Rupert Murdoch – Global Damage

By Shlomo Maital  

   You have to hand it to Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. tycoon, now turning 91, one of the world’s richest billionaires.  I can’t think of another person who has unseated more worthy leaders and helped elect unworthy conservative ones, in more countries, over such a long time. 

    Here is what the New York Times summarizes about Murdoch: *

*  “In Australia, where Murdoch’s power is most undiluted, his outlets  led an effort to repeal the country’s carbon tax — a first for any nation — and pushed out a series of prime ministers whose agenda didn’t comport with his own.”     Note: Murdoch’s media outlets dominate down under.

 “In Britain, his London-based tabloid, The Sun, led the historic Brexit crusade to drive the country out of the European Union — and, in the chaos that ensued, helped deliver Theresa May to 10 Downing Street.”     

*   “His 24-hour (US) news-and-opinion network, the Fox News Channel,  fused with President Trump and his base of hard-core supporters, giving Murdoch an unparalleled degree of influence over the world’s most powerful democracy.”  Murdoch has since expressed some distaste for Trump – but Fox continues to pander to ‘the big steal’ and to Trump supporters.

    “Few private citizens have ever been more central to the state of world affairs”, conclude reporters Jonathan Mahler and Jim Ruttenberg, in their intensive long research piece on Murdoch. 

     Check out his New York Post for some really mind-bending fake news.

     Murdoch is not alone in gobbling up newspapers and bending them to his views politically.  Struggling local papers are being acquired, downsized radically, flipped, or closed outright. Here are data from the University of North Carolina School of Journalism:

    * Since 2004, the United States has lost one-fourth – 2,100 – of its newspapers. This includes 70 dailies and more than 2,000 weeklies or non-dailies.

    *   At end of 2019, the United States had 6,700 newspapers, down from almost 9,000 in 2004.

    *  Today, more than 200 of the nation’s 3,143 counties and equivalents have no newspaper and no alternative source of credible and comprehensive information on critical issues. Half of the counties have only one newspaper, and two-thirds do not have a daily newspaper.

      As local and regional newspapers disappear, local coverage of corruption, incompetent politicians, influence-peddling and general bad government also disappear.  People increasingly get their news from biased, dubious sources. The result is threatening to democracy, which depends on voter access to accuracy and truth.    

*  “How Rupert Murdoch’s Media Empire Remade the World”, BY JONATHAN MAHLER AND JIM RUTENBERG New York Times, APRIL 3, 2019