OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Fox News is not thrilled with former President Donald Trump for many reasons, but one massive reason is that he intends to skip the Republican primary debate.
And apparently, the founder of Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, is urging Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to campaign against the former president for the 2024 Republican nomination, Newsmax reported.
The Virginia governor has been touted by many as someone who was able to thread the needle between pro-Trump and anti-Trump factions to capture the governorship.
He did not attack the former president, but he did not marry himself to him either.
Newsmax reported further:
Murdoch urged Youngkin to run for president in a pair of in-person meetings earlier this year and is picking up the politicking as his Fox News network has been covering Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis more harshly, sources told The Washington Post.
Youngkin has not ruled out a potential run for president in a crowded GOP field that is failing to cut into former President Donald Trump’s rock-solid base, but he has been waiting to get through this year and important November state elections that will decide the balance of power in his state of Virginia.
“Virginia’s getting attention because parents still matter, and Gov. Youngkin’s commonsense conservative leadership is working,” Dave Rexrode, the chair of Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia PAC Chair said to The Washington Post.
“There’s more to do, so the governor’s not taking his eye off Virginia. These races are too important,” he said.
But just having Murdoch support you is not a golden ticket.
“Not everyone listens to Rupert, and Rupert’s instincts are not always perfect, but he has always believed that some competition is better than none at all, and he would like to see some debate about the issues in the primary,” a source said to The Post.
Fox News has lost another top executive as the network continues to try and rebound from an eye-watering $787 million defamation settlement with Dominion Voting Systems.
According to The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, the network’s top legal officer, Viet Dinh, will be departing the company by the end of this year. Mediaite noted that Dinh was a “close confidante” of Fox News CEO Lachlan Murdoch and was a godfather to one of his sons.
“His strong position at the company waned following the settlement, some people familiar with the matter said,” the Journal reported.
The New York Times reported that instead of settling the Dominion lawsuit early, Dinh stuck with an “overly rosy scenario” that relied on free speech protections. Dominion sued Fox after multiple guests claimed the company helped rig the 2020 election outcome against then-President Donald Trump.
“He insisted that Fox was on firm legal footing and could take the case, if need be, all the way to the Supreme Court, where he believed the company would prevail on First Amendment grounds,” the Times reported.
According to reports, Dinh chose not to settle the case until just hours before it was to go to trial, which allowed Dominion’s legal team to obtain copies of internal communications during the discovery phase. They indicated that management at Fox News was skeptical of the election rigging claims.
“Fox’s legal case was severely hindered when the judge ruled that it wasn’t entitled to use a First Amendment defense,” the Journal reported.
Mediaite reported that unnamed sources have said Dinh’s departure is directly related to the massive settlement.
“He screwed up and mishandled all the legal and passed [Dominion] $787 million when they should’ve settled this right away,” a “source close to the Murdoch Camp” said. “He hung in there for a while only because he’s Lachlan’s son’s godfather.”
Another person allegedly told the outlet: “He cost the company $800 million in the lawsuit with another pending. It’s a no-brainer: You don’t settle for $800 mill and jeopardize the prized asset of Fox News without a head rolling.”