Michael Wolff, l'autore di Landslide and two other bestselling books about the Trump administration, has claimed Rupert Murdoch “hates” Donald Trump.
“Rupert hates Donald Trump,” the author told CNN’s Reliable Sources. “Hates him – but Rupert loves money.”
Wolff has long written about the Murdochs and Fox News. In Landslide, he reports that Murdoch, 90, personally approved the network’s early call of Arizona which signalled Trump’s defeat by Joe Biden, saying simply: “Fuck him.”
Fox News denied the story. On Saturday Chris Stirewalt, a politics editor who left Fox News after the election and said he faced “murderous rage” from Trump supporters for defending the Arizona call, also poured cold water on the claim.
“If you want to know how false the Michael Wolff claim is,” Stirewalt said on his podcast, “you can find the clip on air. When our on-air colleagues reported our call they were genuinely surprised.
“The thing about Wolff … if all you do is say, ‘Come and tell me anything you want to tell,’ and I read the one White House book, and it’s very transparent at certain points where you can tell who’s dishing on who. But you grant anonymity to people unnecessarily and then let them lie to you.”
Fox News has tacked further right since the election, bidding to win back viewers from Newsmax and One America News Network while Trump consolidates his hold on the Republican party.
Wolff said Jason Miller, a former Trump spokesman, backed his reporting. He also insisted that whatever Murdoch feels about Trump, he knows where his interests lie.
“At any rate, il Rupert Murdoch thing is I reported that at that point the decision desk got in touch with Lachlan Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch called his father, his father said to go with this report, obviously including quite a fetching obscenity directed at Trump.
“How do I know this? I’ll give you the background here. The fact is that I am Rupert Murdoch’s biographer … who was given enormous access to him. I am well-sourced throughout the company and throughout his family, so therefore I know that this happened. My sources are extremely good and without a doubt on this point.”
The CNN host Brian Stelter, who has also written a book about Fox News and Trump, said “there are a lot of sources of say Rupert despises Trump. So why is Fox still so attached to him? Why do you think he hasn’t changed Fox’s editorial strategy?"
“I think that there are two worlds going on here,” Wolff said. “There’s Rupert Murdoch’s world … [e] il Fox network has moved its business model or the Fox News network to an old Trump model, that’s where the money comes from. Would Rupert Murdoch have an alternative to that, that would supply that much money?
“Rupert hates Donald Trump. Hates him. But Rupert loves money. Those are two warring things.”
Wolff, who recently called the Washington Post “news thieves” regarding reporting similar to his, also repeatedly attacked his interviewer.
“Week after week," Egli ha detto, “all you do is question Fox, question its veracity, question its honour, question etc. Now you think they might be honest to a fault.”
He also said Stelter was “a nice guy” but “full of sanctimony”, and “one of the reasons why people can’t stand the media”.
“You’re cracking me up,” Stelter said, before asking what he should do differently.
“Don’t talk so much,” Wolff said. “Listen more.”