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06/09/2020 | Rethinking America - Dial ®M® for Murdoch

Alexei Bayer

Fox News, just like Putin, is working hard to give Trump four more years in the White House ó so that he could complete the destruction of the U.S.


It is pretty self-evident why Vladimir Putin would want to hollow out the United States as much as he can. And indeed, in Donald Trump, Putin has got a nifty ex-sleeper agent in place who does his destructive bidding from the White House with great dedication.

Hating what made him rich?

What is much more difficult to figure out is why News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch is so keen on tearing down the United States. To begin with, the United States is the country that made him very rich.

Murdoch moved to New York in 1974, when the city was at an absolute low point, crime-ridden and depressed. The New York Post, the nasty tabloid he purchased, became a loud-mouth carnival barker covering the successive crime waves that ravished the United States’ greatest city.

This approach definitely boosted circulation, but Rupert also seemed to relish the murders and the mayhem for their own sake.

The most famous Post headline, “Headless Body in Topless Bar,” appeared in 1983, during the city’s crack cocaine epidemic, and some people claimed that Murdoch personally wrote it.

The biggest Fox of all

Murdoch still owns The New York Post and the tabloid is as strident as ever, but it is now small potatoes in the News Corp’s portfolio. The real crown jewel is Fox News, a cable news channel favored by the American right and its chief evangelist, Donald J. Trump.

Just as the Post in its heyday, Fox News revels in deploring chaos in America, while at the same time being adamant about greatly contributing to it by stoking whichever fire and promoting whatever conspiracy theory as hard as it can.

It is a vicious cycle and age-old propaganda trick: Fox News stokes its audience’s fears and prejudices — and then shamelessly plays into them. It ties eyeballs to sell ads.

The entire Trump presidency is, in many ways, a creature of Fox News — and therefore ultimately of Murdoch — and it is totally shaped by it.

The Trump/Fox revolving door

Many prominent members of the Trump Administration are people who either worked for Fox or appeared on the network as contributors or commentators.

Larry Kudlow, the head of the National Economic Council, was a Fox News “personality,” and so were K.T. McFarland, former Deputy National Security Adviser, Heather Nauert, whom Trump proposed as Ambassador to the United Nation, and Kayleigh McEnany, the White House Press Secretary.

There is a veritable revolving door between the White House and Fox. Trump advisers who actually manage to leave amicably immediately appear on the network. At least 21 people have gone back and forth between them.

Fox has even made inroads into the Trump family. Kimberly Guilfoyle, an ex-Fox Newser, is not just a Trump campaign adviser but the girlfriend of his son Don, Jr.

Fox as Trump’s “think” tank

Trump himself not only tweets constantly about what he has seen on Fox. Far worse, ideas expressed on Fox can quite easily become U.S. policy.

Fox anchors Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, Tucker Carlson, the Fox and Friends trio and others are effectively Trump cabinet members.

The Murdoch/Putin axis of destruction

And now Fox News, just like Putin, is working hard to give Trump four more years in the White House — so that he could complete the destruction of the United States.

It has raised its game a notch in stoking divisions and spewing hatred: Tucker Carlson, probably the most inflammatory Fox News host, has been shamelessly praising the 17-year old white vigilante who killed two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, WI.

What could be Murdoch’s interest in all that?

It’s the money of course. Destroying America apparently pays. Fox News is the most watched prime time channel, besting handily the two moderates CNN and MSNBC. It adds $2.7 billion annually to the News Corp’s bottom line.

But there must be more than that. Murdoch owns prestigious and influential papers in the UK, but it is unquestionably the United States that made him extremely wealthy, highly influential and world-famous — even allowing him to snare the ultimate trophy wife, six-foot model Jerry Hall who had been Mick Jagger’s girlfriend.


Indications are strong that what rules Murdoch is some kind of self-loathing or a self-destructive streak.

Instead of gratitude, this once upon a time small-time publisher from “down under” (aka Australia) who is now 90 years old cannot suppress his inner Nero.

***Alexei Bayer analyzes international capital markets, political risk and emerging market economies. He particularly focuses on Russia and Eastern Europe.

Mr. Bayer previously served as senior financial markets economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit and worked at Standard & Poor’s, serving as managing editor of CreditWire, an electronic bond rating service.

Born in Russia, Mr. Bayer has contributed to the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Financial Times. He is also a columnist for the independent Russian business newspaper, Vedomosti. His debut novel, Murder at the Dacha, a mystery set in 1960s Moscow, was published in May 2013.

The Globalist (Estados Unidos)


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