Rethinking FBN Getting Burned By CNBC Over The Murdoch News…

It’s been a couple of days since the Rupert Murdoch news knocked the media world sideways. The one storyline that continued to get legs was how the hell did CNBC beat out the entire Murdoch media empire with the scoop? It sure as hell made FBN, The Post, and The Journal look woefully out of it. At first I naturally assumed it was just good old fashioned legwork. Now I’m wondering if it was really the old boy network…

Exhibit A: The news that came out very quickly after Faber’s scoop that Roger Ailes would be reporting directly to Rupert Murdoch, bypassing his sons. Everyone focused in on the fact that Ailes wouldn’t have to be reporting to Rupe’s sons that it showed how much the senior Murdoch valued Ailes.

What nobody seems to have realized is that Ailes had to have known about the change in structure. There is no way Rupert Murdoch is going to make a change like this and then wait until after the news comes out to tell Ailes he’ll still be reporting to him. FNC and FBN are lynchpins in the Murdoch media empire and Murdoch is not going to do anything to churn those waters. Ailes had to have known.

Exhibit B: Because Ailes had to have known, he could have ensured that the news came out on FBN. He didn’t. The question is obviously why? And the answer is just as obvious…because he was essentially under a gag order that had yet to be lifted by Rupert.

Exhibit C: The original Faber story made no mention of Ailes reporting to Rupert. Therefore we could assume that this wasn’t a leak to Faber from inside Ailes’ sphere of influence. If it were the one piece of information we might consider betting the bank on coming out was that Ailes would be reporting directly to Rupert. Of course, because this industry is more conniving than you could possibly imagine, we can’t completely dismiss the possibility that the leak came from inside Ailes’ sphere of influence but left out the Ailes reporting structure precisely to throw the scent off and make it look like it came from elsewhere. But that possibility does stretch the boundaries of plausibility. The odds are stacked heavily that Ailes’ sphere of influence had nothing to do with Faber’s story. Which leads us to…

Exhibit D: Like father (NOT) like sons. It is well known that while Rupert holds a special place in his heart for Roger Ailes, his sons don’t exactly follow in father’s footsteps.

Add up A, B, C, and D and a new picture emerges regarding CNBC’s scoop. What better way to screw Ailes than to leak the story to Faber?

Maybe it wasn’t either James or Lachlan who leaked to Faber. But whoever it was knew what they were doing and how the optics would play out. They were giving CNBC a prize and Roger Ailes the middle finger.

4 Responses to “Rethinking FBN Getting Burned By CNBC Over The Murdoch News…”

  1. If they find out it was anyone but the sons they should be canned. This is about keeping a positive view of “your” employer in the world. The positive view increases viewers which increases the value of your employer which allows you, the employee, to increased benefits, i.e. pay, etc. Fools work against their employer.

  2. Yup

  3. Reblogged this on hallsofjose and commented:
    I agree with the theory that this was orchestrated by Fox leadership, though not that this harms the reputation of FBN, or that it was done to mess with Ailes, or that the WSJ could have covered it.

    First, I’ll add Exhibit E:

    On June 9th, Wired published a big PR-friendly story about the design of the new Fox HQ at the World Trade Center tower.

    The message? The future of Fox is bold! And bright!
    And *James Murdoch was instrumental in leading. James is a leader.*
    This article was done with the cooperation and participation of Fox.
    It even included a promotional video that appeared to be produced by Fox.
    Again, June 9th:

    Our respective leak theories aside, the Fox PR wheels were turning with a hopeful message
    about the future of Fox, and the big role James has in it, right before the leak.

    Now to CNBC breaking the big story.
    Did this make FBN or the WSJ look bad? I don’t think they could have covered it any other way.

    People don’t think of FBN as place for original business reporting. Especially those of us who watch it a lot.
    The bulk of FBN programming is commentating on 3rd party reporting. Sometimes it’s a panel. Sometimes it’s a guest.
    Sometimes it’s an anchor monologuing. Ideally it’s analysis. Usually it’s punditry. Either way, it’s rarely breaking stories.

    FBN does get good business/finance guests and interviews, but even that is just nice access, not scoops.

    It’s weirder when FBN does break news than when it doesn’t (Example: Charlie Gasparino breaking the story last month that Bloomberg was back in the running to buy NYT, something that even he admitted was extremely uncertain when reporting it.).

    I sincerely think if FBN broke the story, some people would have gotten nervous that something weird was happening.

    But the WSJ does regularly break news. And one would normally put them in the running to know about any major company’s leadership change.
    If anybody was left out, it’s the WSJ. That said, there’s an angle where the WSJ can’t win if they break it, especially after the Wired Fox HQ story came out:
    it just looks like they’re just being used as PR for a Murdoch coronation, a perfectly coordinated rollout.

    If somebody outside of Fox breaks it, it looks less orchestrated. Maybe WSJ looks slightly slow-footed, but with more credibility intact than if they broke it.

    The empire kind of had to be hands-off here. FBN because it’d just feel weird all of a sudden reporting a story like this, and WSJ because it’s a credibility bargain.

  4. I disagree. Murdoch regularly breaks news using his media empire. He’s not like Buffett who spreads the wealth around to all the outlets.

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