Media magnate Rupert Murdoch and outgoing US President Donald Trump have long had a rocky relationship – but the pair share one thing in common.
They both love to win.
Self-proclaimed winner Mr Trump is refusing to concede defeat to Joe Biden in the US election, tweeting a stream of baseless claims about voter fraud and a “mail-in ballot hoax”.
In his eyes, failure to win makes you a “loser” – an insult he has frequently hurled at critics, including the late war veteran John McCain.
Mr Murdoch, though much more discreet, is just as eager to come out on top, abandoning powerful friends when it serves the interests of his media company News Corporation.
And now that Mr Trump has lost the US election, it appears the soon-to-be former president won’t be getting any special treatment.
Multiple Murdoch-owned US newspapers and television stations appear to have withdrawn support for Mr Trump, sending him a clear message: Your time is up.
Their change of tune came as a petition led by Kevin Rudd was tabled in Australian Parliament on Monday calling for a royal commission into the Murdoch media.
But there’s a little less of that now.
On Friday night, Fox News host Laura Ingraham – an avid Trump supporter – prepared her viewers for his loss and advised the President to accept defeat “if and when that does happen” with “grace and composure”.
“Now losing, especially when you believe the process wasn’t fair, it’s a gut punch,” she told her viewers.
“And I’m not conceding anything tonight, by the way. But losing, if that’s what happens – it’s awful. But President Trump’s legacy will only become more significant if he focuses on moving the country forward.”
The New York Post
In a sign Mr Murdoch believed the President’s days were coming to an end, The New York Post ran a powerful front page before the election was declared over.
Its headline screamed: “READY, SET … JOE?”
— Nick Bryant (@NickBryantNY) November 7, 2020
The Wall Street Journal
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece titled “The Presidential Endgame” that also flagged Mr Trump’s demise.
It was subtitled: “Trump has the right to fight in court, but he needs evidence to prove voter fraud.”
“Perhaps it was inevitable that Donald Trump’s re-election campaign would end as his Presidency began: with the President claiming victory and his frenzied antagonists denouncing him as a would-be fascist,” the authors wrote.
Later, they warned that “Mr Trump’s legacy will be diminished greatly if his final act is a bitter refusal to accept a legitimate defeat”.
The response Down Under
Just like its cousin in the US, News Corp Australia appears to have dialled down support for the President.
But not before it virtually claimed that Mr Trump had won the election.
Several commentators on Murdoch-owned Sky News claimed Mr Trump would easily win long before the ballots had been counted.
— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) November 7, 2020
Appearing on Sky News After Dark on Wednesday, conservative broadcaster Alan Jones said “Trump will win comfortably”, labelling Mr Biden a “lunatic” who was beholden to the Left.
“Thank God this bloke won’t be the president,” he said.
Australia’s own Miranda Devine was also dominating opinion editorials with support for Mr Trump over at the New York Post.
And days before the US election was called, Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt gloated Mr Trump would get re-elected and urged viewers to “celebrate with me” on Sky.
The message in his opinion piece on Sunday couldn’t have been more different.
Titled ‘Conservatives around the world will pay for Trump’s fatal flaws’, Bolt wrote: “Damn Donald Trump for throwing away this election.”
“Conservatives around the world will now pay for his ludicrous bragging, bullying and lying,” he wrote.
“Trump would have won if he’d just acted like a president. If he’d acted with dignity and discipline.”
This is, ummm, confusing. pic.twitter.com/AOdWn0EJh7
— Louise Milligan (@Milliganreports) November 9, 2020
Meanwhile, some social media users have lashed out at Murdoch’s Foxtel TV station for airing baseless claims that the Democrats rigged the US election.
I’m going to be cancelling my @Foxtel for you having Rowan Dean and Rita Panahi saying Joe Biden stole the election on our screens as Biden is announced the winner. What a disgrace. Australia deserves better. @skynewsaust #auspol
— Hero (@hierohero1) November 7, 2020
And so, Mr Murdoch faces a difficult conundrum: How will News Corp cut off Mr Trump without losing his enormous audience?
Unlike other leaders dumped by Mr Murdoch, this break-up could get messy.