In Vanity Fair this week, there was an illuminating story about Lachlan Murdock – Rupert’s son – and his plans for Fox News Channel.
The younger Murdock has now officially taken the reins at the network after several years of waiting in the wings. And according to the story, the “conservative libertarian” does not much like the network’s prime time support of President Donald Trump. Rumor has it that Lachlan is embarrassed by Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and the other pro-Trump voices on the channel, and that he wants to start moving Fox News in a more palatable direction. The only thing stopping him is the inconvenient fact that a host like Hannity brings in more money for the network than the rest of their programming combined.
Still, this wouldn’t be the first time that ideology trumped profit, and there have been troubling signs at the network over the past week.
First, the network chastised and suspended host Jeanine Pirro for making some common-sense observations about Rep. Ilhan Omar and her orthodox dedication to Islam. Pirro questioned why Omar was so hell-bent on making anti-Semitic statements, and it was her personal opinion that the hijab-wearing congresswoman might be taking her cues from Islam itself. Well, this well-informed, quite reasonable position was just too much for Fox News to bear. They distanced themselves from Pirro’s remarks and put her on a two-week hiatus.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the network then turned around and made an even more baffling, obscene decision: They hired former CNN analyst and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile as their new Democrat-on-the-scene. Viewers were disgusted to see Brazile appear on Hannity’s program this week, scratching their heads as the fiery host played nice with a woman who has dedicated her life to destroying everything conservatives believe in.
“Sean, love you! But having Donna on last night was a big pill to swallow. I couldn’t watch,” tweeted one viewer.
“Not a fan anymore,” said another. “Your interview with DB sunk the battleship.”
We’re not sure we’d go quite that far, but then, people on the internet always have the most extreme position on every topic. The fact remains that Brazile’s hire in tandem with Pirro’s suspension and Lachlan’s takeover could bode poorly for Fox News’s continued viability as a conservative oasis in cable news. Hopefully the red we’re seeing is more herring than flag. But if Lachlan Murdock decides it’s more important to host a Democratic debate than to follow Roger Ailes’ blueprint…well, it’ll be curtains soon enough for Fox News.