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Inside Politics

Rupert Murdoch Steps Down As Fox Chairman; Poll: Just 5 Percent Of Republicans Who Rely On Fox For Their News Think Trump Has Committed "Serious Crimes"; McCarthy Dealt Another Blow As Hard-Liners Sink Defense Bill; Ukrainian Pres. Zelenskyy Lays Wreath At 9/11 Ceremony; Republicans Split Over Sending More Aid To Ukraine; Biden Admin Sending 800 New Troops To Border Amid Migrant Crisis. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired September 21, 2023 - 12:30   ET




MANU RAJU, CNN HOST: Big news from the media world. Rupert Murdoch stepping down as chairman of Fox Corporation and News Corporation. Few people have had a bigger impact on American politics in the 21st century than the 92-year-old media mogul.

CNN Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy is joining me now. Oliver, you've covered all aspects of the media and in Fox. What do we think about this change? Why did this happen now and what impact will him stepping aside have?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, this is a big moment, Manu. Rupert Murdoch is one of the most powerful people in the world, and that's because of his media companies. Fox Corporation, which he has been the chairman of, is the parent company of Fox News, and News Corporation is the parent company of papers like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, and has a publishing arm.

And so, he has been very powerful, not only in the world of media, but also in the world of politics. And this is a big moment, obviously, with the 2024, presidential cycle heating up. Donald Trump set to be on trial next year. It's a big moment in politics.

And so Rupert Murdoch is now stepping down. But I think people should be cautious and not jump to the conclusion that that means that the editorial bent of his companies is going to change.

I want to read to you actually what he writes in his memo to staffer suggesting that Lachlan Murdoch is actually going to continue the tradition of allowing these companies to be right-wing in nature. He talks about, he says that, there is a battle for the freedom of speech, for the freedom of thought, and he writes that, self-serving bureaucracies are seeking to silence those who question their providence and purpose.

Elites have open contempt, he says, for those who are not members of their rarified class. Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth.

Of course, Manu, it would be irresponsible for me to read that to you without pointing out that Rupert Murdoch himself talks about people peddling narratives and not the truth when he just paid $787 million to Dominion Voting Systems for knowingly advancing falsehoods about the 2020 election.

But there's also a host of other things his networks like Fox News have done. You know, Murdoch was one of the first receivers of the COVID-19 vaccine. His media companies obviously pushed a lot of falsehoods about that. So, his note's a little rich, but he's suggesting that Fox News and the other companies are going to continue, pushing this political worldview.

RAJU: So Lachlan Murdoch is in charge for now. So tell us about the impact of him now being in charge, and also the long-term succession plans for Fox.

DARCY: I think that's the big question. So right now, you won't really -- you shouldn't anticipate seeing any big changes at these companies. You know, Murdoch's still saying he's going to be around and look in a role where he talks or thinks about the big picture day to day.

And so, the big question though is what happens when he does pass. And then you have potentially a power struggle because the kids have voting rights with their shares. And so, does Lachlan remain atop these companies as Rupert Murdoch is trying to, you know, install them?

Right now, Rupert's basically trying to seat Lachlan Murdoch, who is his chosen heir, on the throne, you know, place the crown on his head and have him in place as the successor. But the question is, when he does pass, and the other kids have voting rights, does Lachlan remain in that seat? And that's yet to be determined.

RAJU: Big moment in politics and in the media. Thank you, Oliver Darcy, for that.

Our panel back here with us. Audie, it's really hard to overstate just the impact that Rupert Murdoch has had on our political discourse in this century.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, when you think about Fox going back to 1996, this is the start of a really big cable news war, so to speak. Obviously, CNN predated that. But he introduced the sort of right-wing radio voice to television. And I think that that has had a great effect, whether, you know, people say for good or ill.

RAJU: Yes, and look, there is also the impact on the viewers, what -- how viewers view what -- they're hearing from Fox News versus the rest of the media. This is an interesting poll that the New York Times/Siena poll that asked about Donald Trump and asked about whether or not Trump has committed serious crimes.

According to Fox, likely GOP voters. OK, so these are Fox News viewers, likely GOP voters. Trump asked the question, has Trump committed serious crimes? 5 percent, just 5 percent. He's been indicted four times, of course.


Mainstream -- people who watch mainstream media, 38 percent said serious crimes. GOP should stick by Trump. Again, these are Republican voters who are consuming Fox News. 85 percent say they should stick with Trump. Just 49 percent of Republican voters who watch mainstream media think that Republicans should stick by Donald Trump. That's pretty striking.

DANIEL STRAUSS, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It is, and look, we're in the middle of a presidential election, Manu, and I can't help but wonder and watch Fox News closely now to see if this is an opening for any other candidate than Trump.

There's been, in the past, there was a pretty clear alliance between Donald Trump and Fox News. Since then, that's frayed. Trump is, outwardly hostile at moments to Fox News. Now, if you're another candidate in this field, maybe you're wondering if you can build a similar alliance and gain an advantage in this primary.

RAJU: What do you think?

MOLLY BALL, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, TIME: Yes, I'm not an expert on any of this, but it does seem like, as Oliver was saying, you know, a, Rupert is still going to have a say, and, b, Lachlan, if anything, was picked because he represents the most continuity with his father's vision, that he was the chosen heir because Rupert Murdoch feels that he will continue things as they are. So I would expect more continuity there.

CORNISH: Not to step on Oliver's territory, but if we look around the landscape, news is struggling, right? Leadership is very significant to how any of these networks go forward, including our own. And it -- people at the network level are feeling this, people on the cable news level are feeling this.

And maybe Murdoch also looked ahead and said, I better make sure that this is going on the path that I think will lead to success, because it is very wobbly out there with Wall Street and with the reality of what's going on in television.

RAJU: And we'll see what impact it has on the campaign trail, if any at all.

Up next, we talk to Republican Congressman Bob Good about the ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill to avert a government shutdown.



RAJU: We're just 10 days away from a government shutdown and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was just dealt another blow. His hardliner sank the defense funding bill.

Here with me now, Republican Congressman Bob Good of Virginia. He's a member of the House Freedom Caucus. Congressman, thank you so much for coming in on a very, very busy day. You supported moving forward with this defense bill right now. What is your level of concern with your own members who sank this on the floor just moments ago?

REP. BOB GOOD (R), FREEDOM CAUCUS: Well, while I voted for the bill to proceed, and I voted for it a day or two ago when you last had it, because often you're doing what you think is most right when it comes to policy or strategy decisions.

And I understand the concerns of some of my colleagues and what they're asking for and what I have been asking for actually, is that the speaker commits the top line number and that we see the whole puzzle on how all 12 spending bills fit together to achieve the agreed upon top line number.

And some have concern about passing the bill with the spending increase that we agree with 28 billion for defense. But they want to see also simultaneously bills being brought forward that'll bring the spending cuts that'll bring us in line with the number that we've agreed to.

RAJU: Yes. Look, so they stopped this bill going forward, but this is the yearlong bill. We have an immediate issue we have to deal with in Congress to actually keep the government open past September 30th.

The Speaker yesterday laid out a new plan to keep the government open for a month. We have some conditions in it, it has some deals with border security, it has cuts in there. It sounds like you are on board with that idea, is that right?

GOOD: Well, I've never been someone who said I would never vote for a CR on any conditions. What I've said is I wouldn't vote for an unconditional CR, and I support what the House Freedom Caucus put out as our official position back in August, where we said we wouldn't vote for a CR, a continuing resolution that didn't cut our spending and didn't have some policy wins for the American people such as securing the border.

RAJU: So the bill that he put, well yesterday, you would vote for that, that he suggested yesterday?

GOOD: So, and just to clarify, it was member driven, members coming together trying to find the best path forward, what's the lowest spending number we could commit to it to get 218 votes. Securing the border is very important to the Republican Party. Sadly, it is not important to the Democrat Party.

I fear Schumer will shut down the government rather than helping us shut down the border. But I do support with the agreement on the top line spending bills on how we're going to cut our spending and advance our policies to reverse the harm and in which the Americans are suffering. These policies from the Biden, Pelosi, Schumer regime that American people are suffering under that destroying the country, reverse those policies, cut our spending. If we agree to do that on top line level, I do support a CR that gives us a little bit of time to eliminate the impact of a short pause in non-essential funding --


GOOD: -- or not non-essential operations that includes securing the border. I hope the Senate would take that up also and allow us to secure the border and cut our spending to keep the government open.

RAJU: I just want to pause here with you, Congressman, because we're looking at live pictures of President Zelenskyy at the Pentagon. He's with the Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, and other White House officials. Let's listen in.





RAJU: OK, you see that solemn moment there. The president of Ukraine with Lloyd Austin and -- laying a wreath there at the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon. This comes, of course, Congressman, as Zelenskyy was in the Capitol today making the pitch for more aid to Ukraine, $24 billion in aid to Ukraine.

There is going to be a big push to try to get this in the bill to keep the government open past September 30th. What do you say, if that comes to the House, and Kevin McCarthy is under pressure to put it on the floor, what would you say to him?

GOOD: Well, I have to tell you, as I watch that video, and we're reminded of the greatest tragedy of the last 20 years in our country, 9/11, and the president was the first president ever to not attend a 9/11 event to commemorate that to memorialize that, I did that even in my own district. I ran a 9/11 memorial stair challenge to commemorate and remember what our first responders did on that day and what they do on every day.

In addition, the President is terribly compromising this country, has done irreparable harm to the country with the border invasion he has allowed, with 1.5 million criminal gotaways, the ones with terrorist ties, criminal ties, 160 different countries, and the President doesn't care about who he has allowed into the country and continues to allow into the country every day.

We will only know the irreparable harm that's been done. Once the border is secured by the next administration and their accomplices are no longer coming in, think about that, 1.5 million. If 10 percent of them are evil individuals who would determine -- intend harm on our country, that'd be 150,000. If only 1 percent are, it'd be 15,000. RAJU: But I'm asking you about the --

GOOD: The President should be impeached because of the border. With respect to Ukraine, you know, we had a bill in the House or an amendment to the -- to say, hey, we ought to at least have a strategy and a plan from the administration in order to give more funds for Ukraine. And that was sadly voted down on the House that we're going to continue to give money without a strategy or a plan.

I have not seen what is the limit of the U.S. involvement from this administration? What's the accountability for the funds that have already been sent? What is our direct national security interest to lead us to borrow, to borrow from our kids and grandkids to further exacerbate our spending situation, our debt situation, and to further deplete our own military reserves when this administration has depleted and weakened our military since he became president?

RAJU: Can Kevin McCarthy still be speaker of the House if he puts a bill on the floor of the House to fund Ukraine?

GOOD: I don't -- I haven't heard vehement opposition that the Speaker can't put a bill on the floor to fund Ukraine. I think what we're actually calling for is a Ukraine -- any funding for Ukraine ought to be in a standalone bill on the floor so we can vote it up or down and not have it slid into something else like part of a CR or part of an omnibus or something like that, and it ought to be voted up and down.

That's what we're paid to do. That's what the people elect us to do is to take tough votes, to let our constituents know where we stand. And we all do that in Ukraine as well.

RAJU: This is, as we're talking about the stopgap resolution, the continuing resolution or CR as it's known here in Washington. There's a big question about how this gets resolved. Let's just say you guys get this proposal out of the House. That's still an open question, whether it actually gets passed -- it passes.

Goes over to the Senate. The Senate's going to change it, they're going to change it, and they're going to send it back. If Kevin McCarthy agrees to move forward with a bill that has the support of a large number of Democrats, would you vote to eject him from the speakership?


GOOD: Well, think about that. If we send a bill that cuts $10 billion in spending and secures the border, and keeps the government open while we continue to negotiate our spending bills and try to pass them out of the House and the Senate, you mean to tell me Chuck Schumer is going to orchestrate a Schumer shutdown, frankly, where when we're running about a $200 billion deficit every month, he can't agree to $10 billion in spending cuts --

RAJU: But would you vote to take it?

GOOD: -- and to secure the border. He would rather shut down the government than secure the border. That's on Chuck Schumer.

RAJU: But would you vote to vacate Kevin McCarthy if he agrees to pass a bill with the support of Democrats?

GOOD: I have never cavalierly or flippantly thrown around motion to vacate. I haven't talked about that in a public way. We expect the Speaker and the Republican leadership to help advance Republican priorities, Republican policy objectives, to do what he committed to do in order to become speaker.

And we will evaluate him based on whether or not he does that. And I've said, you know, that, I think he's accountable to do that, and every speaker should be accountable to do that. And that's why motion to vacate was an important thing to have put back in the House rules, as it was for 200 years before Nancy Pelosi removed it.

RAJU: Well, Mr. Good, thank you for coming in, sharing your insight, your views. We appreciate a lot to watch in the next week or so.

GOOD: Thank you.

RAJU: The White House is taking major action after a surge of migrants at the border. We'll live -- we're live in Eagle Pass, Texas, next.


RAJU: The White House is sending 800 new active duty troops to the southern border. As we see pictures like this almost daily now. Crowds of migrants under a bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas. Another 3,000 crossed the border here yesterday alone.

Let's get right to the scene with CNN's Ed Lavandera who is live for us from Eagle Pass. Ed, tell us what you're seeing.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey Manu, we're here in Eagle Pass on the banks of the river, just on the other side of this concertina wire that has been set up by state authorities here in Eagle Pass.


You can see a large group of migrants and they have been waiting down there in the water. They have crossed over and they have been sitting there and waiting there for hours and hours trying to figure out how to turn themselves in to federal border authorities.

They can't make it through the wire there. This extends for several miles along the banks of the Rio Grande here in Eagle Pass. And this really kind of captures the tension that is unfolding here in this city where we have seen about 3,000 migrants, according to local authorities that arrived here yesterday.

2,700 the day before. We've already seen hundreds and hundreds more arriving, making their way around and turning themselves into authorities here. It's all very orderly process as they turn themselves in. But these kinds of situations turn into a chaotic and potentially, dangerous and deadly situation.

As over the last few months, there have been various cases where people have been swept away in the currents of this river. So a very dangerous situation here. I've been speaking with these migrants who insist they will not return to the other side because, a, it's too dangerous.

Many of them have also told me here this morning that they've tried to go through the legal process of requesting asylum to turn themselves in and they say they've been waiting months and months to get through that online application process to no avail.

And that's why they've gotten to the point now where they've said they're willing to turn themselves in, even though many of them know that crossing this way into the U.S., the likelihood of being deported is rather high. There say -- many of them have been telling me that they're willing to take that risk because they're tired of waiting on the other side.

So that is the dynamic and the reality that authorities here and local officials are dealing with. This is -- people here in -- or the officials here in Eagle Pass say that their shelter capacity and their ability to handle this magnitude of numbers of migrants is simply running out.

RAJU: Thanks, Ed Lavandera, for that report on the scene.

And thank you for joining INSIDE POLITICS. "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts right after this break.