After Ailes was ousted, Murdoch, then eighty-five, assumed the title of acting C.
For months, people close to the family say, he was in very bad shape, convalescing at home in L. When it came to numbers, like ratings, revenues, G. When Shine assumed command at Fox, the campaign was nearing its end, and Trump and Clinton were all but tied. That fall, a FoxNews. Diana Falzone, who often covered the entertainment industry, had obtained proof that Trump had engaged in a sexual relationship in with a pornographic film actress calling herself Stormy Daniels.
Falzone had even seen the contract. After getting one noncommittal answer after another from her editors, Falzone at last heard from LaCorte, who was then the head of FoxNews. But Rupert wants Donald Trump to win. So just let it go. Falzone pitched this story to Fox, too, but it went nowhere. In January, , Fox demoted Falzone without explanation.
That May, she sued the network. Her attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, declined to comment but acknowledged that a settlement has been reached; it includes a nondisclosure agreement that bars Falzone from talking about her work at Fox.
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Ken you are such a LIAR. This story got killed by FoxNews at the highest level. I know, because I was one of your sources. Shine was liked by most of the on-air stars he managed; they describe him as well organized and forthright. Shine, who is tough-looking, with a doughy, dented face, is the son of a New York City policeman.
Colleagues say that Shine knew how to coach talent to look good on TV, and how to drive ratings. He was the one who would give you the lucrative contract. He controlled the narrative that way. They allegedly compiled a dossier on Gabriel Sherman as he worked on his Ailes biography, and obtained the phone records of another journalist, Joe Strupp, in an effort to find out who was leaking to him.
The Making of the Fox News White House | The New Yorker
Separately, Ailes and a small group kept a close eye on internal talent. These people often get burned themselves. But at least four civil lawsuits against Fox have named Shine as a defendant for enabling workplace harassment. The suit faults Fox for spending fifty-five million dollars to settle such claims out of court. The use of company funds for payoffs prompted a criminal investigation by the U. In , Shine was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury, but instead he agreed to be interviewed by prosecutors.
A copy of the confidentiality agreement shows that Shine co-signed it. The day that Ailes left Fox, Luhn broke her silence. She had sexually serviced Ailes for years, she said, in part because he had blackmailed her with compromising videotapes. A spokesperson for Shine has denied this account, and has said that Shine was unaware that Ailes and Luhn had a sexual relationship.
She has since left NBC. Shine soon followed him out the door. Hannity proposed Shine as a top communications official, or even as a deputy chief of staff. A year later, Shine was both. By the time Trump was elected, Murdoch had adeptly improved ties with him. Murdoch appears to have been wise in securing a rapprochement. Hundt, the former F. The Murdoch family will receive more than two billion dollars in the deal, and will become a major stockholder in the combined company.
The Justice Department expressed no serious antitrust concerns, even though the combined company will reportedly account for half the box-office revenue in America. Trump publicly congratulated Murdoch even before the Justice Department signed off on the deal, and claimed that it would create jobs. In fact, the consolidation is projected to result in thousands of layoffs. In July, the F. The F.
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The Justice Department, meanwhile, went to court in an effort to stop A. Time Warner saw the deal as essential to its survival at a time when the media business is increasingly dominated by giant competitors such as Google and Facebook. Murdoch understood this impulse: in , 21st Century Fox had tried, unsuccessfully, to buy Time Warner.
Trump also opposed the deal, but many people suspected that his objection was a matter of petty retaliation against CNN. Although Presidents have traditionally avoided expressing opinions about legal matters pending before the judicial branch, Trump has bluntly criticized the plan. However, in the late summer of , a few months before the Justice Department filed suit, Trump ordered Gary Cohn , then the director of the National Economic Council, to pressure the Justice Department to intervene. I want that deal blocked! Cohn, a former president of Goldman Sachs, evidently understood that it would be highly improper for a President to use the Justice Department to undermine two of the most powerful companies in the country as punishment for unfavorable news coverage, and as a reward for a competing news organization that boosted him.
We are not going to do business that way. Blair Levin, the former F. He leaves no fingerprints. He recalls attending a dinner where Murdoch pushed him to move ahead on immigration reform. Most American news outlets try to adhere to facts. Case studies conducted by the authors show that lies and distortions on the right spread easily from extremist Web sites to mass-media outlets such as Fox, and only occasionally get corrected. When falsehoods are exposed, core viewers often react angrily.
Sometimes such pushback has a salutary effect. Such breaks with the Trump narrative on Fox are rare, though. Unlike Glenn Beck, Hannity has been allowed to spew baseless conspiracy theories with impunity.
For more than a year, Hannity and other hosts spread the lie that the hacking of Democratic Party e-mails during the campaign was an inside job. Hannity claimed that the hacking had been committed not by Russian cyber-warfare agents, as the U. Yet Fox kept flogging it as the real national-security scandal involving Russia. Those were the standards. It was the subject of hilarity.
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Aki Peritz, a former C. It was just a guy in his underwear in Georgia who had influence over Fox News! And Fox News influences the President! As Trump watches, he frequently posts about points that he agrees with. Since August, , Media Matters has tallied more than two hundred instances of Trump disseminating Fox News items to his fifty-eight million Twitter followers. White House aides confirm that Trump has repeatedly walked away from compromises at the last moment because Fox hosts and guests opposed the deals.
Last March, Trump was widely expected to sign an omnibus appropriations bill, thus avoiding a government shutdown. That afternoon, Trump relented and signed the bill. Mattis prevailed in this instance, but former White House aides and other political players in Washington believe that Trump is more influenced by Fox pundits and guests than by his staff, or by the intelligence experts who brief him.
Marc Short, who was formerly in charge of congressional relations for the White House, tried to counter the effect by enlisting Republican allies in the House to go on Fox. Hannity and Dobbs urged Trump nightly on their shows to make these moves; according to press reports, they also advised Trump personally to do so. For the next thirty-five days, Hannity and the other Fox hosts kept cheering Trump on, even as polls showed that the American public was increasingly opposed to the shutdown.
Narrowcasting may generate billions of dollars for a cable channel, but as a governing strategy it inevitably alienates the majority. Similarly, Fox has a financial incentive to make Trump look good.