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Murdoch Madness

A frustrated politician: Rupert Murdoch in 1985. © Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis & Rupert Murdoch after facing the Leveson inquiry, 26 April 2012. © Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
A frustrated politician: Rupert Murdoch in 1985. © Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis & Rupert Murdoch after facing the Leveson inquiry, 26 April 2012. © Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The saga of the Murdoch empire has always held a hypnotic appeal for the Monthly’s writers. So much political influence and control of information rests in the hands of this sprawling, secretive multinational outfit that we ignore their machinations at our peril. In the wake of the UK Leveson inquiry’s damning report, we look back on how it came to this.

 

The biggest story in politics at the moment is the relationship between News Limited and the government,” a veteran Canberra-watcher says. According to a News Limited insider, “Mitchell has inculcated a view [at the Australian] that they are there not only to critique and oversee the government, [but also that] it is their role to dictate policy shifts, that they are the true Opposition.

The United States of Chris Mitchell: The Power of Rupert Murdoch and the Australian’s Editor-in-Chief by Sally Neighbour

 

Stalin once said of Tito that he was convinced that the oceans only came up to his knees. The same might be said of Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch & Company: Rupert is finally reaping what he sowed by Robert Manne

 

Rupert Murdoch’s fluffy plumage moulted long ago, and the tweets he has been posting resemble the hoarse emissions of a buzzard or a baleful raven, uttering prophecies of doom.

Rockin’ Rupert: Murdoch’s Tweets of Doom by Peter Conrad

 

'I find that long period in the wilderness for Lachlan confusing,' Michael Wolff says from New York. 'Why has he not clarified his position in terms of family and News Corporation?'

The Reluctant Son: Lachlan Murdoch and News Corp by Paola Totaro 


Australian journalists have a sad history of going off to Washington to be ruined. Rupert Murdoch was one of these. Visiting Washington in 1972, the young tycoon fell under the spell of Richard Nixon and was never the same again.

The Politics of News: David McKnight’s ‘Rupert Murdoch: An Investigation of Power’ by David Marr

 

"More than any conservative pundit, [Glenn] Beck had delved deep into the reservoirs of paranoid American right-wing politics, coming up with interlocking networks of enemies of society - from National Public Radio to the United Nations - to explain the malaise and disappointment of much of his audience."

The Fox News Show: Rupert Murdoch’s Populist Creations by Guy Rundle


In both the UK and the US, Murdoch’s political and cultural influence is widely regarded by democrats as a matter of serious concern. Yet in neither of these countries have his newspapers or TV channels even remotely reached the near-monopoly position Australians have nonchalantly granted him with our mainstream press.

Murdoch's War: How a lovestruck teenager, an angry man and an ambitious baron made sure bad news was no news on the path to Iraq by Robert Manne

 

Just before Christmas 1958, the young newspaper proprietor went to a party at the Lido nightclub. The singer, an Asian with a deep baritone voice, did four Nat King Cole songs and some carols. Murdoch’s wife, Pat, a former shop assistant and air hostess, recognised the singer as the conspicuously dark schoolboy who had bought his uniform at Myers.

Rupert Murdoch & Kamahl by Encounters

 

Much of Australia has never forgiven Rupert Murdoch for putting wealth and power above patriotism, and deserting his country of birth to become an American citizen. Political leaders find it particularly irksome.

Comment: Rudd and the Murdoch Press by Mungo MacCallum

 

Deng Wen Ge - she changed her name to Wendi in her mid-teens - was born in Shandong around the time that her future husband was buying London's News of the World. She grew up in neighbouring Xuzhou as a Subei ren - the robust, rosy-cheeked folk of northern Jiangsu province, who are known for being blunt, blithe and somewhat uncouth.

Wendi Deng Murdoch by Eric Ellis

 

In 1983, Rupert Murdoch told his biographer William Shawcross, “All newspapers are run to make profits. Full stop. I don't run anything for respectability. The moment I do, I hope someone will come and fire me and get me out of the place - because that's not what newspapers are meant to be about.”

War of Words: The future of journalism as a public trust by Eric Beecher

 

‘Stillness’ has been James Murdoch's smartest tactic in the contest, if a contest it is, for the Murdoch succession ... Being away from Dad, while Lachlan flew too close and was burnt, helped James' stature, because family status is always - literally - relative.

Rising Son: James Murdoch by Malcolm Knox 


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