Continuing a trend of recruiting members of the ultra-wealthy business elite to advise and run his forthcoming administration, Republican President-elect Donald Trump reportedly asked 21st Century Fox/News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch who he'd want to run the Federal Communications Commission.
New York Magazine's Gabriel Sherman reported that a high-level source confirmed Trump sought names for who should replace outbound FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler from Murdoch. While the ultimate responsibility for the appointment lies with Trump, a Murdoch pick could essentially align the federal government's highest telecommunications authority with the interests of one of its biggest right-wing broadcasters.
As progressive group Media Matters noted, every four years, the FCC reviews "cross-ownership" rules restricting monopoly control of media markets across the country. These rules have at times frustrated Murdoch's attempts to take control of more U.S. media outlets.
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks emphatically denied Murdoch had provided favored candidates to the president-elect's transition team, as well as that Murdoch was advising the president in any capacity, writing "NO" in an email to Mic.
According to Sherman, Murdoch dropped a minor feud with the president-elect — which began during the 2016 campaign — now that Trump has won the nation's highest office.
Trump's transition team is opposed to net neutrality — the principle that telecommunications companies should be prevented from discriminating between different kinds of data — as are many major media conglomerates. Transition officials have also argued the FCC should be stripped of most of its authority, though Trump has argued the proposed ATT-Time Warner merger, which falls under the agency's purview and is opposed by Murdoch, should be stopped.