Thursday, September 21, 2023

Last Call For Logan Roy Takes A Victory Lap

Having all but destroyed the American political media landscape, FOX Corp. and News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch is stepping down to bask in his dark brilliance.
Rupert Murdoch, the Australian press baron who reshaped conservative media in his image, plans to step down as chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp.

He will become chairman emeritus of the two corporations, Fox Corp. announced in a news release. His older son, Lachlan Murdoch, will become the sole chairman of both the firms.

"For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change. But the time is right for me to take on different roles," Murdoch, 92, said in a six-paragraph message to employees Thursday.

"In my new role, I can guarantee you that I will be involved every day in the contest of ideas," he wrote.

Fox Corp. said in its news release that Murdoch will formally resign at a shareholder meeting in November.

The mogul's resignation marks the end of one of the most storied careers in modern media. Murdoch built a small Australian newspaper business into a sprawling corporate empire that, at its height, included a movie studio, a television network and a roster of cable channels.

The media titan's most lasting legacy will almost certainly be Fox News, the 24/7 network he founded in 1996 as a competitor to CNN. The channel cultivated a devoted audience in the decades to come, establishing itself as a pillar of the modern conservative movement.

In recent years, Fox News opinion hosts have drawn intense criticism for pushing conspiracy theories and falsehoods, including airing baseless claims of voter fraud after then-President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden.

Fox Corp. and Fox News were sued over those false allegations, most notably by Dominion Voting Systems, which settled with the companies for a staggering $787.5 million in April, averting what had promised to be a high-stakes trial.

The media magnate looms large in popular consciousness. In the eyes of many progressives and Democratic voters, Fox News is a scourge, while many Republicans regard Murdoch as a folk hero. The Murdoch family's private dramas helped inspire the HBO series "Succession."

Murdoch's departure comes at a pivotal time for the conservative media ecosystem. Fox News remains the market leader in right-wing news, but the channel faces competition from brands such as Newsmax, One America News Network and The Daily Wire.

It remains to be seen whether Fox News opinion hosts under the new corporate regime will continue to bind themselves to Trump, who leads the Republican presidential primary race by wide margins.
It doesn't matter how much of the day-to-day decisions at FOX or News Corp. that dark lord emeritus here handles in the next year or so, if Trump wins, Murdoch gets as much credit as anyone for ending America's 250-year experiment in democracy.

He's one of history's greatest villains. Well, at least in the 21st century he is.

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