NEW YORK: Dependent on the prevailing wind, Rupert Murdoch will declare either (a) that he does exercise his proprietorial rights by "advising" his global corps of editors on the stance they must take on a given issue; or (b) that he does not.
Anecdotal evidence – including that from the great man himself – favours option (a).
So if Tuesday's New York Post, part of Murdoch's News Corporation empire, is any guide, the planet's most powerful media mogul has come out rooting for the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain.
It is reasonable to assume that the Wall Street Journal and the Fox News Network will shortly follow suit.
The Post (likely forgetting that playing the patriotism card backfired on presidential candidate John Kerry four years ago) hailed "John McClain's lifelong record of service to America, his battle-tested courage, unshakeable devotion to principle and clear grasp of the dangers and opportunities now facing the nation."
Such attributes, opined the newspaper, "stand in dramatic contrast to the tissue-paper-thin résumé of his Democratic opponent."
Having despatched Obama to electoral Valhalla almost two months before the US public makes its choice, the media mogul tossed a crumb of comfort to the contender.
He hailed "the history that is being made by the first African-American to head a major-party presidential ticket. He should be around for a long time, and we hope that he is."
The Post summarizes its proprietor's reasons for supporting the McCain-Palin ticket as: "National security, taxes, trade and energy."
Those six words, in precisely that order, are identical to those spoken by President George W Bush when addressing the electors of Blaine, Minnesota on September 16, 2004. And doubtless on hundreds of similar occasions.
What dramatist Haddon Chambers in 1888 described as "the long arm of coincidence".
Data sourced from Guardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff