Rupert Murdoch built a powerful media empire. It could be inherited by his daughter, Elizabeth. (ARTE / Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
“I thank my dear friend, Rupert Murdoch. It’s incomparably good.” In his speech, Donald Trump made no secret of who he could count on. After all, it was also the TV station that helped appoint Trump to the forty-fifth president of the United States of America. US news anchor Fox News was not actively promoting Trump in the 2016 US election. The White House was already in open conflict with Fox News during the tenure of his predecessor Barack Obama. The channel has tried to discredit Obama more and more by describing Obama as a communist, Muslim, racist and non-American, among others. Fox News is part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
But who is this guy anyway? And above all: what drives a man born on March 11, 1931 in Melbourne, Australia, to power? This three-part BBC documentary series by Owen Phillips attempts to answer these questions, among other things. On ARTE it can now be seen in one piece.
They called each other good friends: Rupert Murdoch (left) and Donald Trump. (ART / Reuters)
Owen’s research dates back far back to Murdoch’s past. Due to the sudden death of his father, he learned to take charge at the age of 22. There is fierce fighting in the media world. Sir Keith Arthur Murdoch (1885-1952) founded a large media company in Australia. After his death, Robert’s heir was left with only substantial debts, at least two regional newspapers and a radio station. He penetrated the rest of the creditors.
Everything revolves around it
Rupert Murdoch (right) got them all hooked: including former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. (ARTE / Getty Images)
Through the will to fight, economic skill and perhaps irrepressible selfishness, Murdoch has succeeded in expanding his market presence well beyond Australia. His tactics hardly changed. In countries such as New Zealand, then Great Britain and the USA, he first bought the popular newspapers with the highest circulation. Reputable newspapers and then TV stations followed.
On the British Isles, it was former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) who first opened the door to a media empire in Murdoch. Faced with the hoped-for success in the elections, she changed a law that allowed Murdoch to own several newspapers at the same time. In contrast, according to the movie, the widespread “The Sun”, the serious “Times” and “News of the World” 2011 should only provide a positive report on the policies of the former “Iron Lady”.
Rupert Murdoch is said to have specified, among other things, what journalists should write politically. (ART / Indigo / Getty Images)
With Thatcher on the hook, their successors didn’t escape the dilemma either. Tony Blair is often criticized for visiting a private island in Murdoch in 1995, or for having remained David Cameron under the influence of Murdoch and his media empire. English actor Hugh Grant, for example, says in Owen’s movie: “I don’t think David Cameron or Tony Blair even dared to cough without Rupert Murdoch’s permission.”
Murdoch’s prolific ego appears to be the main driving force behind his success. Despite some scratches, such as the “News of the World” halting after a wiretapping scandal, it has brought it to a fortune estimated at $ 12.8 billion, according to the 2017 Forbes List. Alistair Campbell, former government spokesperson for Tony Blair, sums it up. In the movie. He says, “There are two things you need to know about Murdoch. For one, he is a real bastard. The only way to deal with it is to act like a bastard as well. Otherwise, he does not respect them. The second thing that you should know about him is his list of priorities in his world. First, Rupert Murdoch, The second, Rupert Murdoch, the third, Rupert Murdoch, the fourth, Rupert Murdoch – nothing more. Everything revolves around him and his business interests.