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.