Rupert Murdoch has left Fox Corp. -- but what has he actually left behind? His side mirrors might show you.
Proponents say he was a ground-breaker in the TV entertainment business, with the Fox Television Network, and in TV news with Fox News Channel. With regard to the latter, he was said to have given an edge, strong voice to the sometimes staid, neutral coverage of news.
In other words, lots of opinion, outright partisanship, anger and everything else in between. The amplification of TV news reportage as... content!
Remember when Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity went onstage during a Trump campaign rally? That was deemed too far, too much. But only after the fact.
What is actually left for Fox News Channel, Fox News Media, and Fox Television Network? Right now many would say much of the same -- especially under his son Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox Corp.
Up until this week, his 92-year old father technically still had final say on all Fox Corp. stuff when it might matter. He is now chairman emeritus, and it’s his son who is totally in control.
Many can imagine the deposition of Rupert Murdoch by Dominion Voting Systems did a lot of damage.
Murdoch admitted he knew Fox News Channel on-air personalities spread lies about the 2020 presidential election being stolen from Donald Trump.
And to make matters worse, he allowed Fox News Channel's on-air prime-time and daytime journalists/opinion-meisters to keep on saying those falsehoods to millions of viewers -- all the while selling millions of dollars in advertising time to brand marketers for that high viewership.
All this was in addition to the frank, revealing texts and emails from anchors and Fox executives that revealed how they really felt about Donald Trump.
This also revealed a dichotomy of on-air, off-air "truths" -- something that may have loyal Fox News viewers scratching their heads but still watching the network.
Is everything for sale in the news business -- no matter how it sits around the fringes? That's a lesson that Murdoch has delivered.
The last play for Murdoch is realizing after building a fourth broadcast major channel -- Fox Television Network starting up the late 1980s with edgy entertainment, and then securing major sports franchises in the 1990s -- NFL (1994) and Major League Baseball (1996) -- the second act is much harder to get done: distributing and producing entertainment content -- movies and TV -- in a rapidly growing digital/streaming/CTV world.
So Murdoch sold off half of all its businesses -- to Walt Disney -- leaving Fox Corp. heavily focused on live sports and live news. For many this was a cop out -- that Fox did not have the stuff to compete with the big guys any longer.
While Fox continues to remain a factor in TV, its live sports and live news content is not as dominant as it was in the past.
This is the Fox that remains -- and what Murdoch sees in the rear-view mirror. What is the right road ahead? First, make some U-turns.