Rupert Mudoch Regrets His Decisions

Oh, gracious, Trump is pissed. From Daily Beast:

Donald Trump is furious with his former ally Rupert Murdoch after the media mogul made astonishing admissions that some of his Fox News hosts “endorsed” lies that the 2020 election had been “stolen.” Murdoch, 91, also said in a deposition unsealed on Monday that he wished his organization had been “stronger in denouncing” the false narrative that the election was rigged by corrupt voting machines. Dominion Voting Systems is suing Fox News for $1.6 billion over the issue—but the network denies defamation. “Why is Rupert Murdoch throwing his anchors under the table, which also happens to be killing his case and infuriating his viewers, who will again be leaving in droves—they already are,” Trump fumed on his Truth Social platform on Tuesday. “There is MASSIVE evidence of voter fraud & irregularities in the 2020 Presidential Election,” Trump continued, pointing to Dinesh D’Souza’s conspiracy film 2000 Mules as evidence.

The new opposition brief filed by Dominion Voting Systems yesterday was full of new goodies. From Charlotte Klein at Vanity Fair:

While Murdoch denied that Fox as a whole endorsed Donald Trump‘s bogus claims of election fraud, Murdoch did pass the buck to Jeanine PirroLou Dobbs, and Sean Hannity, admitting that “they endorsed.” Later in the filing, Murdoch is asked whether he could have told CEO Suzanne Scott or those hosts to take Rudy Giuliani off the air. “I could have. But I didn’t,” he replied. At another point, Murdoch appeared to express regret over his network’s coverage of Trump’s conspiracy theory: “I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight.”

There’s quite a good overview of what happened at Fox after the 2020 election as revealed in the Dominion the Bulwark, by Amanda Carpenter. It’s titled Exposed: Fox’s Pander-for-Profit Business Model. The Fox News brand had to be protected above all else, and if that meant spreading lies — lies they knew to be lies — to the viewers to keep the ratings up, so be it. What’s interesting to me is that the execs and bobbleheads justified keeping up the pretense as “respecting our viewers,” even though it pretty much reveals they thought their viewers were fools.

Of course, as I wrote back in May 2020, “dealing with American right-wingers is a bit like dealing with hyenas. You can’t reason with them; all you can do is try to placate them so they don’t bite you.” Note that Fox News isn’t covering the Dominion lawsuit, so maybe they’re hoping their viewers don’t find out about it.

And as Hymen Roth told Michael Corleone, “this is the business we’ve chosen.” Don’t ask questions. Stick to business.

Some other tidbits that came out of the new brief. Before the election Rupert Murdoch shared “confidential information” about then-candidate Joe Biden’s campaign ads and debate strategy with Jared Kushner, the filing said. And he had Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott tell Sean Hannity to say “something supportive” about Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham ahead of the 2020 election. Murdoch said, “We cannot lose the Senate if at all possible.” In other words, Murdoch was explicitly using his “news” business on behalf of the GOP. I know that’s not a surprise, but it’s a tad unusual for them to be caught with their pants this far down, so to speak.

All of this has made Kevin McCarthy’s decision to hand House security tapes over exclusively to Tucker Carlson even more appalling. But this didn’t just piss off liberals. From Rolling Stone:

McCarthy’s gift to Carlson immediately triggered a right-wing media feud, and drew the scorn of multiple high-profile Donald Trump allies. And it quickly led to McCarthy getting legally threatened by the former president’s favorite election-attacking pillow mogul who’s using a pair of extremely pro-Trump lawyers, one of whom sued the January 6th House committee.  …

… On Monday, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell — a close Trump associate who has been one of the largest financial backers of the election-denialism movement since late 2020 — told Rolling Stone he’s now working with two attorneys, Doug Wardlow and Pat McSweeney, to file a lawsuit against McCarthy as soon as within the “next few days.” Lindell says he and his legal team have drafted a suit arguing his streaming program, Lindell TV, is being “injured” and discriminated against by not enjoying equal access to the unreleased Jan. 6 trove. The Trump ally, who often finds himself to the pro-Trump right of Fox News, notes that he doesn’t trust Fox’s “agenda” with these tapes, and dubs McCarthy’s decision “disgusting” and allegedly unconstitutional.

“As you correctly and publicly stated, the footage ‘belong[s] to the American public.’ Accordingly, I request the same access for my media company, Lindell TV,” the MyPillow CEO wrote to McCarthy in a Feb. 23 letter he provided to Rolling Stone. “Please have your staff reach out to me to arrange for access.”

Some other GOP House creatures have also objected to Carlson getting exclusive access. David Kurtz reports at TPM that “House Republicans as a whole aren’t completely onboard with Speaker McCarthy’s wholesale turning over of the Jan. 6 surveillance footage to Tucker Carlson.” Some GOP House members have expressed concerns about security. They also probably understand there’s only so much manipulation Carlson can do, and they’d rather not have more January 6 videos going viral, thanks much. And it’s  bad look to give one guy exclusive access to what amounts to government property.

In other news — let us take a moment to note the end of Disney World as we’ve known it.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday to take control of municipal services and development for the special zone encompassing Walt Disney World. The move deals a major blow to the company’s ability to operate with autonomy.

DeSantis says that the special district surrounding Disney World has enabled the park to unfairly skirt local rules and building codes.

It’s my understanding that Disney wanted to keep control of its property to be sure that roads stayed in good repair and utilities functioned properly. Their business model depends on presenting a gleaming, perfectly functioning experience. Well, that’s about to end.

“The corporate kingdom finally comes to an end,” DeSantis said during a news conference announcing the move on Monday. “There’s a new sheriff in town, and accountability will be the order of the day.”

The heart of the bill is the appointment of a five-person state board to oversee municipal services, such as fire protection and road maintenance, where Disney World operates.

But the oversight board that DeSantis assembled is a pack of culture warriors, not people experienced with municipal services. The Orlando Sentinel:

A GOP political donor, an evangelical minister who defends Christian nationalism and a co-founder of the conservative Moms for Liberty group are among the new board members chosen by Gov. Ron DeSantis to oversee Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District.

“It’s incredibly alarming,” state Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, said of the governor’s nominees, describing them as a group of “extremists and Republican operatives” picked based on cronyism and not merits. “He has these extremist culture war demagogues, and Republican Party operatives.”

I suggest that if you have “Disney World” on your bucket list, you shouldn’t put it off. There’s no way this won’t negatively impact the place.