- 1 Who owns The Sun tabloid in UK
- 2 Why did Rupert Murdoch step down
- 3 What is the political stance of the Guardian
- 4 How did Murdoch get so rich
- 5 Did James Murdoch quit
- 6 Did Rupert Murdoch have a strike
- 7 What does Rupert Murdoch still own
- 8 Which Murdoch left
Who owns The Sun tabloid in UK
Rupert Murdoch’s Handover To Son Lachlan Sparks Concern In London September 22, 2023
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Jewel SAMAD Rupert Murdoch’s announcement that he will hand over control of his global media empire to son Lachlan has put the group’s British media, including the tabloid The Sun, on tenterhooks about its future place in the conglomerate. Concern about what the future holds for the UK arm of the empire centres on Lachlan’s ties to Britain which are widely viewed as much weaker than his father’s. SPENCER PLATT
- News Corp, is one of two legs of the 92-year-old billionaire’s media conglomerate, the other being Fox Corporation.
- The UK arm last year also launched the right-wing television station TalkTV.
- The handover will see Murdoch becoming honorary president of the two companies in mid-November.
- Born in 1931 in Australia, Rupert Murdoch studied at Oxford University before returning in the late 1960s to buy the weekly News of the World and The Sun, making him a hugely influential figure in British political life.
- His second wife Anna Torv was also a Scottish-born journalist.
- Lachlan Murdoch, 52, although born in the UK, was raised in the United States and started his career in Australia.
- Until now he has been president of Fox Corporation, parent company of Fox News, and was mainly in charge of the group’s US affairs.
- The transfer of power to a successor who appears to have little personal attachment to the UK has inevitably prompted some concern.
- “The inevitable appointment of Lachlan is bad news for the London arm (he has hardly visited here these last ten years),” former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie said in a column for the Spectator on Thursday.
- The UK arm of Murdoch’s empire has lost its lustre in recent years amid the digital transition and a phone-hacking scandal that saw victims of crime, celebrities and public figures including members of the royal family snooped on by Murdoch journalists.
- That scandal led to the closure in 2011 of the weekly News of the World newspaper in 2011, a title the Murdoch had owned since 1969.
- For many years The Sun was the most widely read newspaper in the UK.
- It has not published figures since March 2020 when its circulation stood at just over 1.2 million
CARL COURT It remains, however, the second largest media outlet online with more than 24 million readers each month, behind the BBC, according to recent data from industry publication Press Gazette. According to Alice Enders, of Enders Analysis which specialises in the media sector, the strength of Lachlan Murdoch’s personal connections to the UK are not the real issue.
- That’s not the question.
- The question is who owns the shares” in the group.
- She said Rupert Murdoch was “not going to leave completely.
- He remains the owner and retains control.” “Lachlan will not be able to launch a major transaction of sale or acquisition without the approval of his father”, she added.
It would in any case, she said, “make no sense to part company with The Times” at a time when its direct competitor, the Telegraph, and the influential conservative magazine The Spectator, are being put up for sale after the Barclay family lost control of their media empire.
- The Barron’s news department was not involved in the creation of the content above.
- This story was produced by AFP.
- For more information go to,© Agence France-Presse Rupert Murdoch’s announcement that he will hand over control of his global media empire to son Lachlan has put the group’s British media, including the tabloid The Sun, on tenterhooks about its future place in the conglomerate.
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Why did Rupert Murdoch step down
Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of the board of both Fox Corp. and News Corp., the companies said Thursday. The move will be official in November. Murdoch, 92, will be appointed chairman emeritus of each company. Lachlan Murdoch, one of his sons, will become sole chairman of News Corp.
And will continue as Fox Corp.’s executive chair and CEO. “Our companies are in robust health, as am I,” the elder Murdoch said in a note to employees. “We have every reason to be optimistic about the coming years – I certainly am, and plan to be here to participate in them. But the battle for the freedom of speech and, ultimately, the freedom of thought, has never been more intense.” Murdoch is stepping away from the boards after a tumultuous year at Fox’s TV network, soon after the company agreed to pay a $787.5 million settlement in the Dominion Voting Systems’ defamation lawsuit over false claims that the company’s machines swayed the 2020 election between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump,
Murdoch’s continued role behind the scenes at Fox News was highlighted in the months leading up the Dominion settlement. In his deposition for the lawsuit, Murdoch said some of the network’s anchors parroted false claims in the months following the election.
- Until the settlement, Dominion was calling for Murdoch, his son, and other top Fox talent and executives to take the stand if a trial occurred.
- At the time, Fox had opposed having the elder Murdoch — as well as other top Fox executives — appearing in person, citing his age.
- A Delaware judge rejected the argument, and had said Fox wouldn’t have been able to argue hardship given Murdoch’s engagement that was later called off and his publicly discussed travel plans.
Since July 2022, Murdoch had worked from his home in Montana rather than going into Fox or News Corp. offices, according to a securities filing. Fox News also saw top talent Tucker Carlson exit earlier this year, followed by a dip in ratings for a period before he was replaced.
- Murdoch’s departure also comes a year ahead of the upcoming U.S.
- Presidential election.
- News Corp.
- Owns newspapers The Wall Street Journal and New York Post, among other publications, while Fox is the parent company of right-leaning TV networks Fox News and Fox Business.
- The Australian media mogul got his start in the industry nearly 70 years ago in 1954, after taking control of what was called News Ltd., which owned the No.2 newspaper in Adelaide, Australia.
His father was a war correspondent and regional newspaper owner. From there he built his newspaper empire, stretching to racy tabloids in Britain and later the U.S. In the 1980s, he entered the television business, and bought oil tycoon Marvin Davis’ 50% stake in Twentieth Century Fox in 1985.
He became a U.S. citizen that year in order to meet the requirement for owning TV stations in the country. In 1996 the Fox News Channel was launched, and has since become a top-rated cable network. “For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change,” Murdoch said in his note to employees, adding it was time for him to take on different roles.
Nearly a year ago, Murdoch explored reuniting Fox and News Corp., a move that would have allowed leadership to be consolidated in his media empire, as well as cutting costs. Murdoch had split up News Corp. and Fox in 2013. The proposal had come as audiences shrink for both print media and cable TV, while readers and viewers increasingly get their news and entertainment from online news, social media and streaming.
- However, Murdoch called off the proposed merger in January.
- Murdoch had withdrawn the proposal for the reunion, saying in a letter to the board that he and his son “determined that a combination is not optimal for the shareholders” of either of the companies at the time.
- The Murdoch family trust controls roughly 40% of the voting rights of both companies.
The family is said to have amassed a fortune of more than $17 billion as of 2023. Fox and its broadcast and pay TV networks are left over from the $71.3 billion Twenty-First Century Fox sale to Disney in 2019. The media company has focused on news and sports — primarily for its traditional TV networks — as well as the free, ad-supported streamer Tubi, rather than jumping into the direct-to-consumer subscription streaming business like its peers.
- Fox, which saw its stock move up slightly on Thursday, has a market cap of more than $15.5 billion.
- News Corp.
- Has a market cap of more than $11 billion.
- The Murdochs’ time and power in media has been chronicled over the years in books, as well as considered to be loosely portrayed in the HBO series “Succession.” In coming days, Michael Wolff’s “The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty,” will be released and is said to include more revelations about the Murdoch family, U.S.
politics and Fox News. Read Murdoch’s full note to employees: Dear Colleagues, I am writing to let you all know that I have decided to transition to the role of Chairman Emeritus at Fox and News. For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change.
But the time is right for me to take on different roles, knowing that we have truly talented teams and a passionate, principled leader in Lachlan who will become sole Chairman of both companies. Neither excessive pride nor false humility are admirable qualities. But I am truly proud of what we have achieved collectively through the decades, and I owe much to my colleagues, whose contributions to our success have sometimes been unseen outside the company but are deeply appreciated by me.
Whether the truck drivers distributing our papers, the cleaners who toil when we have left the office, the assistants who support us or the skilled operators behind the cameras or the computer code, we would be less successful and have less positive impact on society without your day-after-day dedication.
- Our companies are in robust health, as am I.
- Our opportunities far exceed our commercial challenges.
- We have every reason to be optimistic about the coming years – I certainly am, and plan to be here to participate in them.
- But the battle for the freedom of speech and, ultimately, the freedom of thought, has never been more intense.
My father firmly believed in freedom, and Lachlan is absolutely committed to the cause. Self-serving bureaucracies are seeking to silence those who would question their provenance and purpose. Elites have open contempt for those who are not members of their rarefied class.
- Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth.
- In my new role, I can guarantee you that I will be involved every day in the contest of ideas.
- Our companies are communities, and I will be an active member of our community.
- I will be watching our broadcasts with a critical eye, reading our newspapers and websites and books with much interest, and reaching out to you with thoughts, ideas, and advice.
When I visit your countries and companies, you can expect to see me in the office late on a Friday afternoon. I look forward to seeing you wherever you work and whatever your responsibility. And I urge you to make the most of this great opportunity to improve the world we live in.
Who owns most UK newspapers?
Print – Freedom of the press was established in Great Britain in 1695. Founded by publisher John Walter in 1785, The Times is the first newspaper to have borne that name, lending it to numerous other papers around the world, and is the originator of the widely used Times Roman typeface, created by Victor Lardent and commissioned by Stanley Morison in 1931.
Newspaper and publishing magnate Alfred Harmsworth played a major role in “shaping the modern press” – Harmsworth introduced or harnessed “broad contents, subordinate regional markets, independence from party control” – and was called “the greatest figure who ever strode down Fleet Street.” The Economist was founded by James Wilson in 1843, and the daily Financial Times was founded in 1888.
Founding The Gentleman’s Magazine in 1731, Edward Cave coined the term ” magazine ” for a periodical, and was the first publisher to successfully fashion a wide-ranging publication. Founded by Thomas Gibson Bowles, Vanity Fair featured caricatures of famous people for which it is best known today.
A pioneer of children’s publishing, John Newbery made children’s literature a sustainable and profitable part of the literary market. The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes was published by Newbery in 1765. Founded by Sir Allen Lane in 1935, Penguin Books revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its inexpensive paperbacks, bringing high-quality paperback fiction and non-fiction to the mass market.
Formed in 1940, Puffin Books is the children’s imprint of Penguin Books. Barbara Euphan Todd ‘s scarecrow story, Worzel Gummidge, was the first Puffin story book in 1941. The Guinness Book of Records was the brainchild of Sir Hugh Beaver,E.L. James ‘ erotic romance trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed, have sold over 125 million copies globally, and set the record in the United Kingdom as the fastest selling paperback.
Copyright laws originated in Britain with the Statute of Anne (also known as the Copyright Act 1709), which outlined the individual rights of the artist. A right to benefit financially from the work is articulated, and court rulings and legislation have recognised a right to control the work, such as ensuring that the integrity of it is preserved.
The Statute of Anne gave the publishers rights for a fixed period, after which the copyright expired. The United Kingdom print publishing sector, including books, server, directories and databases, journals, magazines and business media, newspapers and news agencies, has a combined turnover of around £20 billion and employs around 167,000 people.
Popular national newspapers include The Times, Financial Times, The Guardian, and The Daily Telegraph, According to a 2021 report by the Media Reform Coalition, 90% of the UK-wide print media is owned and controlled by just three companies, Reach plc (formerly Trinity Mirror), News UK and DMG Media,
This figure was up from 83% in 2019. The report also found that six companies operate 83% of local newspapers. The three largest local publishers—Newsquest, Reach and JPI Media—each control a fifth of local press market, more than the share of the smallest 50 local publishers combined.
What organization owns the sun?
The Sun is a British tabloid daily newspaper owned by News UK, a subsidiary of right- wing, Australian-born American media baron Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Why are British tabloids so extreme?
Competitive edge – What pushes the British tabloid press to be much more salacious? One factor could be that there are simply more of these downmarket papers in the U.K. battling it out to sell copies. “The British tabloids are more aggressive because they operate in a small and cut-throat media environment,” says House. FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Who owns the I paper?
Titles – dmg media publishes the following titles:
- Daily Mail – the Daily Mail is tabloid daily newspaper in the UK with a weekday print circulation of 900,000. Established in 1896 by Kennedy Jones, Harold and Alfred Harmsworth. It is edited by Ted Verity. Saturday’s edition includes Weekend magazine, which focuses on the best of the week’s TV and radio schedule.
- The Mail on Sunday – The Mail on Sunday is the UK’s biggest-selling national Sunday newspaper. Edited by Ted Verity, it is known for its investigative, exposé journalism and its lifestyle magazines You and Event,
- MailOnline – MailOnline is the most-read English language newspaper website in the world with approximately 243 million unique visitors globally. Alongside its digital counterparts in the U.S. and Australia, it publishes roughly 1,700 stories, tens of thousands of photos, and more than 900 videos each day.
- Metro – Metro is the UK’s highest-circulation print newspaper and is edited by Ted Young. The free newspaper is distributed from Monday to Friday.
- Metro.co.uk – online newspaper site reaching 32% of the UK adult population each month. Deborah Arthurs was appointed Editor of Metro.co.uk in 2014.
- i newspaper – a British national morning paper distributed across the UK. Edited by Oliver Duff, it is aimed at “readers and lapsed readers” of all ages and commuters with limited time.
- inews.co.uk – The website of the British compact newspaper, the i, also owned by dmg media.
- New Scientist – a weekly magazine focusing on science and technology. Emily Wilson is Editor-in-Chief.
- This Is Money – thisismoney.co.uk – financial website providing consumer financial advice.
- Irish Daily Mail – Irish version of the British publication launched in 2006.
- Irish Mail on Sunday – Sunday newspaper of Irish Daily Mail.
- Scottish Daily Mail – Scottish version of the British publication.
- Scottish Mail on Sunday – Sunday newspaper of Scottish Daily Mail.
What is the political stance of the Guardian
|Front page on 28 May 2021|
|Format||Broadsheet (1821–2005) Berliner (2005–2018) Compact (since 2018)|
|Owner(s)||Guardian Media Group|
|Founder(s)||John Edward Taylor|
|Publisher||Guardian Media Group|
|Founded||5 May 1821 ; 202 years ago (as The Manchester Guardian, renamed The Guardian in 1959)|
|Headquarters||Kings Place, London|
|Circulation||105,134 (as of July 2021)|
|Sister newspapers||The Observer The Guardian Weekly|
|ISSN||0261-3077 (print) 1756-3224 (web)|
The Guardian is a British daily newspaper, It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers, The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust Limited,
- The trust was created in 1936 to “secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of The Guardian free from commercial or political interference”.
- The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators.
Profits are reinvested in its journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders, It is considered a newspaper of record in the UK. The editor-in-chief Katharine Viner succeeded Alan Rusbridger in 2015. Since 2018, the paper’s main newsprint sections have been published in tabloid format,
As of July 2021, its print edition had a daily circulation of 105,134. The newspaper has an online edition, TheGuardian.com, as well as three international websites, Guardian Australia (founded in 2013) Guardian New Zealand (founded in 2019) and Guardian US (founded in 2011). The paper’s readership is generally on the mainstream left of British political opinion, and the term ” Guardian reader” is used to imply a stereotype of liberal, left-wing or ” politically correct ” views.
Frequent typographical errors during the age of manual typesetting led Private Eye magazine to dub the paper the “Grauniad” in the 1970s, a nickname still occasionally used by the editors for self-mockery. In an Ipsos MORI research poll in September 2018 designed to interrogate the public’s trust of specific titles online, The Guardian scored highest for digital-content news, with 84% of readers agreeing that they “trust what see in it”.
- A December 2018 report of a poll by the Publishers Audience Measurement Company stated that the paper’s print edition was found to be the most trusted in the UK in the period from October 2017 to September 2018.
- It was also reported to be the most-read of the UK’s “quality newsbrands”, including digital editions; other “quality” brands included The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, and the i,
While The Guardian ‘ s print circulation is in decline, the report indicated that news from The Guardian, including that reported online, reaches more than 23 million UK adults each month. Chief among the notable ” scoops ” obtained by the paper was the 2011 News International phone-hacking scandal —and in particular the hacking of the murdered English teenager Milly Dowler ‘s phone.
The investigation led to the closure of the News of the World, the UK’s best-selling Sunday newspaper and one of the highest-circulation newspapers in history. In June 2013, The Guardian broke news of the secret collection by the Obama administration of Verizon telephone records, and subsequently revealed the existence of the surveillance program PRISM after knowledge of it was leaked to the paper by the whistleblower and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden,
The Sun (set): is the age of the tabloid over?
In 2016, The Guardian led an investigation into the Panama Papers, exposing then–Prime Minister David Cameron ‘s links to offshore bank accounts, It has been named “newspaper of the year” four times at the annual British Press Awards : most recently in 2014, for its reporting on government surveillance.
Who owns the New York Times?
Ochs-Sulzberger family – In 1896, Adolph Ochs bought The New York Times, a money-losing newspaper, and formed the New York Times Company. The Ochs-Sulzberger family, one of the United States’ newspaper dynasties, has owned The New York Times ever since.
- The publisher went public on January 14, 1969, trading at $42 a share on the American Stock Exchange,
- After this, the family continued to exert control through its ownership of the vast majority of Class B voting shares,
- Class A shareholders are permitted restrictive voting rights, while Class B shareholders are allowed open voting rights.
The Ochs-Sulzberger family trust controls roughly 88 percent of the company’s class B shares. Any alteration to the dual-class structure must be ratified by six of eight directors who sit on the board of the Ochs-Sulzberger family trust. The trust board members are Daniel H.
- Cohen, James M.
- Cohen, Lynn G.
- Dolnick, Susan W.
- Dryfoos, Michael Golden, Eric M.A.
- Lax, Arthur O.
- Sulzberger Jr., and Cathy J.
- Turner Catledge, the top editor at The New York Times from 1952 to 1968, wanted to hide the ownership influence.
- Arthur Sulzberger routinely wrote memos to his editor, each containing suggestions, instructions, complaints, and orders.
When Catledge would receive these memos, he would erase the publisher’s identity before passing them to his subordinates. Catledge thought that if he removed the publisher’s name from the memos, it would protect reporters from feeling pressured by the owner.
How did Murdoch get so rich
By the time Murdoch acquired 20th Century Fox in 1985, he was worth roughly $300 million, making him one of the richest men in the U.S., according to Forbes. The deal to acquire 20th Century Fox, was made through Murdoch’s ever-expanding News Corp. publishing empire.
Who will take over Rupert Murdoch?
Lachlan and James – Although it’s been clear for a while, now it’s official: Murdoch said on Thursday that he’s handing the reins to his 52-year-old son Lachlan, who will become the sole chair of News Corp. and continue as executive chair and CEO of Fox Corporation.
Lachlan, his older sister Elisabeth, and younger brother James have long been contenders for the top job. But Lachlan has seemingly always been Rupert’s “number-one boy” and the preferred choice to succeed him, Vanity Fair reported in May, Murdoch has suggested as much: “Currently it is their consensus that Lachlan will take over,” Murdoch said in a 1997 interview, as reported by The Guardian,
“He will be the first among equals, but they will all have to prove themselves.” At first glance, Lachlan draws obvious comparisons to Kendall. Both are eldest sons who have been groomed to take over the family business one day. But in terms of personality, Lachlan more closely resembles Roman, the snarky, impulsive younger brother portrayed by Kieran Culkin.
In 2005, Lachlan had a dispute with then-boss of Fox News, Roger Ailes—the same Ailes who was later sued by Fox host Gretchen Carlson for sexual harassment, which the movie Bombshell (featuring Margot Robbie and Nicole Kidman) was based. Lachlan quit his role as deputy COO of News Corp. and moved to Australia.
He returned to the states nearly 10 years later at his father’s behest, agreeing to be his heir. But during Lachlan’s decade overseas, his younger brother, the now 50-year-old James, became the heir apparent. James spent those years climbing through the ranks, ensuring the longevity and respect of his father’s media empire by making deals with the likes of Hulu and National Geographic Channel and promising that News Corp.
would go carbon neutral, His father bringing Lachlan back was like a “big slap in the face” to the younger brother, a source told Vanity Fair, James resembles Kendall in that he was known as “the smart one” and has been baited by his father for the top job for decades. James has served in high-ranking roles in News Corp.
and even did a stint in Hong Kong, reminiscent of Kendall’s time in Shanghai. Jeremy Strong, the actor who portrays Kendall, told The New Yorker that he used details about James to prepare for the role.
Who is replacing Rupert Murdoch?
Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of Fox Corp. and News Corp., effective mid-November, he announced Thursday. Why it matters: Murdoch, 92, is considered one of the most influential media figures in the modern era. His son, Lachlan Murdoch, will replace him as chair of both firms.
Did James Murdoch quit
James Murdoch: Why I pulled the rip cord and resigned from News Corp
- A s we sat down to lunch in my garden, I mentioned to that I’ve been reading a lot of classical plays lately and a popular theme is the rancorous battle between two brothers over a kingdom.
- “But these plays end in cannibalism and civil war, so at least your family hasn’t gone there yet,” I said brightly.
- Above his and behind his Kingsman glasses, Murdoch’s brown widened with alarm.
- The issue of dynastic succession – the real one and the one in Succession, the Emmy-winning HBO drama that is inspired by the Murdochs – was definitely on the menu, along with fried calamari.
- Murdoch, 47, resigned from the board of this summer with an elliptical statement, saying he was leaving “due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions.”
- ‘s youngest child with his second wife, Anna, is loath to get into the epic family drama that found its climax in the 15 months between pushing a deal to sell 21st Century Fox to Disney and ankling the family business he once hoped to lead.
- But in his briskly analytical way, over lunch and a subsequent phone call, he tried to explain why he “pulled the rip cord,” as he put it, after deepening estrangement with his father and brother and growing discomfort over the toxicity of and other conservative News Corp properties.
“I reached the conclusion that you can venerate a contest of ideas, if you will, and we all do and that’s important,” he told me. “But it shouldn’t be in a way that hides agendas. A contest of ideas shouldn’t be used to legitimise, And I think it’s often taken advantage of.
And I think at great news organisations, the mission really should be to introduce fact to disperse doubt – not to sow doubt to obscure fact, if you will. James Murdoch and Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones speak onstage in 2019 “And I just felt increasingly uncomfortable with my position on the board having some disagreements over how certain decisions are being made.
So it was actually not that hard a decision to remove myself and have a kind of cleaner slate.” The younger Murdoch’s disgust had flashed publicly before on a few occasions: he showed the disdain for Roger Ailes he shared with his more conservative, older brother, Lachlan, 49.
- In 2017, President Donald Trump’s praise for white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, as “very fine people” spurred James Murdoch to give $1m to the Anti-Defamation League.
- In an email to friends obtained by The New York Times, Murdoch rebuked Trump and wrote: “I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis.
Or Klansmen, or terrorists.” The email stood in sharp relief, given Fox News’ fetid racism-by-night routine. In January, James and his wife, Kathryn, expressed “frustration” about News Corp’s peddling of climate change denialism in the face of apocalyptic Australian wildfires that incinerated 46 million acres.
Fox News nighttime anchors picked up a false storyline about arson from The Australian, a Murdoch-owned newspaper in Oz. Once, James Murdoch thought he could reshape Fox News. But in the summer of 2016, he failed to get his father to sign off on replacing Roger Ailes – embroiled in the sexual harassment scandals at Fox News – with David Rhodes, the former president of CBS News.
James Murdoch (left) and Roger Ailes attend an Anti-Defamation dinner that honoured Rupert Murdoch in 2010 When Rupert, the chairman of the company, decided to run the network himself, the writing was on the wall. Rupert and Trump stepped up their dangerous tango, and James, those who know him say, eventually decided it was time to get out of his Faustian deal.
‘His better angels’ James Murdoch was on top for long enough to get more than his share of headlines about the rising son of the Sun King. But then, while he was overseeing the operation in London, Rupert’s lieutenant and spiritual daughter, Rebekah Brooks, and her former deputy and lover, Andy Coulson, got ensnared in the British phone hacking scandal.
(Brooks was acquitted and Coulson convicted in the case that followed.) The idea, at my age, with a long career ahead of me, of going into a place where it’s a big corporate structure, you don’t really know what the future’s going to hold The slime splashed on the son who had been seen as a clean-as-a-whistle smarty-pants.
British regulators faulted James for not stopping the hacking, despite his claim that he didn’t read an entire email chain that would have clued him in. A New York Times Magazine investigation into the Murdochs last year by Jonathan Mahler and Jim Rutenberg reported that James’ sister Elisabeth urged her father to fire James and replace him with her.
(She denied it.) Some Murdoch familiars say that it was only when it was clear that James had lost the succession war that he showed more leg in expressing qualms and pushed the $71.3bn Disney deal – it ensured that Lachlan, seen as his father’s darling, would be left with a hollowed-out empire.
- Protesters demonstrate outside the annual general meeting of BSkyB in 2011 Though the kids each walked away with billions in cash and stock, the deal bared all the competing interests in the family.
- Lachlan was, by all accounts, aghast to be left merely with the rump – the part James had dismissed to friends as an “American political project”.
Rupert Murdoch did not try to make a top job for James at Disney a condition of the deal. He looked at James objectively vis-a-vis the deal, Disney insiders said, not with a father’s protective instinct. “James was nothing but a gentleman in the whole process,” Bob Iger, the chairman of Disney, told me.
- James said he pressed the deal because he knew, as the great digital transformation of Tinseltown got underway, that the Murdochs’ collection of old-school assets had to be combined with a company like Disney to have the heft to compete against behemoths like Netflix.
- News reports at the time suggested James harboured a fantasy about succeeding Iger, and the two talked about a possible role.
But, James told me: “I decided pretty soon after we closed it that I didn’t want to stay on in the business. So if you think about it, I mean, your ego talks to you a little bit or somebody writes a story that says, ‘Oh, they don’t have a succession plan.
James Murdoch can do X, Y and Z.’ And your ego goes, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ But then, you have to sit back and go, ‘That’s not me defining that. That’s some media journalist somewhere making up what they think success or failure is.’ “The idea, at my age, with a long career ahead of me, of going into a place where it’s a big corporate structure, you don’t really know what the future’s going to hold.
And the other side is absolute self-determination and agency. It was a pretty simple choice. We never really even took talks very far at all about going to Disney because I informed them, because they were really trying to figure, ‘OK, what does the structure look like? Et cetera.’ I called Bob and said, ‘Look, you need to design that without me.'” Friends say that James has been on a collision course with his family for 15 years.
His evolution has been profoundly influenced by his wife, a former communications executive. He is, as one friend puts it, “living much more in his own skin, realising his better angels and his better instincts.” James and wife Kathryn in New York in 2018 But when your last name is Murdoch and those billions sloshing around in your bank account come from a juggernaut co-opting governments across the English-speaking world and perpetuating climate-change denial, nativism and Sean Hannity, can you ever start fresh? As a beneficiary of his family’s trust, James is still reaping profits from Rupert Murdoch’s assets.
Can he be the anti-venom? And is the great game of Murdoch succession truly over? Murdoch watchers across media say James is aligned with his sister Elisabeth and his half sister, Prudence, even as he is estranged from his father and brother. When Rupert, 89, finally leaves the stage and his elder children take over, that could make three votes in the family trust against one.
Is there still time to de-Foxify Fox News – labelled a “hate-for-profit racket” by Elizabeth Warren – and other conservative News Corp outlets? Would Fox News and its kin – downscale, feral creatures conjured by Rupert to help the bottom line – be the huge money-makers they are if they went straight? Eschewed newspapers For a long time, people have referred to James as “the smart brother”, the more strategic one, the more interesting one, the harder working one, the more enlightened one.
He is nothing like the hopeless sons on Succession, He came into his own at Star TV in Asia and then deftly entered the broadband market and positioned Sky TV as more than a satellite television provider. He says he is very proud of helping to restructure the National Geographic partnership, which caused the society’s endowment to swell to nearly $1bn.
- Unlike his father and grandfather – who broke the story of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign and later become an Australian regional newspaper magnate – James wasn’t interested in the romance of newspapers.
- He has always been looking around the corner for new technologies.
- James Murdoch and Chester Koo on the announcement of a Joint Venture in Hunghom, 2000 In 2006, he promised to make Sky carbon neutral.
(He invited Al Gore to give his climate slide show at a corporate retreat in Pebble Beach, California, a talk that inspired Kathryn Murdoch to become an eco-warrior.) He drove a Prius around London and then switched to an early model of the Tesla roadster; he later joined Tesla’s board.
A Harvard dropout, James has long been teased for his techno argot, a contrast to Lachlan’s rock-climbing, red meat, good ol’ Aussie boy style. James’ look was more mogul-casual at lunch: a Loro Piana navy jacket, slim-fit jeans and Common Projects white sneakers. His hair, flecked with a few strands of grey, is longer than it has been since college.
“I haven’t been to the barber since March,” Murdoch said. “Now it catches leaves and stuff.” Lachlan, James, mother Anna and Rupert His Panama hat from San Juan – he wears straw hats year-round – was attached to his attache case. He has set up offices for a new company, Lupa Systems, in downtown Manhattan, New York, and Mumbai.
It is named for the she-wolf who suckles twin boys in Rome’s origin myth. When they grow up, Remus is killed by Romulus, who goes on to found the city – which James says is his favourite – and become its first king. (In Succession, Brian Cox’s character, the Rupert of the show, refers to his younger son, Roman, as Romulus.) So far, Murdoch has made investments in the Tribeca Film Festival, Art Basel, Vice Media and a comic book company whose publisher once worked for Marvel.
The dream there is to create another Marvel-like universe of characters who could cavort across different platforms. He is excited about investing in startups created to combat fake news and the spread of disinformation, having found the proliferation of deep fakes “terrifying” because they “undermine our ability to discern what’s true and what’s not” and it “is only at the beginning, as far as I can tell.” He’s funding a research programme to study digital manipulation of societies, hoping to curtail “the use of technology to promulgate totalitarianism” and undermine democracies.
- So everything from the use of mass surveillance, telephone networks, 5G, all that stuff, domestically in a country like China, for example,” he said.
- I wonder if this is some sort of expiation, given all the disinformation that News Corp has spewed.
- Shades of Melania fighting cyberbullying?) James Murdoch, with sister Elisabeth, father Rupert and brother Lachlan at the National Portrait Gallery in 2007 Murdoch did not really answer.
But later, when I talked to Kathryn Murdoch over Zoom from their farm in Connecticut, where they live with their three children, chickens and sheep, she was more direct about the issue of using money made from disinformation to combat disinformation.
- I think that what’s important about what we’re doing is that we’re in control of ourselves,” she said, adding: “I’m in control of what I do, he is in control of what he does.
- We should be held accountable for those things.
- It’s very hard to be held accountable for things that other people do or are in control of.
And I think that’s what was untenable.” I asked her if they are happy with their liberation. “It’s nice to be able to do our own thing and just to have James be free of that tension,” she said with a broad smile. “It’s good for him.” She added: “When a family is very involved in the business, it’s a big decision to leave that.
- I don’t know if it’s ever ending.
- It’s always, you know, ongoing.” She gave a wry chuckle.
- Sneaking smokes with Jerry Hall CNBC has called Kathryn and James “a political power couple in the Trump era”, and James says his wife is “a force of nature”.
- She’s encouraged me to take risks, to do things,” he said.
“She’s encouraged me to speak up about things. I’m very lucky.” Their foundation, Quadrivium, has supported voter participation, democracy reform and climate change projects. “I never thought that we would actually be at the point where we would have climate change effects and people would still be denying it,” Murdoch said.
- Murdoch donated to Pete Buttigieg in the primary, and the couple has given $1.23m to Joe Biden.
- So that’s who he’ll be voting for in November then? “Hell, yes,” he said with a smile.
- Was James angry to be left holding the bag for the hacking, which was the ultimate end of the tabloid culture his father created? I noted to Kathryn Murdoch that the effect of News Corp on the world is astounding when you think about it, from Brexit to Trump to the Supreme Court we may be heading toward.
“I’m not sure if I would give it that much credit,” she said. “Rupert’s talent was always in understanding what the public wanted, and I think it much more follows or echoes what’s going on as opposed to leads. That’s not to say it doesn’t have responsibility.
It does. But I think sometimes, inside the journalism world, it gets a little more credit than it deserves on that.” I wondered if Rupert Murdoch ever got mad at Kathryn for pulling James to the light side on the environment and other issues. Was it daunting to argue with him? “We’ve had plenty of very good dinners and very good discussions,” she said.
“He relishes an argument. If you’re well prepared and you have your facts, it’s a really good debate practice. We’ve always gotten along even if we disagree. I actually have friends whose fathers are far scarier. Rupert actually told James to marry me as soon as he possibly could.” ‘Succession’, the HBO series about a family and its global media empire Like James, she thinks Jerry Hall, the patriarch’s wife since 2016, is really fun.
- Rupert is so lucky,” she said.
- She’s just always wanting to, you know, sneak over and have a drink or smoke with you.
- Just don’t tell Rupert I’m smoking’.” Kathryn Murdoch has been tempted to watch Succession,
- But Murdoch said he didn’t watch it, possibly so he didn’t have to answer pesky questions about the portrayal of sons who veer between feeling entitled and feeling unworthy because they fear that everything they get is only because of their name.
Asked how he could possibly not watch a buzzy show about his family, he smiled and replied: “I think you’d find it really easy. The other thing is, the dramatisation of family affairs is as old as anything. It’s always built in a certain construct, back in Shakespeare or back in Homer.
Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall after getting married in 2016 “I think the reality, my reality anyways, is that I’ve never felt that comfortable drawing any parallels, because I don’t feel as if I live solely in a needy orbit of approval or whatever from the charismatic megafauna. Not at all. I’m entirely my own person.
I think having agency from the beginning when I left school and started on my own, to set up with some partners, a tiny hip-hop record label, to moving with Kathryn to Hong Kong a few years later.” Five years after that he went to Sky. “I feel like every few years I set out on something new, and it’s not this drama that other people try to make about it,” he said.
“But I don’t know anything about the show.” After so much time in the executive suite, Murdoch seems genuinely excited to be in a smaller shop. He said that last year, just for the hell of it, he thought of becoming an architect, going back to school. “The outside world,” he continued, “it looks at you and says: ‘Well, these are the runners and riders.
This person is up and down and this is success and this is failure.’ I think that that has to come much more from yourself. I’m incredibly grateful to be able to be just a totally free agent.” When he looks back at the searing hacking scandal, to that painful moment sitting in front of a parliamentary committee in London with his father, who called it “the most humble day of my life”, how does he feel? Was James angry to be left holding the bag for the hacking, which was the ultimate end of the tabloid culture his father created? “Going through something so intense like that, you definitely learn a lot of different lessons,” he said, adding, “It was very much about some stuff that had gone on at the newspapers before I was there, by the way.” I wondered what he made of Fox News and Trump playing down the coronavirus, even after the president was hospitalised.
“Look, you do worry about it and I think that we’re in the middle of a public health crisis,” Murdoch said. “Climate is also a public health crisis.” He continued: “Whatever political spin on that, if it gets in the way of delivering crucial public health information, I think is pretty bad.” Trump received mass criticism for removing his mask upon his White House return He added that Trump’s likening Covid-19 to the flu had been “his message from day one”, and was “craziness”.
He thinks that “companies have a responsibility to their customers and their communities” and “that responsibility shouldn’t be compromised by political point scoring, that’s for sure.” Did he catch that bananas moment on Fox News after the president’s loony Evita balcony star turn, when Sean Hannity compared DJT to FDR? Murdoch, who doesn’t usually watch Fox News, said he didn’t see that show and didn’t like to criticise specific Fox News personalities, but added dryly, “I think comparing that kind of personal behaviour to FDR, it’s a little much, you know?” I noted that his father had a very dim view of Trump – in 2015, he tweeted, “When is Donald Trump going to stop embarrassing his friends, let alone the whole country?” – before the pragmatic Rupert came around to the president.
- I’m just concerned that the leadership that we have, to me, just seems characterised by callousness and a level of cruelty that I think is really dangerous and then it infects the population,” he said, referring to the Trump administration.
- It’s not a coincidence that the number of hate crimes in this country are rising over the last three years for the first time in a long time.” With Trump and Fox News, who is the dog and who is the tail? “It looks to me, anyway, like it’s going to be a hard thing to understand because it probably goes back and forth,” he said.
“I don’t think you’re going to get one pristine, consistent analysis of that phenomenon.” Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Kathryn and James Murdoch attend a film screening in 2014 I asked if he was friends with Ivanka and Jared Kushner. Ivanka was at one point a trustee for the fortune of the two daughters of Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng.
- ( The Times Magazine report included the detail that James and Lachlan tried to dissuade Pops, as they call him, from marrying Deng; James was worried, based on information he had received from senior foreign officials, that she was a Chinese asset; she has denied that.)
- Murdoch’s friends describe him as “happy as a clam”, “giddy” and far more relaxed now that he has shaken off the King Lear machinations he has dealt with his whole life, as his father pitted the siblings against each other for the golden crown.
- Murdoch’s friend Matthew Vaughn, an English producer and writer who did both Kingsman movies, believes that James will now start his own empire.
“James’s next chapter is going to be a damn good one, and it will surprise so many people,” Vaughn said. “He’ll be released from the blessing and the curse of the name Murdoch.” I asked Murdoch if he would create his own Game of Thrones and bring in his own children – a daughter and two sons – to help run it.
- Confirm or deny
- Dowd: Judge Jeanine Pirro is really fun at the company Christmas party.
- Murdoch: I have no knowledge of that.
- Dowd: When you were 18, you had a summer job as a production assistant on Rising Sun and you held a giant duct of personal air-conditioning on Sean Connery wherever he was on the set.
Murdoch: Yes, I held the air-conditioning behind Sean Connery. The most interesting thing was, if he wanted the tube moved to a different spot he wouldn’t tell me. He would tell the director, who would tell the first assistant director, who would tell the second assistant director, who would tell me.
- It was a very hierarchical management of the air-conditioning tube.
- Dowd: You’ve never filled out a job application.
- Murdoch: No, not true.
- When I went to Sky, for example, it was pretty controversial.
- It had to be voted on by all the shareholders.
- It was like months of job application in full public glare with psychological tests.
Psychometric testing. Dowd: You know how much a gallon of milk costs. Murdoch: Confirm. I just bought one the other day. It depends on where you get it, I guess. It’s like $4. Dowd: You’re tatted up. Murdoch: I have a few. I drew them myself. One of them is a weird shape I drew when I was a kid.
- Dowd: After you quit the board, you considered bleaching your hair again just for the hell of it.
- Murdoch: Deny.
- Dowd: Your father made you and your siblings watch Gallipoli on every family vacation.
Murdoch : No. Great movie, though.
- Dowd: When you had a hip-hop record company after college, you slept with a gun under your bed.
- Murdoch: It’s an urban myth.
- Dowd: You were childhood friends with Ghislaine Maxwell.
Murdoch: Nope. Absolutely not. Dowd: You bought a 445-acre “end of times” house in a remote part of Canada with its own water and solar energy supply. Murdoch: Oh, it’s just a fishing cabin. But the borders got shut so I haven’t been. I don’t know why we didn’t think that through.
- Dowd: President Trump has handled the TikTok situation perfectly.
- Murdoch: It doesn’t look very handled right now.
- Dowd: You do your best thinking about climate change on your father’s yacht.
- Murdoch: (Laughs.)
- Dowd: You were the driving force behind Fox’s Myspace acquisition in 2005.
- Murdoch: No, I wasn’t there at the time.
- Dowd: Prince Harry reached out to you about how he should deal with Prince William.
Murdoch: No. No.
- Dowd: You have a black belt in karate.
- Murdoch: Yeah.
- Dowd: You are extremely fastidious.
Murdoch: I have a bad habit of straightening other people’s pictures on their walls, yes. I’m just trying to be helpful.
- Dowd: Most of your success has come from hard work, not luck.
- Murdoch: Isn’t that what they say – the harder you work, the luckier you get?
- Dowd: You make your children call you “Dottore”.
- Murdoch: I got an honorary doctorate from the American University of Rome, and I continue to insist that I’m called “Dottore”, but it’s not working.
- Dowd: You don’t watch Fox News.
- Murdoch: Sometimes I watch, if there’s an important thing, like an important interview or something like that, sometimes.
- Dowd: Wendi Deng dated Vladimir Putin.
- Murdoch: You can’t ask me those questions.
- © The New York Times
: James Murdoch: Why I pulled the rip cord and resigned from News Corp
Did Rupert Murdoch have a strike
SPECIAL BRANCH KEPT CLOSE WATCH OF THE INDUSTRIAL DISPUTE – Nicola Cutcher, 12 January 2016 The Wapping dispute of 1986-87 was a fight to save jobs. Before the dispute, Fleet Street newspapers were typeset with hot metal and the print unions were powerful.
- Rupert Murdoch secretly built a system to print and distribute all of his newspapers from a new high-tech plant at Wapping.
- When negotiations between Murdoch and the print unions over employment conditions for the new plant broke down, nearly 6,000 workers went on strike.
- Murdoch immediately dismissed them.
The sacked workforce arranged demonstrations and pickets to disrupt Murdoch’s business and fight for their jobs and workers rights. The industrial dispute raged for over a year. There was a visibly huge police presence at Wapping to protect Murdoch’s property and staff to ensure that business continued as usual.
These documents reveal that the secret police effort was also substantial. Special Branch subjected the dispute to intense surveillance, producing written daily briefs on all aspects of the pickets, demonstrations, negotiations, and union meetings. They kept files on trade union leaders and had informants.
They recorded details of organisations and individuals involved with the protests, and noted the contents of banners, posters and chants. The book Undercover by Rob Evans and Paul Lewis reports that Bob Lambert, an undercover police officer deployed by the Special Demonstration Squad, a secret unit within Special Branch, was ‘often at the heart of the protests’ at Wapping, along with his activist girlfriend who was oblivious to his true identity of police spy.
Lambert may have been one of a number of undercover officers spying on trade unionists and demonstrators at Wapping. The dispute was subject to national surveillance. Notes of telephone messages from Swindon, South Wales and Kent Special Branches provide details of local coaches headed to the Wapping demonstrations.
Special Branch Registry A Special Branch report on the 2nd May 1986 describes a May Day march and rally in solidarity with the print workers. The report lists the rally’s speakers, including union leaders and MP John Prescott, and summarises what each said.
- Appendix B to the report checks the names of the speakers against a column marked ‘SB(R) ‘ which refers to the Special Branch Registry where individual files were kept.
- The union leaders – Jim Knapp of the National Union of Railwaymen, Ben Rubner of the Furniture, Timber and Allied Trade Unions, and Ken Cameron of the Fire Brigades Union – all have redactions where their references would be.
This suggests that they each had a file number, and hence individual files on them. Whether Special Branch held files on the MPs mentioned is more ambiguous because the reference just says MP. It doesn’t give a file number but nor does it say that there was ‘ No Trace ‘ or only ‘ Mentions ‘ as similar documents do elsewhere.
Extremists’ Special Branch feared the potential for disaffected print workers to link up with ‘extremist elements’. One report says ‘The extreme left groups were represented by roving paper-sellers for the Morning Star and Newsline and two others carrying the banner of the Brixton Young Socialists.’ Another identifies extremists as the ‘ultra left’ including ‘supporters of the Socialist Workers Party, Workers Revolutionary Party and the anarchist Class War faction.’ On that occasion the ‘extremists’ were expected to number less than 200 of around 2500 marchers.
The author of one special report is clearly sceptical about the policing strategy of senior officers and implies that their understanding of disorder at Wapping is ill-informed. He (or she) writes, ‘Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, there has been a growing belief on the part of senior uniformed officers that violence on the picket lines has been instigated by extremist elements unconnected with the unions and that the cooperation of print workers can be elicited in attempting to preserve order.’ One Special Branch Threat Assessment raised the fear that ‘militant print workers’ might join ‘forces with the now established extremist elements’.
Another referred to an ‘increasingly held view that the cause is lost’ for the Wapping strikers. It added, ‘it is this sense of hopelessness which drives many of the strikers present to vent their frustration against the police’. The assessment accuses ‘factions of the left’ of exploiting the mood of the strikers by fanning ‘the sparks of violent confrontation’ for their ‘cynical propaganda purposes’, and said they receive ‘much able, and valuable, assistance from Members of Parliament.’ Investigating Individuals Special Branch spent a fair amount of time investigating a council flat being used by the SWP to organise activities against News International.
Special Branch were first fed news of this flat and its tenant on the 14th March 1986 but held no records on the tenant. This intelligence came from the Criminal Investigation Department at Leman Street. They ‘were approached by officers who, whilst off duty, were imbibing in (redacted) public house in Cable Street, E1 and overheard two Socialist Worker vendors.
- Apparently they mentioned (redacted) name and address as the venue for SWP members to meet, prior to joining the demonstration in the highway’.
- This tip-off led to at least three memos within Special Branch as the Chief Superintendent requested verification of the CID’s intelligence.
- Their investigations recorded the name of the woman who owned the flat, her date of birth, her employment history and the fact she was ‘currently unemployed’.
In a separate case, in April 1986 a uniformed officer who was on duty at Wapping during a demonstration reported to Special Branch that he recognised a woman amongst the crowd of pickets and said that she knew him and called him by his first name. The crowd were making noises about obtaining police numbers and home addresses.
A Special Branch officer directs that there should be a ‘full enquiry’ to identify the woman and ‘establish whether she is associated with any subversive group’. Recording the Minutiae Surveillance of the demonstrations and pickets was painstaking, including full lists of ‘banners taking part’ and even a list of ‘chants heard during the evening marches’.
These included, ‘TUC get off your knees, call a general strike’, ‘I’d rather be a picket than a scab’, and perhaps more unusually, ‘I’d rather be a cow-pat than a cop’. Sometimes Special Branch officers recorded the most trivial details with droll humour.
One May demonstration ‘had been advertised as a Welsh night and four coaches came up from Wales Their main contribution was to provide a so-called choir to entertain and encourage the troops, but the singing was definitely not of a professional standard.’ A Special Branch report about a demonstration on the 10th May 1986 was written with a very personal flair by a detective who states upfront that he (or she) was personally present.
He explains that demonstrators threw ‘a small number of thunder flashes and smoke bombs’. Apparently the only impact these made upon the lines of police ‘was to singe three inches from the tail of one of the horses’. The account continues, ‘However, (perhaps appropriately on Cup Final day) two demonstrators scored spectacular ‘own goals’ and had to be removed to hospital to receive treatment for burns’.
- Informants Of course not all intelligence provided to Special Branch proved to be accurate.
- On 3rd May 1986 an informant note predicted, ‘A large contingent from Glasgow will be marching from the embankment to Wapping at 19:00.
- Informant states that the object of the march is to take over the plant and set it on fire.’ Another note on the same day says that an informant reported that the leader of the engineers union was heard to remark ‘there is going to be 15,000 at Wapping tonight.
They are going specially to do up the Special Patrol Group’. Winding down The Special Branch papers disclosed only document the dispute up until May 1986 and already show coverage winding down a little. One memo in late May says, ‘In view of the improving situation at Wapping Special Branch have reduced physical coverage to Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings only’.
Solomon Hughes, Special Branch spying on Wapping strike against Murdoch, Morning Star, 11 March 2011 (re-published on Hughes’ blog People’s Plain Dealer) Solomon Hughes, Special Branch Spied on Wapping Leaders, Morning Star, 24 April 2015 Rob Evans and Paul Lewis, Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police, published 2013
News International Wapping Dispute Archive, produced by trade unions and former print workers Wapping: Twenty years, Twenty Voices, The Independent, 22 January 2006 BBC On This Day – 15th February 1986 – Printers and Police Clash in Wapping Jon Henley, Rupert Murdoch and the battle of Wapping, The Guardian, 27 July 2011 Rupert Murdoch, The War on Technology : 1989 Manhattan Institute Lecture Nic Oatridge, Photo Essay: Wapping 86 John Lang and Graham Dodkins, Bad News: The Wapping Dispute, published 2011 Linda Melvern, The End of the Street, published 1986
Why is Rupert Murdoch successful?
Rupert Murdoch: Huge success, profound influence and deep controversy – the story of his 70-year career Rupert Murdoch’s resignation as chairman of Fox and News Corporation brings a formal end to a 70-year career that brought him huge commercial success, profound political influence and deep controversy.
- A disruptive and divisive figure, Murdoch’s talent for innovation and appetite for confrontation broke new ground in newspapers, broadcasting and entertainment, and with mass audiences came the ability to shape politics in the UK, the US and his native Australia.
- As a consequence his professional legacy is contentious.
To his supporters, Murdoch is a champion of popular entertainment, accessible news and a free and fearless press; to his detractors, he has been a malign influence who coarsened public debate, enabled a new wave of populism, and whose business was tainted by criminality. Image: Rupert Murdoch photographed in 1969. Pic: AP
- Foundations of an empire
- Rupert Keith Murdoch, born in Melbourne in 1931, has always presented himself as an outsider with no time for elites, but he is a child of the Australian media establishment.
- His father was reporter and newspaper proprietor Keith Murdoch, who made his name evading military censors to report on the chaotic and deadly Gallipoli campaign, which cost the lives of more than 40,000 Allied troops, many of them from Australia and New Zealand.
- Eventually knighted for his services to journalism, Sir Keith passed on to his son a love of newspapers, a taste for the power of journalism and a platform to exercise it.
- Sir Keith would become editor, managing director and finally chairman of the Melbourne-based Herald Group, and then bought his own papers including The News in Adelaide, a title with 75,000 readers that he left to his son when he died in 1952.
- It was the foundation stone of an empire that today still includes two-thirds of Australian media.
Image: Murdoch’s profound and often controversial career spanned seven decades
- ‘Sex, sport and contests’
- By the 1960s, having completed an Oxford degree (PPE) and served a proprietor’s apprenticeship at home, Murdoch turned his attention to international expansion, starting in London.
- In 1969 he bought the News Of The World and then, wanting a daily paper to share the overheads, The Sun – at the time a nondescript broadsheet that cost him barely £1m.
He was a genuine outsider in a British newspaper establishment dominated by editorial giants like Hugh Cudlipp and William Beaverbrook, editor and proprietor respectively of the Mirror and the Daily Express, who claimed close to eight million readers a day between them.
- Within a decade, Murdoch’s papers would eclipse them both.
- He set out his priorities in an early meeting, telling Sun staff that “sex, sport and contests” would revive circulation.
- Rebranded in tabloid format with a distinctive red masthead, with topless models featuring daily on Page 3 from 1970, it was a wildly successful formula that pushed its rivals to compete in similar vein.
Driven by an aggressive price war with Robert Maxwell’s Mirror Group, the tabloid culture reached its apogee in the 1980s and 1990s, with no area of public life spared. Sensation sold, whether it was the breakup of Charles and Diana, reported in excruciating detail, or endless celebrity transgressions. Image: Murdoch reading The Sun as he is driven away from his central London home in 2012 Murdoch’s popular papers were patriotic to the point of jingoism – cheering British troops off to the Falklands in 1982, and celebrating the sinking of Argentine warship the General Belgrano with the infamous headline “GOTCHA”.
- The tone chimed with the times and the government of Margaret Thatcher, for whom The Sun was a champion and cheerleader, praising her transformational economic policies and relentlessly attacking Labour to its four million readers.
- When Thatcher’s successor John Major won an unlikely majority at the 1992 general election, The Sun claimed victory for a polling day front page ridiculing Labour leader Neil Kinnock, running the follow-up “IT WAS THE SUN WOT WON IT!”
Image: Murdoch presenting Margaret Thatcher with a humanitarian award in 1991. Pic: AP
- The paper also tapped into Thatcher’s growing euroscepticism at the turn of 90s, running regular critiques of perceived EU meddling and turning previously anonymous Brussels bureaucrats into pantomime villains.
- Notoriously, EU Commission President Jacques Delors was dismissed with the headline “UP YOURS DELORS!”
Support for Thatcher smoothed the way for expansion. While The Sun and News Of The World scandalised, Murdoch furthered his influence by purchasing the ultimate establishment title, The Times, in 1981 – adding The Sunday Times when the prime minister decided not to refer the takeover to the Monopoly Commission. With a stable of titles under his News International brand all dependent on the goodwill of print unions still operating with almost comically restrictive working practices, Murdoch executed perhaps his most audacious and impactful intervention in the UK market.
- Secretly he constructed new printworks at Wapping in east London, where electronic composition would replace the labour-intensive hot metal process.
- After a redundancy offer was refused and a strike announced by union staff in January 1986, at a stroke he switched all production to the new plant.
- A protracted and sometimes violent dispute followed, lasting more than a year but ending in victory for Murdoch, enabled by the Thatcher government’s legislation to curb union power.
Coming a year after the miners’ strike, it helped embed a fundamental shift in industrial relations. Image: Murdoch and the late Queen watching The Times go to press in 1985 during a royal visit. Pic: AP Within two years the rest of Fleet Street had followed Murdoch’s lead, but politically he proved himself a pragmatist as the Conservatives’ star waned. Image: Pic: AP
- Reach for the sky
- While newspapers were in Murdoch’s blood they were just one arm of the media, and in the 1980s he sought expansion into broadcasting and competition with another establishment brand, this time the BBC.
When the government auctioned a single satellite broadcasting licence, Murdoch lost out to British Satellite Broadcasting. He went ahead anyway – founding Sky on a brownfield site near Heathrow in west London, but broadcasting initially from Luxembourg.
- It was a scrappy start-up operation led largely by veterans of Murdoch’s Australian operations, and one that could have cost him everything.
- He claimed to have “bet the farm” on a package that began with Sky News, movies and a handful of American channels, but sport was to prove the game changer.
- In 1992, Sky won the rights to air top-flight football – with the first division rebranded as the Premier League and matches broadcast live across the week.
- It transformed the company and the game, spawning a rights market now worth almost £2bn a year to the clubs, and becoming the foundation of a subscription model that in 2018 saw Sky, by now Europe’s largest broadcaster, valued at $39bn in a takeover by American cable giant Comcast.
Image: Pic: AP
- Breaking America
- Murdoch’s restless drive for empire building had taken him to America in the 1970s, where expansion followed a familiar pattern.
- He bought the New York Daily Post in 1976, fashioned it into a rambunctious tabloid in keeping with the city’s character, then turned it to political effect.
- He nurtured links with Ronald Reagan’s campaign for the presidency, who reportedly appreciated his support in helping win New York state for the Republicans, and in 1994 Murdoch bought a stake in 20th Century Fox, expanding his empire into Hollywood movies and entertainment as well as a network of local television stations.
- Regulatory obstacles to co-ownership of newspapers and television stations in the same city melted away, thanks in part to Murdoch’s ability to deliver favourable coverage of political candidates or incumbents.
- That ability moved into another gear in 1996 when Murdoch founded Fox News with former Richard Nixon adviser Roger Ailes.
Image: Pic: AP With President Reagan having revoked the “Fairness Doctrine”, requiring broadcasters to present both sides of the story, Murdoch and Ailes were free to create a partisan platform the likes of which had never been seen. In direct competition with the orthodox, liberal and self-consciously even-handed CNN, Fox News tacked hard to the right, making primetime stars of bellicose anchors and moving the political dial. It is an association Murdoch came to regret. He is reported to have thought Trump “a f****** idiot”, but that did not prevent the businessman occupying a regular Monday morning slot on the Fox & Friends breakfast show.
- Trump used that to routinely attack then President Obama with baseless conspiracies about his place of birth, before parlaying that popularity into a presidential campaign.
- Fox’s role in enabling Trump’s successful 2016 campaign and its coverage of the aftermath of his 2020 defeat, in which it amplified entirely, is perhaps Murdoch’s most contentious career legacy.
Image: Rupert Murdoch and son James as it was announced the News Of The World would close. Pic: AP
- The reckoning
- Murdoch’s greatest successes were also the source of his greatest scandals, leading to the closure of his most notorious paper, and the shaming of Fox News.
- In 2006 it was revealed that the News Of The World had “hacked” the mobile phone of Prince William, using a simple override to listen to voice messages and using what they heard as the basis of stories in the paper.
- The paper’s royal editor and a private investigator were jailed – but in 2009 and 2010, The Guardian reported that hacking was more widespread, and that News International had reached multimillion-pound settlements with a number of celebrities.
- The following year, just as Murdoch was plotting a full takeover of Sky, The Guardian revealed that reporters at the News Of The World had hacked the phone of Milly Dowler, a murdered schoolgirl.
- Amid public outrage, with Prime Minister David Cameron announcing a public inquiry and his communications director, former News Of The World editor Andy Coulson, arrested, Murdoch closed the paper.
Image: Murdoch, with then-wife Wendi Deng, after giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in 2012 It was a ruthless act of self-preservation, sacrificing a lucrative and successful title to try and confine the damage to his newspaper division, and protect – unsuccessfully as it turned out – his bid for full ownership of Sky.
His son James, the third of Murdoch’s six children, was forced to resign as chief executive. At a subsequent parliamentary hearing, Murdoch described his appearance as “the most humble day of my life”, shortly before a protester shoved a plate of shaving foam in his face. Almost 20 years on, News International is estimated to have privately paid hundreds of millions in damages, and the case rumbles on.
In 2023, Prince Harry was among a host of public figures and celebrities seeking damages for hacking by the Sun, which always denied wrongdoing. Read more: In the US a reckoning for Fox News’ excesses took a little longer, but finally came in 2023, the result of a lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems, a manufacturer of vote counting software used in the 2020 election.
In the aftermath of Trump’s defeat, Fox anchors repeated his false claims that the machines had been instructed to switch votes from Trump to Joe Biden. In pre-trial discovery it emerged that they, and Murdoch, did not believe the former president but broadcast the claims anyway, in part from fear of alienating their loyalist audience.
Murdoch was said to have called it “really crazy stuff” and described comments from Trump loyalists on the channel as “terrible stuff damaging everybody, I fear”. Facing giving evidence in person, he authorised a $787.5m (£641m) payment to settle the case.
- Tucker Carlson, Fox’s most popular presenter, was fired without notice.
- Image: Pic: AP The empire cuts back By the 2020s and the nadir of Trump’s defeat, Murdoch’s empire was, for the first time, smaller.
- In 2018 he took the momentous decision to sell his prize asset 21st Century Fox, concluding that even he could not muster the scale to compete with the new social media and streaming giants.
His first choice was a sale to Disney, the home of the permanently smiling Mickey Mouse – apparently the polar opposite of Fox’s snarl. A deal was done in principle with Disney boss Bob Iger that would see the entertainment division sold, while Murdoch hung on to Fox News and Fox Sports, as well as his American papers, The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal.
- Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player 12:27 December 2017: Rupert Murdoch interview in full In Europe, Fox’s 39% stake in Sky would be sold too, subject to regulatory approval that had twice proved impossible for Murdoch to clear when he wanted to take full control.
- The sale turned into an auction however, with NBC owner Comcast joining the bidding, driving Disney’s eventual price to $71bn from an original $52bn.
In the UK, Comcast did outbid Disney and took control of Sky, leaving Murdoch with his British newspapers. Remarkably, Murdoch concluded the biggest deals of his life in his late 80s, estimated to have netted him $4bn personally and a further $2bn to each of his adult children.
- Murdoch’s private life and the roles of his children in the business empire have long been subject to the sort of scrutiny his titles reserve for other people.
- Married and divorced four times, he has six children.
- The eldest Prudence was born to his first wife Patricia and has the lowest profile, and he has two children from his third marriage to Chinese television executive Wendi Deng, Grace and Chloe.
Image: Rupert Murdoch and wife Wendi Deng tied the knot on his yacht in New York in 1999
- His second marriage to Anna brought three children, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James, the three of them cast in a real-life soap opera that is an obvious inspiration for the HBO drama Succession, broadcast, with some irony, by Sky in the UK.
- (Murdoch’s 2022 divorce settlement from his fourth wife, model Jerry Hall, is reported to stipulate she is not allowed to pass information to the show’s writers.)
Image: Murdoch’s second wife Anna is mother to his sons Lachlan and James and daughter Elisabeth
- While Elisabeth built her own successful production company, James and Lachlan worked within the family business in Australia, the US and the UK, their stars rising and falling apparently at their fathers’ whim.
- James was chief executive of Sky until the phone hacking scandal forced him out, and after a brief period as joint chiefs of 21st Century Fox beginning in 2015, Lachlan appeared to have emerged as the successor, running the US business as James stepped away to pursue his own ventures.
- Lachlan’s victory in the sibling race appears to be confirmed by his appointment as his father’s replacement as chair of News Corporation and sole executive chair of Fox, but this may still be a turning point for the empire.
Image: Rupert Murdoch with his fourth wife, supermodel Jerry Hall
- While Rupert Murdoch’s grasp of operations and decision making at 92 has been questioned in recent years, not least by his biographer Michael Wolff in an impending book, his presence has mattered.
- His absence from day-to-day operations, no matter how theoretical that has become in practice, may threaten family control.
- Crucial will be what happens to the voting rights over the family shares he has divided with tantalising balance between himself and his four eldest children.
Under the terms of the Murdoch Family Trust, which owns the controlling stake in each business, he has four votes and the children one each. The corporate succession battle may not end with his resignation. : Rupert Murdoch: Huge success, profound influence and deep controversy – the story of his 70-year career
What does Rupert Murdoch still own
Hero or villain? Rupert Murdoch’s exit stirs strong feelings in Britain, where he upended the media LONDON – Before he hit America, Rupert Murdoch ripped through Britain’s media like a tornado. His newspapers changed the political and cultural weather and swung s.
His satellite television channels upended the staid broadcasting scene. Journalists and politicians in the U.K. both hailed and reviled the 92-year-old mogul after he announced Thursday that he was stepping down as leader of his companies Fox and News Corp., handing control to his son Lachlan. For The Times of London, which he owns, Murdoch was “a trailblazer who changed the media.” Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the tycoon “did more than any press baron in the last 100 years to promote the cause of the global free media that is indispensable for democracy and progress.” But to his critics, Murdoch was an unaccountable, malevolent presence in British life.
Nathan Sparkes of Hacked Off, a press reform group that aims to curb tabloid wrongdoing, said Murdoch “presided over a company where widespread illegality occurred and was subsequently covered up.” Ex-Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn argued that Murdoch’s outlets had “poisoned global democracy and spread disinformation on a mass scale.” U.K.
Treasury chief Jeremy Hunt told LBC radio: “He is someone who, love him or loathe him, had a defining influence on all of our lives over the last half-century.” The Australian upstart was all but unknown in Britain when he bought flagging Sunday newspaper the News of the World in 1969, acquiring daily paper The Sun soon after.
A hands-on owner, he reinvigorated Britain’s stodgy, class-ridden newspaper scene with papers that embraced sports, celebrity, prize giveaways and sex — most infamously with The Sun’s topless “Page 3 girls.” In a 1989 BBC interview, Murdoch put his success down to his antipodean roots, saying Australians came to the U.K.
with “greater determination and greater energy,” unfettered by respect for “the rules of the ‘old world.'” “We did things that people said couldn’t be done,” he said. Populist, pomposity-puncturing and patriotic, Murdoch’s tabloids undeniably had flair. Critics deplored headlines like “Up yours, Delors,” directed at then-European Commission President Jacques Delors, and “Gotcha!” — the Sun’s reaction when a British submarine sank the Argentine cruiser Belgrano, killing more than 300 sailors, during the 1982 Falklands War.
The Sun’s coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster, in which 96 Liverpool soccer fans were killed, sparked outrage by making false allegations against the victims. More than three decades later, many Liverpudlians still refuse to read The Sun.
But politicians from both right and left courted and feared Murdoch, who added The Times and Sunday Times to his stable in 1981. An arch-conservative who also hates the establishment, he was an enthusiastic supporter through the 1980s of Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher, who shared Murdoch’s enmity toward powerful trade unions.
After Thatcher’s Conservative successor John Major unexpectedly triumphed in the 1992 election, the tabloid boasted: “It’s the Sun wot won it.” Tony Blair’s success in securing Murdoch’s backing helped Blair’s Labour Party win a landslide victory in 1997.
- Like other politicians, Blair denied giving Murdoch anything in return for his support — though plenty of skeptics doubted that.
- There was no deal on issues to do with the media with Rupert Murdoch, or indeed with anybody else, either express or implied,” Blair told a 2012 inquiry into media ethics, sparked by revelations that rocked Murdoch’s U.K.
empire. In 2011 it emerged that employees of the News of the World had eavesdropped on the phones of celebrities, politicians, royals and even a teenage murder victim. Murdoch was forced to shut the newspaper, several executives were put on trial and former editor Andy Coulson went to prison.
Since then, Murdoch’s News Corp. has paid tens of millions in compensation to alleged victims, including many who say they were targeted by The Sun. Prince Harry is among celebrities currently suing The Sun over alleged hacking, which the paper has never admitted. Murdoch has condemned the phone hacking and other media misdeeds but claims he was unaware of its scope and blamed a small number of rogue staff.
A newspaperman at heart, Murdoch sensed by the 1980s that the media was changing and that pay television would be a central plank of the future. He launched satellite broadcaster Sky Television from a London industrial estate in 1989 on what he admitted was a “wing and a prayer.” Sky nearly collapsed early on but was salvaged when Murdoch secured the rights to show live Premier League soccer matches in 1992.
- Sports helped the company, later known as BSkyB, become a British broadcasting behemoth.
- But the phone-hacking scandal forced Murdoch to drop a bid to take full control of Sky, in which he held a roughly 40% share.
- He sold his stake in the broadcaster to Comcast in 2018.
- Murdoch still owns the Times, Sunday Times and Sun newspapers and struggling news channel Talk TV, but many industry-watchers suspect Lachlan Murdoch, who has much less interest in newspapers than his father, will eventually jettison the British papers.
For now, Rupert Murdoch remains a magnet for the powerful, and those who seek power, in Britain. The guest list for his summer party in June included Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, many members of his Cabinet and opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer.
Which Murdoch left
Rupert Murdoch’s Successor Lachlan and All His Other Children: What to Know NEW YORK — Media magnate Rupert Murdoch on Monday announced that he would be stepping down as the leader of both Fox News’ parent company and his News Corp media holdings — with his son, Lachlan, set to take his place.
Does Murdoch own Herald Sun?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This article is about the newspaper published in Melbourne, Australia. For the newspaper published in Durham, North Carolina, USA, see The Herald-Sun (Durham, North Carolina), Not to be confused with The Sun-Herald newspaper published in Sydney, Australia or the Sun Herald published in Biloxi, Mississippi.
|Herald Sun front page 12 December 2005, reporting on the 2005 Cronulla riots|
|Owner(s)||The Herald and Weekly Times ( News Corp Australia )|
|Founded||The Port Phillip Herald (3 January 1840) The Melbourne Morning Herald (1 January 1849) The Melbourne Herald (1 January 1855) The Herald (8 September 1855) The Sun News-Pictorial (11 September 1922) The Herald Sun (8 October 1990)|
|Headquarters||The Herald and Weekly Times Tower, 40 City Road, Southbank, Victoria, Australia (formerly The Herald and Weekly Times Building, 44-74 Flinders Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia from 1990 to 1995)|
|Website||Official website (Note: Some services may only be available via pre-billed subscription|
The Herald Sun is a conservative daily tabloid newspaper based in Melbourne, Australia, published by The Herald and Weekly Times, a subsidiary of News Corp Australia, itself a subsidiary of the Murdoch owned News Corp, The Herald Sun primarily serves Melbourne and the state of Victoria and shares many articles with other News Corporation daily newspapers, especially those from Australia.
- It is also available for purchase in Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and border regions of South Australia and southern New South Wales such as the Riverina and New South Wales South Coast, and is available digitally through its website and apps.
- In 2017, the paper had a daily circulation of 350,000 from Monday to Friday.
The Herald Sun newspaper is the product of a merger in 1990 of two newspapers owned by The Herald and Weekly Times Limited: the morning tabloid paper The Sun News-Pictorial and the afternoon broadsheet paper The Herald, It was first published on 8 October 1990 as the Herald-Sun,