The change came not long after this week’s US Presidential Election. While the “opinion” hosts at Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) continued to grovel to Trump, the broadcaster’s election analysts weighed the numbers, and declared that normally-Republican Arizona would be won by Democrat challenger Joe Biden. So they called the state for him. Some, including the BBC, remain cautious and have not followed FNC.
Why Arizona should turn Blue is not a surprise: for many years, the state was represented in the United States Senate by maverick Republican John McCain. McCain would not endorse Trump, who then denigrated McCain’s war record, saying he preferred people who did not get shot down. McCain voted against Trump’s assault on the Affordable Care Act. When he died, Trump was persona non grata at the funeral.
The people of Arizona did not forget that, and have not forgiven it. Thus the FNC call. What happened next was as predictable as it was instructive: Trump phoned Murdoch and demanded that calling Arizona for the Dems was not only wrong, but should be retracted. And it was at this point that we knew Rupe had dropped The Donald: he refused to intervene. FNC called it; others followed, as had happened before.
It was FNC in 2012 that made the call which would take incumbent Barack Obama over the 270 electoral college vote win line. Karl Rove infamously contested the call, and memorably, FNC’s election broadcast co-host Megyn Kelly got up from her desk and went over to the channel’s analysts. Yes, Fox News has real election analysts crunching the numbers. They stood by their call. Fox decided Obama had won. They were right.
Now, as Biden leads the count in Georgia and Pennsylvania, Murdoch is doubling down. The New York Post, normally rabidly pro-Trump, has seen enough. “Downcast Trump makes baseless election fraud claims in White House address” they told their followers. Rupe won’t back a loser. And, with Biden projected to take PA, and with it a majority of Electoral College votes, Trump is a loser. So under the bus he goes.
Rupert Murdoch backed Republican Presidential nominees all the way back to Ronald Reagan. But he does not want to be seen to back a loser. That’s why he ditched the Tories and backed Blair. And as projections come in claiming that Biden will win Pennsylvania, he will do the same with The Donald. No sentimentality. No hesitation. No more Trump.
Donald Trump joins George Bush senior, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Herbert Hoover on the incumbent one-term scrapheap. Murdoch has thrown him under the bus.
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