President Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021. Imagine if someone could go back in time and inform him and his communications team that a few pivotal changes in the media would occur during his first three years in office.

There’s the latest news that Rupert Murdoch, 92, stepped down as the chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp. on Thursday. Since the 1980s, Murdoch, who will be replaced by his son Lachlan, has been the most powerful right-wing media executive in the U.S.

Adding to Biden’s good-luck list is Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, now rebranded as X, in October 2022, prompting millions of American users to drop the social media platform, which has become a hotbed of right-wing activity and commentary.

X’s power as an influential social, political and cultural force has since continued to decline. Former President Donald Trump even originally spurned an invitation to return to X, after Twitter suspended his account in 2021. Trump has since posted one time on X, on Aug. 24.

These and other incidents are good for Biden – who, like all other politicians, remains somewhat reliant on the media to both get his word out and craft a positive public image.

Ultimately, this luck – coupled with his avoidance of news conferences – might help Biden evade the intense scrutiny that all presidents face.


A few other major media shifts have transpired during Biden’s presidency.

Fox News lost approximately 1 million nightly prime-time viewers, or about a third of its audience, between 2020 and early 2023. CNN and MSNBC ratings tanked, too, reflecting an overall decline of the cable TV news universe.

It’s also noteworthy that conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh died in February 2021, leaving a big void in right-wing talk radio. Many loyal Limbaugh listeners then deserted AM talk radio as a main way they get their news.

More recently, Fox News fired Tucker Carlson, the host of America’s most popular right-wing cable TV news program, after Carlson’s racist text messages were made public as part of the lawsuit against Fox by the Dominion Voting Systems company. Fox did regain some viewers after Carlson left.

And, finally, this month, Project Veritas, a right-wing political group known for hiding cameras to embarrass journalists and nonprofits the group considered to be politically liberal, reportedly ended all of its investigations and laid off almost all its remaining employees.

Given Biden’s low approval levels – only 40.6% of Americans said that they approved of Biden in polls this month – I cannot say that this chain of setbacks for conservative media platforms has helped Biden maintain or drawn in more voters and their support.


Nonetheless, Biden’s team has skillfully exploited the media. He has, for example, kept a relatively low public profile. In the last century, only Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon have convened fewer average annual news conferences than Biden at this point in their tenure.

But Biden’s luck may not last, even though he has benefited from right-wing media tumult in the last few years. And he hasn’t seen the emergence of a new liberal media figure with the influence of a Limbaugh or Carlson.

It’s not yet clear what Rupert Murdoch’s departure will mean for Fox News, especially since his son Lachlan is already well-established at Fox Corp. as a top executive and staunch conservative.

One potentially complicating factor is that Biden’s son Hunter is facing felony gun possession charges. So far, much of the media has avoided connecting Hunter Biden’s alleged illegal activities and access peddling with Biden himself. That offers another example of Biden’s good luck.

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