“Eternal shame”, “total failure”: Donald Trump is now stabbing even his biggest media fans in the back with unusually sharp words. The former love affair between the conservative media mogul Murdoch and the ex-president suddenly seems to be on the verge of ending.
Until recently, Murdoch’s US newspapers and his TV station Fox News were considered Trump’s most loyal propaganda mouthpiece.
The devastating headlines came as a surprise to Trump-loyal New York Post readers. In disparaging terms, the congressional investigation into the January 6, 2021 violent riots said: “While his supporters stormed the Capitol and called for the hanging of his Vice President, President Donald Trump sat in his private dining room, watching television and doing nothing. For three hours and seven minutes.”
On the contrary, according to the editors of the New York Post in their editorial – Trump’s only goal was to block the peaceful transfer of power. “He didn’t lift a finger to end the violence. For reasons of principle as well as character, Trump has shown himself unworthy to be the leader of this country again.”
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The devastating verdict is all the more remarkable given that the daily newspaper is extremely popular with Trump fans: Even before the last presidential election, people spoke out in favor of Trump and against Joe Biden and described the Democrats as “servile to left-wing socialists”. Basically, the newspaper is one of Murdoch’s most influential media. Founded in 1801, the paper has over 80 million online readers a month today – using a language often reminiscent of Trump’s own rhetoric: simple, often crude – but always unequivocal.
In exactly the same vein, the once-celebrated idol is now being condemned: “To his eternal shame he added fuel to the fire and while horrified advisers implored him to call on his followers to go home, he tweeted ‘Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what he did should have done to protect our country and our Constitution’.”
Donald Trump: The True Story of His Presidency
Murdoch’s reputable paper, the Wall Street Journal, is no less critical: “Trump has betrayed his supporters.” The President swore an oath to protect the Capitol and the Constitution – but: “He refused. He did not call the military for help. Knowing that the mob was armed, he fueled their anger and allowed the riots to run their course. Character emerges in a crisis and Mr. Pence has passed. Mr. Trump has failed utterly.”
“Look ahead. Cancel your daily Trump emails begging for money,” one implores the conservative readers and lists alternative candidates to Trump: Ron DeSantis from Florida, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or former UN ambassador Nikki Haley.
Even Fox News seems to be distancing itself somewhat from Trump. Rather, Murdoch’s most powerful media machine is now increasingly courting his Republican rival – Florida’s governor DeSantis – in interviews.
Political observers suspect Murdoch is tired of Trump’s incessant lies about voter fraud. Because for the dissemination of Trump’s false statements about the 2020 elections, Murdoch himself is now threatened with serious legal consequences and serious financial damage: A judge in Delaware recently cleared the way for a defamation lawsuit by the voting machine manufacturer Dominion against the Fox company. The $1.6 billion lawsuit names 91-year-old Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan.
So far, the relationship between Trump and Murdoch has been considered primarily expedient. The media mogul is said to have called Trump a fraud in 2015. He also asked on Twitter: “When will Trump finally stop embarrassing his friends and the whole country?” But after his election victory, the relationship has strengthened again for mutual benefit, it is said. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were welcome guests on Murdoch’s luxury yacht – and Trump’s favorite daughter was named trustee for the twin daughters of Rupert Murdoch and his ex-wife Wendi Deng.
But now another wind is blowing – for Trump it is much rougher, according to Vanity Fair. A source inside the Murdoch family told the magazine that the media mogul is basically pragmatic: “He’s better than anyone at predicting the political future. It’s evident that quite a few have changed their minds about Trump. Now the battle is getting serious – regardless of the casualties.” Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal already has an anti-Trump slogan: “Make America Sane Again” – Let’s make America sane again.