In photo, Rupert Murdoch and Ivanka Trump in 2007. She oversaw a nearly $300 million trust for two of Mr. Murdoch’s children. Murdoch is the founder of the corporate news media giants 21st Century Fox and the News Corporation. News Corp owns The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. He unsuccessfully attempted to purchase TimeWarner, who owns CNN in 2014, who Trump claims to hate. [MORE] and [MORE]
From [NY Times] The ties that bind the most powerful media mogul in the world to the leader of the free world just keep getting stronger. Or, more precisely, we keep learning just how strong they are.
The question is where that leaves the rest of the world when they’re done divvying it up.
The Financial Times reported the latest example of their closeness last week: that Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka was a trustee of the nearly $300 million fortune Mr. Murdoch set aside for the two children he had with his third wife, Wendi, who arranged the trusteeship.
Ms. Trump gave up that oversight role in December, before her father’s inauguration but well after Election Day.
That means the whole time that Mr. Murdoch’s highly influential news organizations were covering Mr. Trump’s campaign and transition, their executive chairman was entangled in a financial arrangement of the most personal sort — tied to his children’s financial (very) well being — along with the president’s daughter.
Referring to her only as the president’s “daughter” fails to capture her true role. She is Mr. Trump’s most trusted confidante. And she is married to a key presidential adviser, Jared Kushner, who, as it happens, is so close with Mr. Murdoch that he even helped Mr. Murdoch set up his bachelor pad after his last divorce, The New Yorker reported.
The latest news about the Murdoch-Trump axis is acutely problematic for the leadership at The Wall Street Journal — owned by News Corp. — as it seeks to quell a rebellion by a group of staff members who believe that the paper has held them back from more aggressively covering Mr. Trump, they suspect, under pressure from Mr. Murdoch. (As Joe Pompeo of Politico first reported last week, a meeting to discuss their grievances is to take place at The Journal on Monday.)
But the relationship between the president and Mr. Murdoch has implications well beyond The Journal, given the global breadth of Mr. Murdoch’s media holdings, his history of putting them to use for political leaders who then help him with his own business needs and Mr. Trump’s own reactivity to the news media.
How it all affects the rest of us depends on how powerfully Mr. Murdoch’s news media properties swing behind the new presidential agenda and how much criticism of Mr. Trump they’ll abide from their journalists and commentators. And all of that could depend on what Mr. Murdoch wants from the administration, and how badly he wants it.
After Mr. Murdoch “used the editorial page, the front page and every other page” of The New York Post “to elect Ronald Reagan president,” as the Republican congressman Jack Kemp once put it, Mr. Murdoch won a regulatory glide path for his successful effort to build a fourth broadcast network, Fox.
In the George W. Bush years, when Fox News rallied for the president’s war efforts, Mr. Murdoch successfully pushed the Federal Communications Commission to block a proposed merger between DirecTV and EchoStar, clearing the way for Mr. Murdoch to buy control of DirecTV after an earlier attempt.
Now Mr. Murdoch’s rivals are trying to guess what he might seek from Washington, having reached the apex of his American power at 85 with the closest ties to a White House that he’s ever had.
At the very least, they are girding for him to use his influence to block AT&T’s proposed purchase of Time Warner, which Mr. Trump railed against during the campaign. Mr. Murdoch made an unsuccessful bid for Time Warner in 2014.
They read the tea leaves last week in The New York Post, where Mr. Murdoch’s conservative-populist fingerprints are most easily dusted into view. The paper, the first one Mr. Trump reads each morning, ran yet another piece suggesting that the president might oppose the deal because of CNN’s aggressive coverage of him. (It’s a division of Time Warner.)
Picking up on a similar story in Breitbart, the article pointed up the new Washington ethos for media companies with news divisions: Cover the president in a way that displeases him at your own corporate peril.
But the reverse is true, too, which is potentially more good news for Mr. Murdoch.
His coziness with the president is not a given. “I’m a little surprised that Rupert seems as well disposed to Trump as he is,” said William Kristol, a conservative Trump critic who co-founded The Weekly Standard under the auspices of News Corp., which sold it in 2009. “Especially on trade and immigration, he was what Trump’s people call ‘a globalist.’ He may be one of the four most prominent globalists in the world.”
Stephen K. Bannon, a Trump adviser, made a similar observation in an interview with the media writer Michael Wolff shortly after the election, saying, “Rupert is a globalist and never understood Trump.”