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Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empiresby David Folkenflik
Synopses & Reviews
Rupert Murdoch is the most significant media tycoon the English-speaking world has ever known. No one before him has trafficked in media influence across those nations so effectively, nor has anyone else so singularly redefined the culture of news and the rules of journalism. In a stretch spanning six decades, he built News Corp from a small paper in Adelaide, Australia into a multimedia empire capable of challenging national broadcasters, rolling governments, and swatting aside commercial rivals. Then, over two years, a series of scandals threatened to unravel his entire creation.
Murdoch's defenders questioned how much he could have known about the bribery and phone hacking undertaken by his journalists in London. But to an exceptional degree, News Corp was an institution cast in the image of a single man. The company's culture was deeply rooted in an Australian buccaneering spirit, a brawling British populism, and an outsized American libertarian sensibility — at least when it suited Murdoch's interests.
David Folkenflik, the media correspondent for NPR News, explains how the man behind Britain's take-no-prisoners tabloids, who reinvigorated Roger Ailes by backing his vision for Fox News, who gave a new swagger to the New York Post and a new style to the Wall Street Journal, survived the scandals — and the true cost of this survival. He summarily ended his marriage, alienated much of his family, and split his corporation asunder to protect the source of his vast wealth (on the one side), and the source of his identity (on the other). There were moments when the global news chief panicked. But as long as Rupert Murdoch remains the person at the top, Murdoch's World will be making news.
NPR's media correspondent delves into the most influential media company in the world, News Corporation, showing how Murdoch survived the corruption scandal that nearly tore it apart.
In July 2012, testifying before a British parliamentary inquiry about the News of the World telephone hacking scandal, Rupert Murdoch experienced what he called the most humble day of my life.” Murdoch seemed certain to lose control of the monolithic news company he had built from a single Australian daily. The drama was all the more remarkable because of his unrivaled political and cultural influence worldwide, through Britain's take-no-prisoners tabloids, the top-rated Fox News Channel, the New York Post, and the Wall Street Journal.
Within months, Murdoch, bloodied but not bowed, reasserted his hold by splitting News Corp into two companies. The summers stories of the jockeying among Murdochs children and corporate lieutenants to succeed him were silenced; what promised to be the second half of King Lear never unfolded. News Corp marched on, its king aging but firmly on the throne. In Murdoch's World, David Folkenflik tells the story of how News Corp survived this tumultuous chapter, and of the man who makes the news, literally: Rupert Murdoch.
NPR News media correspondent David Folkenflik tells the tumultuous story of the most influential private media company in the world, Rupert Murdoch's News International, chronicling how Murdoch built the company and its culture, and how he survived the scandal that nearly brought it down.
About the Author
Award-winning journalist David Folkenflik has been NPR's media correspondent since 2004. He previously covered media and politics for the Baltimore Sun and edited the 2011 book Page One: Inside The New York Times and the Future of Journalism. He has covered Murdoch and News Corp extensively and has been a frequent commentator on the hacking scandal in both the US and the UK. Folkenflik lives with his wife, the radio producer Jesse Baker, and their daughter in New York City.
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