If Gawker is to believed, News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, and his longtime Fox News chief Roger Ailes, have had a falling out that may cost Ailes his job.
The alleged spat arose from the controversial near publication of O.J. Simpson’s confessional book, “If I Did It.” The backlash from what may have been the most nauseating literary endeavor ever, resulted in the very same people responsible for the deal running as far away from it as they could. It also caused the termination of Judith Regan, who put the revolting package together for her Regan Books subsidiary of HarperCollins. The project included a televised interview of Simpson to be broadcast on the Fox network.
Now, the recent departure as HarperCollins CEO, Jane Friedman, has people talking again. According to Gawker, a former News Corp. insider says that…
“Friedman got canned, in my view, for being anti-Regan. Rupert wanted the Simpson book out, and he also was taken in by Ailes, who orchestrated both the anti If I Did It campaign [against the OJ Simpson book] and the anti-Semitism campaign (this is fact), who will soon be shitcanned for the same reasons.”
The notion that Murdoch is contemplating the dismissal of the man who founded and built Fox News is, to say the least, far fetched. Their business relationship, and ideological consonance seem far to deep to be torn apart by a single disagreement. And if Murdoch is really upset that the Simpson book was scuttled, he didn’t say so at the time:
“I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project. We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.”
In all likelihood, Murdoch did want the book to be released. It fits perfectly the tabloid trashiness of his media philosophy. Then Ailes, the former campaign consultant with political instincts, stepped in and saved Murdoch’s butt by killing the deal. Whereupon Murdoch issues a thoroughly disingenuous apology designed only to save face. So even if Murdoch harbored some resentment that his morbidly exploitive, sensationalistic score was shelved, he was still in Ailes’ debt for averting the public scorn the project produced. In other words…Ailes isn’t going anywhere.