Media mogul Rupert Murdoch allegedly thinks Donald Trump will lose in November’s election, telling colleagues the US is “ready for Sleepy Joe” Biden, a new report claims – all the while his paper is publishing leaks on the Bidens.
Murdoch is “disgusted by Trump’s handling of Covid-19,” the Daily Beast claimed on Thursday, in a report suggesting the tabloid tycoon’s personal views are diametrically opposite those espoused by the phalanx of news outlets his News Corporation firm controls.
“After all that has gone on, people are ready for Sleepy Joe,” Murdoch supposedly told an associate recently, using President Trump’s dismissive nickname for his Democratic challenger.
While the 89-year-old Australian is no longer spending his days running the lengthy list of titles that comprise his media empire full-time, the idea that he quietly harbors pro-Biden sympathies while his publications – including the New York Post, Wall Street Journal and, of course, Fox News – appear to be all-in for Trump (with a few small exceptions) is a bit hard to swallow.
The NY Post on Wednesday dropped a major “bombshell” on the Biden campaign, publishing several articles allegedly based on emails extracted from a laptop belonging to the former vice president’s son Hunter. The emails appeared to show Hunter had introduced his father to a high-ranking executive from Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings, where the younger Biden had been given a cushy board position despite no experience with either the energy sector or Ukrainian politics.
The messages supposedly included a thank-you note from the executive for the Biden meet-and-greet, dated less than a year before Biden allegedly pressured Kiev to fire the prosecutor investigating Burisma (and, by extension, his son).
While the Biden campaign denied the candidate had ever met with the Burisma exec, Twitter and Facebook took unprecedented steps to quash the Post’s story, drawing much more attention to its claims than the Post could ever have hoped for on its own. After a Facebook employee with a long history of working for the Democratic Party announced the social media behemoth would be “limiting the spread” of the story pending a critical fact-check, Twitter went a step further, blocking users from sharing the URL of the Post’s story entirely.
The microblogging platform cited a never-before-invoked policy barring the sharing of “hacked materials,” though the emails had supposedly been extracted by a computer repairman paid to fix Hunter Biden’s laptop and terming them “hacked” was quite a stretch. Even mainstream journalists who reposted links to the story in order to critique it were attacked for “promoting disinformation,” accused of aiding and abetting the Trump campaign and – of course – Moscow.
When the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee tried to share the story on their government server to circumvent Twitter’s censorship, the social media giant stepped in to block that link as well. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted on Thursday that his company had erred in exercising such unprecedented censorship.
With one of his flagship US titles neck-deep in an anti-Biden ‘October Surprise,’ Murdoch responded to an email query from the Beast regarding his prediction of a Democratic victory with a “no comment” on Thursday, adding that he had “never called Trump an idiot.” The latter comment presumably was in reference to a 2018 claim by the outlet that the aging mogul had called the president a “f***ing idiot” after a conversation on immigration, citing journalist Michael Wolff’s infamously anti-Trump tome Fire and Fury. Wolff himself later admitted much of his book’s contents were “boldly untrue.”
Murdoch’s reported antipathy toward Trump has been the subject of much speculation over the years. The media magnate was said to be so repulsed by the idea of a Trump presidency that he urged then-Fox News head Roger Ailes to promote literally anyone else – “even Hillary [Clinton],” Trump’s 2016 Democratic rival – according to alleged deathbed confessions by Ailes to the self-confessed fabulist Wolff in 2017.
However, Fox News and the Post have remained much more sympathetic in their coverage of Trump than the average establishment media outlet, and certain pundits and shows – Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and “Fox and Friends” – enjoy privileged access to the president. Even so, the president recently complained on Twitter that Fox allowed “more negative ads [against him] than practically all of the other networks combined,” blaming the demise of Ailes for the network’s supposed leftward creep.
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