Murdoch’s Anti-Obama Twitter Drive: Christie, Petraeus and More

Photograph by Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg

Rupert Murdoch in New York.

Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp. CEO at the helm of some of the world’s most influential media outlets, including Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, has close to 360,000 followers on Twitter — and they all know exactly who the boss wants for the White House.

It’s not President Barack Obama.

Murdoch, who prefers to air his unedited, unvetted, unvarnished opinions via Twitter, has increased the volume of his politically potent posts in the run-up to Election Day, making him one of the most vocal executives on U.S. politics this season.

He recently criticized Obama’s remarks that voting against Republican Mitt Romney would be the best revenge, and he’s been reminding his followers that a continued Obama presidency would be disastrous for the economy.

The media mogul also has claimed that news coverage appears to have slanted in favor of Obama — he has lamented about how the “monolithic media” appears to be pushing for the current president.

That could be considered a contrarian critique given the fact that Murdoch manages a $56 billion media company that owns the Wall Street Journal, the highest-circulating newspaper in the U.S., as well as Fox News, the highest-rated cable news network. Murdoch’s company also owns Twentieth Century Fox film studios, HarperCollins book publishers and the New York Post.

More recently, the 81-year-old executive went so far as to chastise New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his full-throated praise of President Obama’s handling of relief efforts in the wake of super-storm Sandy, which decimated the Jersey Shore:  “Christie, while thanking O, must re- declare for Romney, or take blame for next four dire years.”

Twitter’s 140-character limit fits the blunt Murdoch, who’s well known for going off-script on quarterly earnings calls with analysts and reporters.

But unlike his comfortable candor on Twitter, Murdoch has chosen to skip those conference calls for the past year after a hacking scandal erupted at one of his U.K. newspapers.

That controversy has followed Murdoch to Twitter. Most of his posts are widely re-Tweeted and often elicit sharp responses.

After a recent post on which Murdoch claimed CIA chief David Petraeus had “taken fall” for Obama’s handling of the terrorist attack in Libya, a Twitter user responded, “Who took the fall for you when you bugged all those phones?”

Murdoch didn’t reply. Instead, he followed up on his previous post by writing: “Ignore last tweet. Sorry. Petraeus has NOT taken fall for O.”

Twitter, nonetheless, remains Murdoch’s most frequent and consistent personal media outlet, questioning news reports on the latest polling data and calling out politicians.

Still, one common refrain found in Murdoch’s prolific posting is something one might not expect from an executive not shy about grousing about the Beltway powerful: “Why can’t we debate civilly?”

 

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