Communications magnate Rupert Murdoch is retiring, at least partially. At 92 years old, the time has come for his succession at the head of the conservative media empire headed by News Corp and Fox and which he created from a regional media network in Australia. He passes the baton to his eldest son, Lachlan Murdoch, as the companies have announced in separate statements.
Rupert Murdoch, born in Melbourne in 1931, will be appointed chairman emeritus of both companies. Following the Annual General Meetings, Lachlan Murdoch will become sole chairman of News Corp and will continue as executive chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Corporation. Murdoch, however, has assured the group’s employees through a message that does not leave it entirely clear: “In my new position, I can guarantee you that I will participate every day in the competition of ideas,” he wrote. “Our companies are communities, and I will be an active member of our community. “I will watch our broadcasts with a critical eye, I will read our newspapers and websites and books with great interest.”
The official succession statement includes a message from his son: “On behalf of the boards of directors of Fox and News Corp, their management teams and all the shareholders who have benefited from their hard work, I congratulate my father on his 70 years of extraordinary career,” declares Lachlan Murdoch in the announcement note. “We thank him for his vision, his pioneering spirit, his steadfast determination and the lasting legacy he leaves to the companies he founded and the countless people he has influenced. “We are grateful that he serves as Chairman Emeritus and know that he will continue to provide valuable advice to both companies,” he adds.
The succession is what seemed natural. Nothing to do with the goings-on and script twists of Succession, the brilliant HBO series inspired by a tycoon who has more wives (four), more children (six), more years (92), more scandals, intrigues and corporate operations than Logan Roy, his alter ego fictional.
When his father died of cancer in 1952, Rupert Murdoch, an only child, took over News Limited, the family business. Expansion under his leadership began with News Limited’s purchase of Sydney newspapers. Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror in 1960. He bought numerous regional newspapers in Australia and New Zealand in which he opted for sensationalism, prioritizing events and sports. His company founded the Southern Television Corporation and promoted its newly licensed Channel 9 to be the first to be broadcast in 1959 in South Australia. Thus he took the first step towards television.
In 1964 he launched The Australian, the first national newspaper in the country, with a more serious approach. It is a pattern that has been repeated in the United Kingdom and the United States: first sensationalism and then the search for respectability.
In 1969, he took control of News of the World and The Sun in the United Kingdom. That the same publisher of those products later became in 1981 with The Times/The Sunday Times It was quite a shock. At that time, newspapers were very profitable businesses. Murdoch crossed the Atlantic and bought the tabloid New York Post in 1976, turning it into a tabloid newspaper. He later acquired the New York Magazine and TheVillageVoice. In 2007 he also ended up winning the prestigious The Wall Street Journal.
In 1985, Murdoch went all-in on the film and television industry by acquiring ownership of Twentieth Century Fox, as well as a series of regional television stations in some of the major markets in the United States. The following year, he created the Fox Television Stations group, made up of 25 stations throughout the United States that became the basis for the launch of Fox Broadcasting Company in 1986.
That operation would mean a long shock wave earthquake on American television (and politics). I challenge the big three that had dominated the airwaves for decades: ABC, CBS and NBC. The group’s creation paved the way for the groundbreaking broadcast rights deal for the American professional football league (NFL), which served as the launching pad for Fox Sports. In 1996, the Fox network was the most important television group in the country, a position it maintained for eight consecutive years, thanks to highly successful series such as X-Files, The Simpsons and Marriage with children.
Fox News became the most watched news channel in the United States at the beginning of the century. It has been settling into a parallel world aimed at a conservative audience that wanted to be told that Barack Obama was Muslim, that the Democratic Party is the radical left led by degenerates and that Donald Trump won the 2020 elections, but they were stolen from him. These lies usually go unpunished, but presenters and guests of the network cited again and again in their electoral hoax the company Dominion, which filed a lawsuit for 1.6 billion dollars and which threatened Murdoch with one of the most humiliating days of his career. life. With the payment of 787.5 million dollars, he avoided submitting himself publicly before the jury to a devastating interrogation.
There are episodes in Murdoch’s life that would seem hardly credible in a fictional series, such as when his newspapers broke the news of his own death. Or like when two men planned to kidnap his then-wife, Ann Murdoch, but ended up kidnapping and then murdering Muriel McKay, the wife of one of his managers, whom they followed to her house after borrowing the Rolls Royce. of the tycoon.
Murdoch planned to unify his entire empire into a single company. He launched an operation last year to merge News Corp and Fox into a single group under family control. However, investor reaction was negative and he aborted the attempt last January.
This week, interestingly, author and Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff publishes a book, The End of Fox News, in which he speculates about what will happen to the chain when the tycoon is gone.
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