Now Murdoch’s White House meetings are reportedly happening again, and if Murdoch needs Trump, Trump needs Murdoch, too. The president’s disastrous performance his first months in office has been accompanied by a historic slump in ratings, and with so many Americans relying on cable and Fox in particular for their national news, Murdoch is uniquely valuable to Trump right now.
So far Fox’s fawning coverage of Trump, and in some cases total avoidance of certain topics unflattering to the president, hasn’t been enough to lift him out of his presidential doldrums. Being skeptical about the significance of the regular government leaks regarding Trump’s presidency has not necessarily played well with Fox’s viewers.
The proof is in the place that hurts Murdoch and Trump the most: the ratings. Recently, MSNBC won all five weekdays in primetime over Fox News, according toNielsen data, with NBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show topping the week’s list of most watched programs. And MSNBC finished last month as the No 1 cable news network on weeknights that month, beating out Fox and CNN for the first time since 2000.
We can’t know what that will mean for the Trump-Murdoch axis, just as we can’t know what these men are discussing on the phone, or what, precisely, the Trump presidential library will reveal some 30 years from now. We do, however, know that the last time this happened with the same media mogul and a president he had far fewer connections to, the media mogul got a hell of a lot out of it.