What do you think is the best gift to give to a 21-year-old young man? Would you believe if the most expensive present to give him is a newspaper? Here’s a story of how a newspaper became one of the most influential new media corporations in the world.
Rupert Murdoch was handed over a newspaper media by his father when he turned 21. Instead of filling his father’s shoes, young Rupert decided to make it into a high-end show– meaning he upgraded a small newspaper, Adelaide News, to one of the most influential newsgroups in Australia that sent tremors beneath the politicians’ chairs in the 1960s. The newspaper was considered a memorandum of influencing people’s political stance.
After conquering Australia, Murdoch turned the tides over to Britain, planting seeds of the most sought-after news– the inception of tabloid news, The Sun. The news covered gossip, sex, scandal, affairs, skimpy images of topless women, and whatever it took to catch eyes.
However, the first controversy hit when an investigation revealed that the tabloid was using unethical and illegal means to get information, including phone hacking and eavesdropping on private messages.
This was a massive breach of security when the tabloid was exposed of hacking a murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler’s phone to instigate public and political outcry for which Murdoch was compelled to end the Sky merger and shut down The Sun momentarily until the fire died down, paying 1 billion pounds in compensation to the victims.
Instead of looking at it as a setback, Rupert used this closed door to travel overseas to New York in 1974. By 1986, Murdoch started again; this time, it would create history.
Murdoch launched Fox News under the leadership of Roger Ailes. This collaboration led to one of the most influential news channels giving stern competition to CNN and MSNBC. Ailes was a staunch conservative, serving as a political consultant to former presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagen. Needless to say, Fox News embarked on the journey of being a ride-or-die right-wing media.
When Barack Obama assumed the White House, Fox News went into a Gladiator level of aggression with their unhinged new coverage– one such was the infamous Obama Tan Suit Scandal. The news was also scooping out any discrepancies in the Obama administration, condemning a black democratic president.
All these antics amused Donald Trump, who joined hands with Murdoch for his presidential campaign.
Throughout the years, Fox News has propagated conservative ideologies, which amassed a loyal following of the “American spirit,” making Murdoch a mastermind of media, power, and influence.
However, it was recently announced that Rupert Murdoch, the media mega mogul, is stepping down as the chair of Fox Corporation, an empire he built for over six decades. The 92-year-old is passing the succession to his eldest son, Lachlan Murdoch. The primary reason for his stepping down might be age, but insiders also believe that the chain of controversies may have prompted this decision. This included the Fox News-Dominion defamation case, a defamation suit filed by Smartmatic, divorce from his fourth wife, and sexual assault allegations against Roger Ailes, among many others.
Why Did Rupert Murdoch Step Down?
Rupert Murdoch is stepping down from Fox Corporation, which includes Fox News and Fox Broadcast Channel. It also means he will no longer be the chair for News Corp, which hosts the Wall Street Journal and New York Post.
Murdoch decided to withdraw from his position, considering the myriad health complications and the fact that he had to pass on his legacy at 92. Since his future is uncertain, he needed to assign a successor before his passing.
In a twisted way to reign control, Murdoch controls the trust that controls the ownership of a special class of shares. In 2018, he decided to combine the two companies so that Lachlan could leverage the consolidated power in the company. However, this decision was met with strong objections from the major investors and his estranged son, James Murdoch.
In a spiteful move, he pulled out his Queen to kill the Rooks who guarded the King– simply put, he sold his Hollywood film studio and other assets to Disney for $71 billion. Checkmate!
Rupert Murdoch Controversy Explained
Rupert Murdoch’s sovereignty is marred by a series of controversies.
- Rupert’s confidante, Ailes, faced severe allegations of being a sexual predator by twenty women on Fox News, led by Gretchen Carlson. Ailes was fired in 2016.
- Murdoch’s amity to Trump cost him more than it could benefit. After Trump’s presidency was overthrown, Fox News propagated false claims that the voting equipment company Dominion was involved in conspiring to steal the election. An insider scoop revealed that Fox News employees already knew these were false claims yet carried on with the news. Dominion filed a defamation suit against the news. Fox News had to pay out an astronomical sum of $787.5 million.
- Voting Software company Smartmatic filed a similar lawsuit, accusing Fox News of spreading misinformation about the company’s hand in rigging the votes in favor of Joe Biden in 2020 elections.
- Fox News fired Tucker Carlson over his contribution to promoting these false claims, using him as a scapegoat.
- Murdoch also divorced his fourth wife, Jerry Hall, via an email, “we have certainly had some good times, but I have much to do.”
- Meanwhile, a few insider sources revealed that Lachlan Murdoch may not have a considerable vote of confidence as a successor of an empire. Professional Murdoch observer Brian Stelter said, “There’s a leadership void.”
Amidst these controversies, only time will tell whether the succession is successful.
If you would like to learn more about Murdoch’s philosophy on building an empire, we recommend watching the HBO series Succession, loosely based on his life. Read here for a thorough analysis of Succession.
What are your thoughts on this major shake-up in Fox News? Do you think Murdoch’s shadow will lurk still?
Is Lachlan capable of carrying the legacy? Let us know in the comments section below.