Next week, noted US author Michael Wolff’s book about Fox News and Rupert Murdoch’s dynasty will be released, giving people a behind-the-scenes look at the network, plus some salacious allegations.
The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty promises to be an insider’s look into Murdoch’s empire and offers bold predictions for the future.
This is Wolff’s second book about Murdoch. The first was The Man Who Owns the News.
“I have been telling the story of the great power of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News for many years,” Wolff said in a statement.
“This power is now reaching a natural end and The Fall brings the story to its closing act.”
Before the release, some publications obtained copies of the book, and subsequent write-ups have provided a taste of what is to come.
Murdoch and Trump
Murdoch’s media empire was particularly kind to Donald Trump throughout his presidency.
But Wolff hasn’t been as kind to Trump, having written three books about his time in the White House.
In The Fall, Wolff details how Murdoch has flipped to despise Trump.
“Of all Trump’s implacable enemies, Murdoch had become a frothing-at-the-mouth one,” Wolff writes in his book, according to The Independent.
“His relatively calm demeanour from the early Trump presidency where, with a sigh, he could dismiss him merely as a ‘f—ing idiot’ had now become a churning stew of rage and recrimination.
“Trump’s death became a Murdoch theme: ‘We would all be better off …?’ ‘This would all be solved if …’ ‘How could he still be alive, how could he?’ ‘Have you seen him? Have you seen what he looks like? What he eats?’”
Before the Dominion trial, which was settled out of court, Trump essentially threatened the Australian media mogul on Truth Social.
“Fox News is in big trouble if they do not expose the truth on cheating in the 2020 election,” the former president said.
“They should do what’s right for America. When Rupert Murdoch says that there was no cheating in light of the massive proof that was there, it is ridiculous and very harmful to the Fox case. Perhaps he should say that ‘he just didn’t know’, but that is hard to believe.”
According to court documents in the case, Murdoch admitted the 2020 election was not “stolen” from Trump, as the former president tried to claim.
Tucker Carlson’s political ambitions
New York Magazine published a lengthy excerpt from the book, detailing the “break up” of former Fox host Tucker Carlson and the network.
Shortly after the Dominion case was settled, for $US787.5 million ($1.2 billion), arguably the most recognisable face on Fox News was fired.
According to Wolff, over the years Carlson’s success became “a bigger and bigger headache” for Murdoch, which only got worse when the New York Times published a three-part piece on Carlson’s role at Fox.
At the time, Murdoch knew he couldn’t just fire Carlson, but the host knew of the family’s desire to have him sacked so he was considering running for president.
Fox has denied taking Carlson off the air was part of the settlement with Dominion, however, Wolff claims it was part of the deal to keep the sum under $US1 billion.
However, Sean Hannity was initially meant to be offered up as a sacrifice, the book claims.
Wolff writes that Murdoch did not appreciate Carlson’s views on certain subjects, such as Ukraine, but did enjoy his company and the fact he had a good relationship with his son, Lachlan.
“Murdoch even liked Carlson on the air, except for when he was spouting his obvious bull—t,” Wolff writes.
“But even that he did well. He didn’t think Carlson was actually a racist, although he thought he could really be an ass—-. More and more, though, he was bothered by the reports that Carlson might run for president.”
Wolff then goes on to detail how Carlson came to learn he would be taken off the air “permanently” days after Fox and Dominion reached the settlement.
Murdoch did apparently call Carlson after the sacking, expressing hope they could remain friends, but Wolff says just hours after being fired, Elon Musk had called Carlson.
Warning before book’s release
Wolff’s book is highly anticipated, but CNN warned people not to take his word as gospel, given he has faced claims of being unethical in the past and his previous works have contained errors.
“That’s not to say that everything Wolff prints is mistaken. There is no question that a number of the anecdotes and claims printed in The Fall will hold water,” a piece on CNN outlined.
“In fact, most of them may very well prove to be entirely accurate. But the allegations, particularly the most explosive ones, should be viewed with a sceptical eye, especially until other news outlets attempt to re-report them.”
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Wolff said he spoke to “possibly a hundred” sources for the book, but confirmed Murdoch declined to take part.
“No one has spent as much time with Murdoch and with his family and with his executives as I have, at least no journalists outside of his employee,” he said.
“I’ve had access to various Fox personalities at quite an intimate level. It is an experience that I’m trying to reflect here. I am the conduit of what I know, of the relationships that I’ve had, of what I’ve seen and heard, and this is the product of that.”
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