Eighty-one-year-old News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch has a new weekend tradition in which he takes to his unguarded (but oh so deliberate) Twitter account to sound off about current events like the presidential election and Tom Cruise's divorce. It's a silly hobby to fill his downtime, sure, but being that Murdoch is one of the most influential media moguls in the world — most notably the big Wizard behind the Oz of Fox News — each typo-ridden stray thought becomes fodder for political speculation and media hand-wringing. After once again negging Mitt Romney on Sunday, and lapping up the frenzied public response (including one from a Romney adviser), Murdoch took a little curtain call this morning.
First he trotted out for a bow:
Thanks everyone for comments.But it's Monday and time for work.See you next weekend perhaps.— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) July 2, 2012
But in addition to the Twitter chatter, there was the big follow-up, from Ben Smith at Buzzfeed, in which anonymous "people who speak to Murdoch" echoed his social-media musings. "He and others in business world don't think [Romney] can win," said one. "They also don't think he is authentic. They want [Obama] out, but Mitt does not present a compelling alternative." Another person added, "He thinks Romney is as lame as everyone else."
On MSNBC this morning, Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom was forced to shrug off the doubts, insisting, "We're happy with the state of the race. I can't respond to every tweet that Mr. Murdoch sends out, but we like the way things are."
And so Murdoch jumped at the opportunity for a full-on encore, humble-bragging about his own prominence:
Romney people upset at me!Of course I want him to win, save us from socialism, etc but should listen to good advice and get stuck in!— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) July 2, 2012
Socialism ... et cetera!
But it remains captivating to watch a man with so many channels for his opinions go for the unfiltered online megaphone. On Twitter, Murdoch has learned that he can guide the conversation without involving Roger Ailes or his major newspapers, all while steering talk away from questions involving his own splintering company. Plus, like a true newsman, he drops his little nuggets on Sunday to get in on the Monday chatter cycle. And if there was any doubt about his deftness with the medium, he slips in a little humor, too:
Do not forget July Fourth and remember to read the Declaration of Independence aloud.At least once!— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) July 2, 2012
God bless America.