Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which it initially tried to block.

  • In a clash between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russia is a distracted spectator in its former Soviet dominion, Andrew Higgins writes.

  • “We have no other place to go”: See photos of survivors of Libya’s floods in temporary accommodation from The Wall Street Journal.

  • India passed legislation to reserve one-third of seats for women in the lower house of Parliament and in state legislatures.

  • A storm system is heading for the East Coast. Tropical storm warnings were in effect from the Carolinas to Delaware.

  • Days after a 1-year-old died at a day care, investigators uncovered a trap door that was hiding fentanyl under a play area.

  • A bus carrying a high-school marching band from Long Island crashed, killing two people and injuring dozens.

Celebrities who receive public backlash should learn how to apologize: acknowledge harm, promise not to repeat it and take action, Elizabeth Spiers writes.

If countries prioritize gender equality, peace and economic success can follow, Lyric Thompson writes.

Here are columns by David Brooks on Elon Musk’s ambition and Paul Krugman on a government shutdown.


A native lawn.Credit…F. Robert Wesley

Unconventional lawn: Cornell is testing sustainable — and beautiful — options to replace your grass.

Dietary rules: Can meat from a lab be kosher or halal?

Modern Love: She was 45, he was turning 80.

Lives Lived: Marvin Newman was a renowned photographer who brought a quirky, artistic eye when capturing moments on the street, and a unique perspective when shooting athletes like Muhammad Ali and Mickey Mantle. He died at 95.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art.Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Art history: Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas met in the early 1860s, while on separate trips to the Louvre. The two remained close friends (and occasional rivals) throughout their lives. A new show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, titled “Manet/Degas,” explores how the artists drove one another to evolve, and together pushed their mediums into a modern era. “It’s about as good as exhibitions get,” the Times critic Holland Cotter writes. It opens Sunday.

For more: Take a close look at Manet’s “Olympia,” the most scandalous painting of the 19th century and the centerpiece of the Met’s exhibition.

  • A Beyoncé fan missed her show in Seattle after an airline said it could not accommodate his electric wheelchair. The BeyHive worked to get him to another.

  • Efforts to ban books from public libraries have spiked. Most of the challenged books are by or about people of color or L.G.B.T.Q. people.


Credit…Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.



About the author: Admin Verified Member Verified Professional Verified Black Owned
We created this site to help Black-Owned Businesses in the USA.

Get involved!

Get Connected!
Join our Community and Expand your audience and get to know New Black-Owned-Business!


No comments yet