Rupert Murdoch made his career by out flanking the establishment. He began consolidating the newspaper industry in Australia, taking over a fledgling paper business from his father. He quickly outmaneuvered the old line Australian newspapers and moved on to the British market, buying the venerable Times broadsheet in the early 80’s. His breaking of the Fleet Street printing unions is still industry cocktail talk, and his transformation of the newspaper market was stunning.
He bought up the Satellite rights for most of Europe and Asia while conventional wisdom still backed cable. The U.S. invasion happened with his acquisition of Twentieth Century Fox, Harper Collins, and ultimately the Wall Street Journal. But it was his launch of a fourth US network (Fox) that really showed his gumption; his flanking maneuvers knew no bounds. Simply put, there wasn’t an establishment he couldn’t out fox.
That is until Donald Trump came on the scene. Rupert Murdoch may have the last laugh with respect to Trump’s antics, but so far the score is clearly in Donald’s favor. It is Murdoch’s business to sell papers, advertising, or eyeballs, but he also likes to do it at the expense of his competitors. Usually ones that have lost touch with their audience or have an inflated sense of self worth. Murdoch has been fantastic at giving the audience what they want, and unfortunately for papers like the New York Times, it’s typically a conservative bent that the masses enjoy.
They certainly do not like to be lectured to. Or do they? Trump has changed the narrative in so many ways that even Rupert and Roger Ailes must be scratching their heads. Rupert doesn’t play the sucker well and won’t be outflanked the same way twice. But that’s why Trump is so good, he is crazy like a fox. I am sure it takes one to know one. It’s great theater but may not be the best way to pick a president. I will make one prediction, if Trump wins the job, Roger Ailes will be losing his. Murdoch does not like losers either.