Former Hillary Clinton supporter Rupert Murdoch left no doubt that he’s turned against Hillary when his New York Post ran a Page One announcement endorsing her rival Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The Post’s scathing anti-Clinton editorial was a 180 degree turnaround from just two years ago when Murdoch — head of the News Corporation — endorsed Hillary’s Senate re-election effort and even held a fundraiser for her campaign.
But a New York Times analysis of the Post’s Obama endorsement suggests that payback may have been a motive.
Apparently Murdoch was not happy when Clinton joined other Democratic candidates, led by then candidate John Edwards, in boycotting planned debates to be sponsored by Fox News, another News Corp. holding.
“Fox News and the Post are corporate siblings, although they’re not particularly close,” The New York Times reported. “Still, Mr. Murdoch certainly took note of the fact that the courtesies extended to Mrs. Clinton — a muted presence in the gossip columns of [the Post’s] Page Six, more balance in the news pages — did not seem to be returned in kind.”
In announcing its backing of Obama, the Post ran the larger-than-usual front-page headline “Post Endorses Obama,” and cited as a major reason for the endorsement that Obama “is not Team Clinton. That counts for a great deal.”
The editorial also said that Hillary represented “a return to the opportunistic, scandal-scarred, morally muddled years of the almost infinitely self-indulgent Clinton co-presidency.”
The next day, the Post endorsed John McCain for the Republican nomination — with a smaller headline.
According to the Times, Murdoch’s erstwhile backing of Hillary was a practical matter, as he sought to establish a good working relationship with one of New York’s senators.
But the Post made it clear when it endorsed Clinton for the Senate that there was “no endorsement of what were assumed to be her broader ambitions,” the Times observed.
The Post said at the time: “We think she’s done such a good job these last six years that she’d do well to serve six more. If not 12. Re-elect Hillary. In 2012.”
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