Rupert Murdoch Displays His Business Smarts…
The news that Rupert Murdoch will take over for Roger Ailes, at least for the time being, is just the latest example of how smart a businessman he is. There were so many ways he could have screwed this up. But he took the smart route. By taking charge it immediately sends a signal of continuity and assurance for the staff of a “steady as she goes” outlook. At least for the near term.
Immediately promoting from within was a risky proposition. As far as Murdoch was concerned FNC has been essentially a black box with one contact point, Ailes. Unlike most of his other media properties, Murdoch has taken an essentially “hands off” attitude to interfering with FNC (one notable outlier would be the force fed O’Reilly/Olbermann truce which only blew up when it was publicly revealed by Brian Stelter).
Because FNC was a black box to Murdoch he needed to understand how things functioned inside before making any seismic decisions…like appointing a permanent replacement. Taking over gives Murdoch that opportunity to see how things work and who does it best. It affords him the time to look and see if there are any internal candidates worthy of the job.
There is a saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. This saying is both applicable and no longer applicable in FNC’s case. It’s applicable because Murdoch wants to preserve the cash cow FNC has become.
But it is no longer applicable because with Ailes gone FNC is indeed “broke” in one very critical aspect. FNC was Ailes and Ailes was FNC. Everything that made FNC what it is came directly from the man. Nobody else on the planet is qualified to replicate that vision. Not Murdoch. Not Shine. Nobody. Only Ailes could run FNC that way. So, by removing Ailes, Murdoch did break FNC in as much as the way it was run cannot be continued without Ailes.
So the task at hand is to thread the needle; to try and retain as much of what made FNC the network it is knowing full well it can’t be fully retained. It is going to change to some extent. Because of that and because of the great responsibility such a task requires, Rupert Murdoch was the best and only choice to take it on.