Tag Archives: News Corporation

Don’t dare call this freedom of the press: Murdoch’s three continent media empire

Hacker-gate is off the front pages right now, as our media obeys its own one-story-at-a-time-all-the-time rule. But until the next ‘newsworthy’ phase erupts, let us remind ourselves of a few things about the Murdoch empire.

Here’s a good summary of its impact (from a Joe Nocera column last week):

I generally admire entrepreneurs who build giant companies Rupert Murdoch . . . has not been a force for good over the course of his long career. His Bill O’Reilly-ed, Glenn Beck-ed Fox News has done a great deal to coarsen the political discourse. His tabloids have lowered the standards of journalism on three continents — and routinely broken the law on at least one of them. He had dumbed down his prestige papers, like The Times of London. He has run roughshod over cross-ownership rules meant to prevent one man or company from having too much power — and then used his lobbying might to get those rules diluted. He has put kowtowing to China ahead of freedom of the press, even killing a book set to be published by his HarperCollins unit that the Chinese authorities objected to. He has consistently used his media properties to reward allies and punish enemies. It’s a long list.

Murdoch’s media reach is the very definition of undue influence (as are the tens of thousands of lobbyists who choke our government, but that’s another story).

From wikipedia, here is a list of just the categories of entities owned by News Corp, followed (after the jump) by the full list of the companies. There’s not time enough in my life to count them, but do go ahead and try if you’ve the stomach. You’d better grab some popcorn before you make the attempt.

Holdings

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Anybody told the WSJ yet that the head of Scotland Yard just resiged?

So the WSJ editorial page was/is/always will be conservative. They embraced neoconservativism. They loved them some wars. They embraced ‘trickle down’ and ‘supply side’ economics, and they embraced some of the wackiest Republican office seekers in a century.

But they were still part of a great paper, full of real journalists who have to read this today.

News and Its Critics
A tabloid’s excesses don’t tarnish thousands of other journalists.
When News Corp. and CEO Rupert Murdoch secured enough shares to buy Dow Jones & Co. four years ago, these columns welcomed our new owner and promised to stand by the same standards and principles we always had. That promise is worth repeating now that politicians and our competitors are using the phone-hacking years ago at a British corner of News Corp. to assail the Journal, and perhaps injure press freedom in general.

That is a deeply political statement. This is pretty good too:

The British politicians now bemoaning media influence over politics are also the same statesmen who have long coveted media support. The idea that the BBC and the Guardian newspaper aren’t attempting to influence public affairs, and don’t skew their coverage to do so, can’t stand a day’s scrutiny.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see more resignations from the news side soon, something that in any case has been happening for three and a half years. Back in April, when Reuters announced some new top editorial appointments, many of them were former WSJ reporters.  At the time, Media Matters wrote:

It’s the latest chapter in the steady loss of talent from Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal since Rupert Murdoch took over. And many of the departed personnel are helping to boost the efforts of Dow Jones’ biggest rivals — Reuters, Bloomberg, and The New York Times.

Even before Murdoch’s News Corp. finalized the purchase of Dow Jones in late 2007, concerns arose in and out of the news operation . . . strategy could slant coverage or, at least, hurt quality.

In interviews with Media Matters, many of the dozens to flee the Journal and Dow Jones in the past three and half years say the push for shorter stories, less investigative work, and — at times — a subtle nudge for more business-friendly stories has made it a worse place to work and resulted in a diminished editorial product.

That’s destruction, turning a national treasure into just another ‘product’.  But it’s what Daddy wanted.

Light. Tunnel. Rupert Murdoch has liberal heirs.

Plus Roger Ailes is no youngster.

New York Magazine’s lengthy profile of Ailes has grabbed some headlines today, mainly because he said “Sarah Palin is stupid”.

But there’s also this:

Even Rupert Murdoch, sensing the shifting tectonic plates, contemplated a move to the middle. In the summer of 2008, Ailes confronted Murdoch after he learned Murdoch was thinking of endorsing Obama in the New York Post; Ailes threatened to quit. . . . Murdoch’s children were agitating for a greater role in the company. Ailes surely understood that their politics, along with those of then–News Corp. president Peter Chernin and communications adviser Gary Ginsberg, differed greatly from Murdoch’s. The tensions surrounding Ailes played out in the publication of Michael Wolff’s Murdoch biography. Matthew Freud, husband of Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth and a London-based PR executive, encouraged Wolff to portray Fox as a pariah wing of the News Corp. empire.