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Has Trump lost Murdoch’s backing?

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s US outlets and the man himself have long been seen as keen Donald Trump supporters – but there may be a change of tone afoot.

Murdoch’s Fox News, the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal all seem to be preparing their audiences for his defeat, and distancing themselves from the president.

Fox News angered Trump on election night by calling Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden. Since then, the network has largely stepped around the president’s unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.

“We just haven’t seen it. It hasn’t been presented to us,” Fox News host Brett Baier said on air on Friday.

That said, Fox star Sean Hannity, who’s close to Trump, declared on Thursday evening: “Americans have every right to be suspicious… to distrust the legitimacy of the results.”

Though Trump has repeatedly questioned the integrity of the vote, he has offered no evidence of fraud. Election observers engaged to ensure a free and fair process have said they witnessed nothing untoward.

Fox, which helped Trump to power in 2016, seems to be preparing viewers for a Trump exit – and offering advice on how he should go about it.

Host Laura Ingraham, also seen as close to Trump, said on air: “If and when it’s time to accept an unfavourable outcome in this election, and we hope it never comes, but if and when that does happen, President Trump needs to do it with the same grace and composure he demonstrated at that town hall with Savannah Guthrie. So many people remarked about his tone and presence. Exactly what he needs.

“Now losing, especially when you believe the process wasn’t fair, it’s a gut punch. And I’m not conceding anything tonight, by the way. But losing, if that’s what happens – it’s awful. But President Trump’s legacy will only become more significant if he focuses on moving the country forward.”

Murdoch’s newspaper the Wall Street Journal has carried an opinion piece, entitled The Presidential Endgame, with a similar message.

“Mr Trump hates to lose, and no doubt he will fight to the end. But if defeat comes, he will serve himself and his country best by honoring America’s democratic traditions and leaving office with dignity,” it said.

And Murdoch’s tabloid New York Post ran two opinion pieces on Friday that made the assumption that Trump would probably lose the election.

As the vote count drags on, the Post has not embraced any of Trump’s unsubstantiated statements about voter fraud and the election being stolen from him.

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