Meet the Murdochs and the disastrously dysfunctional family of Fox News. Until recently, they formed the most powerful media and political force in the land, for better or worse. Now their empire is cracking up and crashing down. For almost three decades, Fox News has not only made political careers (see: President Donald J. Trump) but also fundamentally altered the political landscape of the United States. It is a truism: as Fox goes, so goes the nation—into further divisiveness and awash in fake news, a gleefully polarizing company. But just as Fox has pushed America apart, now it too is coming apart. As is the family dynasty behind it.
Riveting ... By no means an ideological critique of Fox. Wolff is well aware of the network’s journalistic shortcomings, but the topic does not really interest him; indeed, one of the book’s funnier throughlines is the author’s digressive scorn for other media reporters ... It makes for an entertaining read. Wolff is interested in power and personalities, and in The Fall he offers countless lacerating portraits of the latter, and their variously effective efforts to obtain and deploy the former
A prologue in the form of a deadpan mock obituary — by far the most sober and judicious stretch of pages in this cornucopia of innuendo and convoluted prose — sets up a headlong tumble through 18 months of uncertainty and upheaval at Fox News and among its custodians in the Murdoch family ... It’s not that he thinks Fox (or Trump) is a joke, but rather that his professed ability to suspend political judgment allows him to be amused by the inner workings of power rather than appalled by its outer manifestations ... He doesn’t rely on clearly individuated anonymous sources either. Instead, assertions of fact and judgments of character emerge through a hazy collective consciousness ... The real subject of The Fall is the schism between the former president and the network that had served as his de facto propaganda arm ... The dirt-dishing and tea-spilling makes for queasy fun, and the clash of big personalities is diverting, but compared to the gaudy circus of Trumpworld, this show feels a little tame.
Wolff’s prediction that Murdoch’s death will signal 'the end of Fox News' is shaky, since his own book shows again and again how Fox succeeds not because of Rupert Murdoch but in spite of him ... Wolff has been embedded in the trenches of Fox for a while, surfacing with a haul of filthy quotes and anecdotes sewn together with casually insulting insights ... Perhaps because there is no believable end to Fox in sight, the book’s conclusion feels rather weak.