A generational change will be transforming Fox News, talk show host Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday.
Limbaugh said the changes boil down to the increasing roles of James and Lachlan Murdoch, sons of 21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch, in the operation of Fox News.
“A younger generation of Murdochs is coming up. They’re not conservative and their friends chide them and laugh at them, their wives work for the Clinton Global Initiative or some other thing, and it’s an embarrassment,” he said, outlining the reason why the younger Murdochs want to overhaul Fox.
But there is more than just image on the table, Limbaugh explained..
“But yet over here, (the network) is 25 percent of the profits, the entire 21st Century Fox. So they’re trying to gradually transform it and trying to keep it content-wise still something you can’t get anywhere else. But it’s a precarious situation,” he said.
During his show, Limbaugh quoted Vanity Fair writer Sarah Ellison from her appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box. Ellison wrote a piece for Vanity Fair on Monday titled “The Nightmare is Only Beginning at Fox News.”
On CNBC, Ellison voiced similar comments to those made by Limbaugh. She said the younger Murdochs “do have an idea of what they want the place to be, but they’re not stupid enough to want to change the market position of what their father created with Roger Ailes, and so I think they’re stuck a little bit.”
“They want to have a culture change,” Ellison said. “I’ve heard they are sort of embarrassed by some of what is on Fox News. They certainly don’t have the kind of relationship that their father did with the talent at Fox News, but they also want the profits.”
In her Vanity Fair piece, Ellison said the departure of Fox News co-president Bill Shine “might indeed be the biggest blow of all” but still one that will not dent the ratings.
Ellison quoted someone she labeled an “industry insider” to explain how Fox would survive.
“Bill Shine leaving is not going to hurt their ratings,” Ellison quoted her source as saying. “If you are an old guy on a Tuesday night who wants to turn your TV on when you get home from your bowling league and listen to someone talk about how great the president is, you have no choice.”
Limbaugh has also said the Murdochs are not the only force threatening Fox News.
“The left cannot beat Fox News in the arena of cable news. The media, the left, cannot beat Fox News. The only option they have is to destroy it,” Limbaugh said. “The standard operating procedure for the left is not to level the playing field but to close it. It’s to deny participation on the playing field, not level it. No tolerance. No fairness. Their objective is to destroy the opposition because they can’t beat the opposition in the arena of competition where both entities are battling — and that would be, in this case, cable.”
Limbaugh said the dynamics of Fox have changed, and more changes are coming.
“It’s not gonna be the way it is for long. There’s a … shakeup coming, and it’s generational. It’s generational and political. It’s just like anything else: Nothing ever is constantly the same. There’s change everywhere,” he said.