Murdoch interested in WSJ’s Baker to run Fox News
Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker is a candidate to run Fox News, reports Gabriel Sherman of New York magazine.
Sherman writes, “Still, in many ways, Murdoch’s response to this crisis at Fox News is following the contours of his reaction to the phone-hacking scandal that engulfed his British tabloids six years ago. Then, as now, Murdoch protected tarnished executives such as former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks. The phone-hacking episode forced Murdoch to shutter the 168-year-old News of the World and abandon his initial takeover bid for Sky. The price this time won’t be the closing of Fox News, Murdoch’s most-profitable asset, but for the first time in years Fox faces real competition. Last week, Sinclair Broadcasting announced a $3.9 billion takeover of Tribune’s TV stations, giving the conservative broadcasting company a coast-to-coast footprint. There’s speculation Sinclair could try to poach Sean Hannity or bring O’Reilly out of exile.
“Some wonder if a kinder, gentler Fox News can replicate the ratings success that Ailes’s authoritarian culture maintained for 20 years. Under Ailes, Fox anchors and executives marched in lockstep, keeping off-camera drama out of view and working together to sell Ailes’s point of view. Now Hannity takes to Twitter to accuse a colleague of plotting to get Bill Shine fired, and competition from the left and the further-right has left Fox News with a programming challenge. The Murdochs are quietly looking for a new programming executive to run the network. According to sources, James wants to recruit David Rhodes from CBS News (Rhodes is under contract). Rupert is interested in Wall Street Journal editor Gerry Baker, or Rebekah Brooks. One source said Rupert’s daughter Elisabeth is also being discussed as a candidate.”
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