It's slipped through the cracks, but Rupert Murdoch just told the world what the world has already long known.
Today, Mr. Murdoch sent out a tweet about Chris Christie's praise of President Obama's efforts during the recent hurricane crisis. Yes, okay, the tweet itself did get attention.
Fair enough. Everyone has figured pretty easily that the Romney campaign and Republicans in general are sort of pissed off at Gov. Christie [R-NJ] for being honest in praising someone for doing a good job at a time of crisis.
But look closer at what Mr. Murdoch wrote. That part at the end. Take a look at it:
"Christie, while thanking O, must re-declare for Romney, or take blame for next four dire years."
Yes, okay, again, I know, its what you expect him to say. So, big deal. Except... no, it's not what you expect him to say. Because he's never before said it.
Keep in mind that Rupert Murdoch is the owner of "Fox News." And yes, while not everyone considers "Fox News" to be an actual news organization, "Fox News" itself likes to contend publicly and vociferously that it is. That it's "Fair and Balanced." That it merely reports the facts and lets you decide.
Real journalists. Fair. Balanced. Unbiased. Impartial.
But now, the guy who heads all that just told you, publicly, that he believes anyone who helps the Democrat has to take the "blame for next four dire years."
Now, no matter how much you may or may not agree with that assessment of the next four years -- do you think that statement is unbiased? Presuming you're unbiased enough to be fair and balanced about it, of course.
Consider for a moment if the owner of CBS, NBC or ABC wrote something similar about Mitt Romney. That they said if some Democrats was helping the Republican nominee, "Must re-declare for Obama, or take blame for next four dire years."
There would be howls so loud you could hear them in the Cayman Islands.
And you know, they'd be right.
News organizations -- and we're most particularly talking about the people at the top who head those news organization and drive the direction -- do not declare favorites, nor play them. Do not. Even in the past, when Rupert Murdoch has discussed fairness, he's done his best to seem richly impartial himself in public statements. (Though he's had a few, subtle slips, like mentioning donations to the Republican Party.) Indeed, even Mr. Murdoch has -- at least publicly -- understood the important foundation of journalism and played that public game well, and grasped that the public expects news organizations to be fair, to not declare favorites, to not play favorites. Because news organization -- and we're most particularly talking about the people who head those news organization and drive the direction -- do not declare favorites, nor play them. Do not.
Yes, I know that the far right believes that the media is all biased, that it's a liberal media. It's not, but okay, I accept that the far right believes this. But even believing it, the far right has to acknowledge that none of the owners of these news organizations has had the indecency to not only proclaim favoritism, but a favoritism so monumentally grandiose that they're directing what candidates must do, while predicting disaster ahead if their side loses. It just isn't done. Ever. If you believe otherwise, show your work.
We're not talking reporters or analysts someone may not like. That's a debate that can go on forever. We're only talking the people who actually own the freaking organizations. Who set the direction. Who lead the way. Only.
But even going further and bending way over backwards and accepting what the far right believes about the media, that their worst fears are true, that it does happen, that the media is liberal and awful and despicable, that still misses the issue.
It's beside the point.
All that doesn't matter.
The issue at hand isn't the supposed "liberal media."
The issue is that Rupert Murdoch, Godfather of all things Fox and "Fox News," Patron Saint of phone hacking, has personally declared publicly that he is deeply conservative. That he is so deeply conservative that he considers the unknown future of a Democratic presidency to be "dire." That he is so actively deeply conservative that he wants to direct the actions of Republican public officials, how the "must" act.
The point here is that "Fox News" can no longer consider itself "fair and balanced." Because its boss has just declared it not to be.
The point here is that viewers of "Fox News" can no longer hide behind the façade that it is the only news that's impartial. Because the owner has just declared it not to be.
The point here is that the "Fox News" myth is now officially gone. Gone.
Yes, I know that the Myth has existed only in fairy tales. But it did exist, as a Myth, even if just in the minds of the close-minded disbelievers. However, it can no longer even exist as even a Myth there.
Viewers and defenders of "Fox News" now have a choice -- they can either believe what Rupert Murdoch, the Patron Saint of Fox, just specifically told them, that Fox is biased...or they can not know what to believe. Because if they can't believe Fox, then everyone else must be correct.
Hint: Both are true...
Follow Robert J. Elisberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertElisberg