Donald Trump’s increasingly erratic presidency is two months old today and it’s now very clear just how close the links are between the media empires of the Murdoch clan — especially 86-year-old Rupert Murdoch — and the increasingly odd Trump. Two interviews Trump gave last week underlined that closeness. They were with Fox News Channel hosts, Tucker Carlson and Jesse Watters (who used to work on the Bill O’Reilly show and was responsible for some of the most racist remarks allowed to air during the 2016 election campaign).

Of the eight TV interviews Trump has given since his inauguration in January, five have been with the Murdoch-owned and -managed Fox News Channel. And while some US media analysts have noted the number, none has directly linked it to the Murdoch influence bar one: a report last week on National Public Radio

The first of these interviews was with his biggest media booster, Sean Hannity, in January, followed by Bill O’Reilly on Super Bowl Sunday. He talked with the hosts of Fox & Friends in late February, talked 9pm Fox News host (and Megyn Kelly replacement) Tucker Carlson last week, and then with Jesse Watters in an interview that was taped this week and was broadcast on Saturday night, US time. That was pre-recorded on Air Force One. The only other three networks that have had interviews with Trump are ABC, (his first interview as president), the Christian Broadcasting Network (a media outlet favoured at press conferences) and NBC News (which wasn’t a proper sit-down discussion but a brief chat at a function in Washington).

The closeness of the links between trump and Murdoch have been remarked on by a lot of US media (and much earlier by Crikey). But more detail of the increasing proximity has only been noted in the NPR website late last week. NPR is part of the Public Broadcasting System, which Trump wants to defund in his 2017 budget. But even that failed to spot the dominance of sit-down interviews with Trump by Murdoch media outlets.

 

No wonder the staff of The Wall Street Journal is restive about this closeness and the way the paper under editor-in-chief Gerard Baker is soft on Trump (unlike the rival New York Times, Washington Post and magazines like Vanity Fair). — Glenn Dyer

Peter Fray

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