I’m out of the print TIME magazine for a couple of weeks, owing to a long-term project, but even if I were in it, anything I could muster would be dwarfed by Eric Pooley’s massive profile of Rupert Murdoch, so I thought I’d link to it in case anyone wants to comment.
The profile obviously focuses on News Corp.’s attempt to buy the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones, but there is a pretty interesting TV nugget with regard to Fox News:
I toss out a theory: Fox News is one big reason Murdoch’s critics are so incensed by the idea of his controlling the Journal. “Oh, yes!” he cries. So is Fox News an expression of his political views? “Yes! No! Yes and no. The commentators are not. Bill O’Reilly certainly not. Geraldo Rivera certainly not. But Brit Hume and his team on the nightly news? Yes. They play it absolutely straight!”
Murdoch isn’t a party-line guy. He’s a pragmatist. He likes strong politicians and change agents and winners; in recent years he has supported moderates like Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton. But he has a stubborn populist streak, and his populism finds an outlet on Fox News, a channel that gives voice to angry middle-aged white guys. “CNN is pretty consistently on the left, if you look at their choice of stories, what they play up. It’s not what they say. It’s what they highlight.” (CNN, which is also owned by Time Warner, hotly disputes this charge.) Then he mumbles conspiratorially, “And if you look at our general news, do we put on things which favor the right rather than the left? I don’t know.” Has Murdoch just said what I think he said? Has he flirted with an admission that Fox News skews right? If so, he quickly backs away. “We don’t think we do. We’ve always insisted we don’t. I don’t think we do. Aw, it’s subjective. Neither side admits it.”
Run the tape for a minute or so more, though, and it seems like he just might.