Are Fox News and Murdoch world turning on Trump?

For the past several days, there has been significant speculation that Murdoch world is shifting positions as it prepares for a post-Trump world, with people trying to read various tea leaves.

Yes, there are some signs that arms of Murdoch’s empire have taken a more assertive position against the President. But there are other signs that Murdoch is still in Trump’s camp. So let’s run through some of the key developments.

This is the most obvious point: The most visible faces in Murdoch’s media empire, his pro-Trump propagandists, have not taken their foot off the gas. If anything, they’ve chosen to floor it.

Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and other Fox personalities have been parroting Trump’s dishonest rhetoric undermining the integrity of the US democratic process for days now. Friday night was no different.

The rhetoric coming from Fox’s biggest stars is not only irresponsible, it is dangerous. And the Murdochs and Fox executives are the ones green-lighting it, allowing it to happen on their air. If Murdoch has actually flipped on Trump, it sure isn’t coming through in what is arguably the most powerful arm of his media empire…

Fox drops “President-elect” guidance

It’s hard to know what to make of this when reading the Murdoch-tea leaves, but two memos obtained Friday by CNN instructed Fox anchors and other staffers to not call Biden “President-elect” when the network calls the race.

The memos said that Fox should “stay away” from using the description, and instead say something such as Biden has “enough electoral votes to win the presidency.” To justify the unusual positioning, the memos cited moves by Trump’s legal teams to challenge the results. “We will report both sides until there is further guidance,” one of the memos said.

After our reporting, which noted that the guidance could change, Fox denied the memos we had obtained were guidance at all. Anchors soon started referring to Biden as “President-elect” in conversations about hypothetical scenarios…

Fox “news” anchors have been more aggressive, but….

It is true that some of Fox’s anchors who work for the network’s so-called “straight news” division appeared more aggressive Friday pushing back against disinfo from Trump allies. Bret Baier, for instance, repeatedly pressed Newt Gingrich on nonsense he was peddling on Fox’s air.

But it is also true that for every time a Fox anchor pressed a guest, it seemed like another one entertained or amplified bad info. For instance, while Baier pressed Gingrich, Martha MacCallum said she “completely agree[d]” with questions he had about a discredited narrative regarding a vote counting center in Detroit…

Col Allan to retire as NY Post shifts Trump coverage

Count this as a point for those who believe Murdoch is divorcing himself from Trump. A top Murdoch lieutenant, Col Allan, confirmed he will retire next year from the New York Post, NYT’s Katie Robertson scooped Friday.

The move comes as Robertson reported that editors at the Post have told staffers to be tougher in their coverage of Trump, with defeat looming over him.

Since returning to the Post in 2019, Allan has been a key figure inside the tabloid, shaping coverage and moving it in a pro-Trump direction. Last summer, for instance, CNN reported that Allan ordered the removal of a story on a Trump sexual assault allegation. So news of Allan’s departure next year is raising more than a few eyebrows.

WSJ editorial board: Concession is necessary

Here’s yet another sign of Murdoch-world perhaps starting to turn its back on Trump. The WSJ editorial board wrote Friday evening that “whoever wins needs the other to concede to be able to govern.”

The board, which did acknowledge Trump’s right to take legal action if he had evidence of wrongdoing, wrote, “Trump’s legacy will be diminished greatly if his final act is a bitter refusal to accept a legitimate defeat. Republican officials will turn away, and eventually so will the American public that wants to see the election resolved.”