He is one of the most powerful men in the world. The latest unofficial biography about him is titled “The Man Who Owns the News.” This Thursday that man, Rupert Murdoch, announced what will happen to the baton of his empire by putting his son, Lauchlan, 52, who was already acting as co-executive president, in charge of Fox and News Corp.
At 92 years old, it was to be expected, but he had not given any indication of wanting to let go of control. He will still oversee the big decisions as president emeritus, but he will no longer sit in on the day-to-day details. “Neither excessive pride nor false humility are admirable qualities,” he wrote enigmatically in the second paragraph of the statement in which he reported his decision to “transition” to the role of president emeritus of Fox and News. He says it “with real pride” in what he has achieved, because since this Australian took control of a small family newspaper in southeastern Australia at the age of 22, when his father died of cancer, and turned it into the top of spearhead of a tabloid empire with which to shake the hornets’ nests of Anglo-Saxon politics, his empire has reached 21.7 billion dollars, according to Forbes magazine, spread over three continents.
Its media, and mainly the far-right channel Fox News, is credited with the rise of Donald Trump, the spread of lies about the pandemic and the hoax about the stolen elections in 2020, to name some of the great falsehoods of our time. . In other words, Fox News invented fake news. Or at least it catapulted him into the living room of millions of Americans and gave him the aura of seriousness that he couldn’t have in WhatsApp messages.
His departure comes at a key moment for the company in the face of Trump’s potential return to power, which does not fit with his predictions – he was convinced that the Republican Party candidate would be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – but which will put his chain back on White House screens. The real estate magnate was a regular on his sensational covers in the New York Post while he dedicated himself to sleeping with actresses and rubbing shoulders with Playboy bunnies. Murdoch never withdrew his support, because he knew how to recognize the power of base instincts to win readers, but his latest unofficial biography maintains that in recent years he only wanted to “see him dead” and did not understand how he could enjoy such good health “with what that eats”.
Playing along through a bunch of far-right talking heads who act as his coterie as Fox presenters has, so far, cost a whopping $787.5 million in damages to the voting system manufacturer Dominion, which his network consciously defamed, amplifying Trump’s accusations of electoral fraud. It is not the only scandal. In the United Kingdom, where he was an ally of Margaret Thatcher, he sank his tabloid “News of The World” when it was discovered that he tapped the phones of politicians, celebrities and even the royal family. His argument was that with 53,000 employees, The News was a small part of which he did not have to be aware, but everyone knows that nothing moved in his companies without his tacit or express consent.
Murdoch also wanted respect. That is why he bought The Sunday Times, the one with the largest circulation in Great Britain, and The Wall Street Journal in New York, where yesterday his retirement was reported with a string of compliments about the media baron “who transformed the modern era of media.” communication”.
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