Rupert Murdoch

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Australian-born (though now a US citizen) media entrepreneur, major shareholder and managing director of News Corporation, a conglomorate which owns many newspapers in Britain (incluing the tabloid The Sun, The Mirror and the broadsheet The Times), Australia, 20th Century Fox, Sky Television the monopoly pay-television operator in the United Kingdom and operating in much of Europe, the Fox Network a US-wide television network, and Star TV, an Asian satellite TV service.

Murdoch is generally regarded as the single most politically influential media proprietor in the world, and is regularly courted by politicians (especially current and past British Prime Minsters, who rely on good coverage in Murdoch's tabloids) who attempt to convince him to run favourable coverage. He regularly runs partisan media coverage for political parties that promote policies and decisions which favour his commercial interests. For example, it is believed that Murdoch tried to suppress the publication of the memoirs of Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, in an attempt to curry favour with the mainland Chinese political leadership - Pattern's book was very critical of the Chinese government. Whatever the motives, the book was dropped from publication by Murdoch's HarperCollins book publishing company. It was only because of Pattern's political influence that the story came to light and the book was later published by a non-News Corperation house. It is speculated that Murdoch wanted to please the Chinese government because this all happened around the time he was attempting to get a foot-hold in the Chinese market with the launch of Star TV.

In his early years of newspaper ownership Murdoch was an agressive, micromanaging entrepreneur, notably taking on British printers' unions to reduce his staff costs, and exploiting the selling power of soft-core pornography (in the form of page three girls including Samantha Fox to increase circulation). This confrontation during 1986-1987 with the unions (NGA and SOGAT)was considerable. The move of News International's London operation from Fleet Street to Wapping resulted in nightly pitched battles and riots outside the new plant and TNT (a delivery operation owned by Murdoch and used to deliver newspapers during the disturbances) lorries and depots were frequently and violently attacked.

Murdoch divorced from Anna Murdoch in 1998 (?) and married Wendi Deng, a junior executive in News Corporation's Asian operations 40 years his junior, soon afterward. He has four children from his previous marriage, his adult son Lachlan expected to take over running the corporation at some stage in the future.

References

  1. Murdoch's unbreakable censorship
  2. Satellite Broadcasting: Party Dominance Vs. Cultural Imperialism