Rupert Murdoch’s departure as chairman of Fox Corp and News Corp has raised the possibility of repairing the strained relationship between former President Donald Trump and Fox News, just as the 2024 election season gains momentum, according to a former Trump adviser and Republican strategists.
The once-mutually beneficial alliance between Trump and Fox News soured in the aftermath of the 2020 election, primarily due to the network’s election coverage and its association with the January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill riot involving Trump supporters, which resulted in casualties and numerous injuries.
Fox News faced significant consequences, as they chose in April to settle a defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for an astounding $787.5 million over their role in amplifying Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud—a settlement regarded as the largest ever for an American media company.
With Rupert Murdoch’s son, Lachlan Murdoch, set to take over as the sole chairman of News Corp while also continuing as the chair and CEO of Fox, questions have emerged regarding how Fox News’ political coverage will evolve in the lead-up to the 2024 Republican primaries and presidential election.
Fox News remains the top U.S. cable news network, wielding substantial influence in American politics, particularly among Republicans who appreciate its conservative-leaning audience.
However, critics argue that it has contributed to the polarization of U.S. politics.
Donald Trump is currently the overwhelming frontrunner for the Republican nomination, setting the stage for a potential face-off with President Biden in November 2024.
Republican strategist Ron Bonjean sees Lachlan Murdoch’s appointment as an opportunity for a reset between President Trump and Fox News.
The key question is whether Lachlan Murdoch aims to cultivate a positive relationship with Trump or observe how events unfold.
As of now, Fox News has not commented on its political coverage under Lachlan Murdoch’s leadership.
While Trump occasionally appears on the network, any official response to Rupert Murdoch’s departure is expected to come directly from Trump himself via his Truth Social media platform.
Advisers like Jason Osborne, who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign, hope that Lachlan Murdoch and other Fox executives will prioritize Trump’s coverage, aiming to regain the viewership they lost, which tends to lean more towards Trump. The path to recovery for Fox, it seems, lies in re-engaging these viewers.
However, it remains uncertain whether Fox News will return to the level of support it provided Trump during his successful 2016 campaign, considering its more critical stance after the 2020 election.
Analysts believe that Lachlan Murdoch may exercise caution in covering Trump due to the substantial financial cost incurred during the Dominion lawsuit.
Nonetheless, opinions on whether Fox News will fundamentally change its approach to Trump vary, with some doubting any significant shift in the network’s coverage.