Rupert Murdoch


Rupert Murdoch was born on March 11, 1931 in Australia, but was raised in Britain.  He studied politics, economics, and philosophy at Worcester College, Oxford University.  After college, he began his career as an editor.  Rupert was born to Australian newspaper publisher, Sir Keith Murdoch and his wife Elizabeth Greene.  They had three daughters before having Rupert in 1931. His father, Sir Keith Murdoch had a thriving career in publishing.  He was said to be the most influential newspaper executive in Australia. Sir Keith Murdoch was the director of Melbourne based Herald and Weekly times.  He also owned The News and the Sunday Mail, which are two Australian newspapers. Later he went on to buy newspapers in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane.  After his death in 1952, Rupert inherited these newspapers.  Shortly after the large inheritance, he came up with a formula that would boost circulation.  The structure of the formula centered around boldface headlines, sports, crime, sex and human interest stories.  This enabled him to buy newspapers in Britain, which included News of the World and The Sun.

         Murdoch is the founder, CEO, and majority stock-owner of News Corporation, which owns major media companies throughout the world such as Fox Broadcasting Network, Twentieth Century Fox, The New York Post and Fox News, among others around the world.  He ranked #117 on the 2010 Forbes Billionaire List.  Rupert has 6 children from 3 wives. His one son, James Murdoch, became the Chief Executive of BSkyB.  His other son, Lachlan, is the Chief Operating Officer of News Corp. and the head of The New York Post.

         He continued to buy newspapers and in 1973 he purchased a number of American new spapers. First, he bought 2 newspapers in San Antonio and then he started publishing the tabloid Star.  Soon, he started buying and selling newspapers to make high profits.  These newspapers and tabloids include the New York Post, Boston Herald, TV Guide, Chicago-Sun Times, Village Voice, New York Magazine, The Times and The Sunday Times.  After buying the wide array of publications in the United States, Rupert decided to become a full time citizen and moved to New York City.  Soon after, he decided to invest in other media ventures such as radio, television, film, and book publishing.  In 1985, he made his biggest purchase buying Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  That same year he also bought several independent television stations, which he turned into what is now known as FOX.  He then bought a number of book publishing companies, the biggest one being Harper & Row Publishers.  Since acquiring such companies, he has gone on to acquire Sky Television (4 channel British satellite broadcasting) and Star TV, a Hong Kong based television service.  In 1991, News Corp went into major debt and Rupert Murdoch made the decision to sell off many of his American magazines.  His net worth today is estimated at 6.9 billion and his yearly salary is 4.51 million, bu t because of bonuses and other investments (excluding stock gains) his total yearly compensation amounts to 23.64 million.  He is now one of the leading investors in satellite television, the internet and in the film industry.

         Politically, he is known as being a far right conservative partisan.  He has donated more than 1 million to the republican party and is a strong political influence in republican campaigning.  News Corporation is the world's third largest media conglomerate.  Rupert Murdoch is known for typically publishing more conservative stories and is known for meeting politicians in private.  Some of these influential politicians include David Cameron, Kevin Rudd, Stephen Harper, and Barack Obama.

Interlocks and Third-Party Connections of News Corporation

Rupert Murdoch is the CEO of NewsCorp.  It seems as though Rupert Murdoch's ties to other businesses outside of the media industry are extremely extensive.  We will discuss some of the most important relationships of his network

David F. DeVoe is the former assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Dept. of Justice.  Both David DeVoe and Rupert Murdoch sit on three boards together.

James Murdoch of News International is a major contributor of the Bill Clinton Foundation.

Peter Barnes is the Chairman of Ansell Limited.   Ansell Limited is a contractor for U.S. Department of Defense and Defense Logistics Agency.  One of the directors is L. Dale Crandall, the former President of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Healthcare, Inc., one of the largest healthcare providers in the United States.  He is also the current director of City Of Hope and Coventry Healthcare.
Rod Eddington, the ex-CEO of British Airways, is the chairman of the Australia and New Zealand branches of J.P. Morgan Chase, a major financial services firm.

Alwaleed bin Talal is an investing pal of Murdoch who also owns 7% of News Corp.   He is a chariman of Rotana Group, an investor of Citigroup, chairman of Kingdom Holdings Company and a chairman of Kingdom Hotels International.  He is the prince of Saudi Arabia, a country which is a member of World Health Organization, World Bank, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency.  He was major donor to Bill Clinton Foundation.  Bin Talal is connected to Bill Gates through investing partnerships.  He also ranked #19 in 2010 on the Forbes billionaires list.

Viet Dinh was an associate special counsel of Whitewater Committee for the U.S. Senate He is a principal of Bancroft Capital Management.  Dinh clerked for justices like Sandra Day O'Connor (US Supreme Court) and Laurence H. Silberman (senior judge U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit).  He is a friend of Preet Bharara (U.S. attorney for southern district of NY), who was chief council for Charles E. Schumer (current U.S. senator from NY) and Pete Domenici (N.M. state senator for 6 terms ending in 2009).  Dinh is a professor at Georgetown University and a member of the Federalist Society. This allows him continual interaction with numerous current and up and coming lawyers and judges. He was a former consultant for Freddie Mac.  He was also the former Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mark Hurd is the co-President of Oracle Corporation.  Oracle is a contractor for the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense.  He is part of the Technology CEO Council.  All CEO's of major technology companies are a part of this organization. Hurd is a friend of Lawrence J Ellison (CEO of Oracle), who can be linked to U.S. Council for International Business. Through the Tech CEO Council, Hurd has access to Kevin B. Rollins, who is on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Matthew Freud is the son in law of Rupert Murdoch, connected by marriage to Elisabeth Murdoch. He is founder and CEO of Freud Communications Ltd.  Nike, Sony and PepsiCo, three of the most prominent businesses in our nation, are clients of his company.

John L Thornton, a professor at Tsinghua University of Beijing, is a trustee of the China Institute of America, chairman of HSBC North America Holdings, Inc., director of Ford Motor Company, director for China Netcom Communications Group Corporation, chairman of Brookings Institute, director of Intel Corporation, and a member of Committee on Capital Markets Regulation.


After researching and analyzing our data on Rupert Murdoch, we have come to the conclusion that there are a number of potential conflicts of interest interlocking directorates of media companies pose in terms of the ability to operate in the public interest.  Our directorate, Rupert Murdoch, has his hands in many different businesses and aspects of society, both politically and socially.  By doing so, he contributes to his own personal agenda and his family's best interests, instead of looking out for the public interest.  There is a huge access journalism effect that is present throughout News Corporation that yields to Rupert Murdoch's benefit.  Throughout the last 8 weeks, we have learned that our political economy is based on relationships.  After our research, it seems that each directorate he is tied to contributes to the unequal distribution of wealth, power and knowledge.  These power elite stimulate our economy the most.  They also have the most power politically.  With this much control, it becomes much too easy for a select number of individuals to shape the future of multiple crucial industries.  Unfortunately, what this assignment has shown us is that Rupert Murdoch, a member of the power elite, seems more concerned about staying at the top of the food chain and making money than properly informing people. The biggest and most influential thing Rupert Murdoch is able to do with his media companies and connections to other industries is spread propaganda, which is very problematic. He's able to do this by building strong relationships. With those relationships comes the indirect effect of him getting exactly what he wants -- higher ratings, circulation, and distribution of his media products.

Our findings included strong ties in our US government, healthcare, international airways, international finance, computer technology, and auto companies among other prominent businesses.  It is clear that that these key members of the power elite have lived very privileged lives.  For example, we learned that Rupert Murdoch's father was a very influential and successful entrepreneur in the news publishing industry as well.  Rupert was able to reap those benefits and will pass his knowledge to his children so they will be able to do the same.  The ability for the same family to continue to push forward into the future with this oligopolistic approach is hardly democratic.  This is how the distribution of wealth comes to be severely distorted and it leads to an unequal distribution effect once the corporation gets to a certain size.  Rupert Murdoch's corporation is so large that he is able to buy up small companies to help him distribute his content.  This is why he has expanded to other countries as well.  By setting up media companies elsewhere, he can capitalize and continue to prosper and expand.  This is truly a scary thought, and in our eyes it also poses problematic issues within our society.  The biggest relationships that we found troubling were those between global media expansion of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch's ties to the government and his ties the medical field.  They all seem to be using one another to keep themselves at the top of our political economy.  The concept of the diversification of the power elite into so many different industries must be seriously considered as the landscape of our future continues to shift.  The more powerful a corporation gets, the more they can influence people's minds.  Rupert Murdoch seems to be leaving out a lot of the truth about what's going on for his own personal agenda.  Many news broadcasts are based on what sells instead of informing people, which is very problematic.  The information that he fails to report is the direct result of him protecting his profit driven goals and insuring that advertisers will continue to be interested in doing business with him.

The idea of the media is to spread the wealth of knowledge and to inform the people in our society. First, we found out that he has a strong tie to John L. Thornton, who sits on the board of Ford Motor Company and also China Netcom. Melanie, a reporter from News Hounds said, "The next time you see an anchor or "contributor" on Fox News emphasizing the threat China poses to Taiwan, to the US economy, or to gas reserves, remember that Rupert Murdoch is, nevertheless, more than happy to take China's money to his bank.  And while Bill O'Reilly, Linda Vester, David Asman and other Fox employees preach about morals and values, democracy, freedom, and the right to vote, remember that their boss has no problem doing business with a country that isn't doing very well in some of those areas. Also, be afraid. Be very, very afraid. Before long, Rupert Murdoch's form of "news" will reach everyone on the planet." Clearly the website believes Rupert Murdoch does not operate his media outlets in the public interest. Is her comment wrong?  We thought she brought up a good point that directly related to the ties with Ford Motor Company that we found.  Fox News will not shed negative light concerning Ford Motor Company and all of the jobs that were lost. This is because, if they were to do so, John L. Thornton would look bad.  Rupert Murdoch does not want that to happen in any capacity because Thornton is helping him put money in his pocket and spread his media outlets using the international distribution of internet content through China Netcom.

The wealth that he continues to obtain contributes to his power, which is the most important thing to note. The wealth is the reason he is a member of the power elite. Through political donations and contributions to other companies, Rupert Murdoch can not only influence another directorate to hire his loyal friends, but he can influence that directorate to allow that person to rise through the ranks a lot faster than most people.

Once we began to research the different industries that Murdoch could be tied to, it began to become apparent that this much concentration of power could prove to be detrimental to society.  With this many interlocks discovered, it is hard to believe that he can truly deliver any uncensored information through his different media outlets.  We found that he is interlocked with Ford, so in no way will he approve any delivery of information that sheds negative light on problems concerning Ford autos.  He has his hand in oil so Fox News will continue to show positive propaganda for war in Iraq.  There has been links shown to the medical field so Fox talks about negative concerns about health care bill.

We have also found Rupert has ties to both Steven Jobs and Bill Gates, the founders and CEOs of IBM and Apple.  He also contributed to both democratic and republican party nominees over the last few elections.  This type of overlapping interlocking allows Murdoch to always maintain his economic status and power within these changing markets.  Having the ability to be a part of the newest innovations allow for Murdoch to stay on top of the media market with technological advances.  Contributing to both parties allows him the comfort of knowing his power can't be usurped by the next party taking office.  His power guarantees that he will not only maintain his current status, but will continue to become more powerful as time goes on, regardless of who is in office.

Murdoch's link to Viet Dinh is one we found extremely troubling.  This link can connect Murdoch to former U.S. Senators, judges and even a former Supreme Court Justice.  Dinh is a professor at Georgetown University and has constant access to current and future risings lawyers, politicians and judges.  The field of education is the other half of this troubling link.  It is possible that professors such as Dinh, with ties to such a powerful individual, will adapt the information which they disseminate to their students to match the concepts used by this current model.  This becomes a dangerous idea to think that young minds could be shaped according to a structure that must be altered soon.  As Murdoch has stated, "We are in the midst of a phase of history in which nations will be redefined and their futures fundamentally altered."

Works Cited

"K Rupert Murdoch, CEO Compensation -" - Business News, Financial News, Stock Market Analysis, Technology & Global   Headline News. Web. 16 Oct. 2010.     <>.

"Nations Will Be Redefined - Rupert Murdoch."  The New American.  Web.  26 February 2009.

"Rupert Murdoch - Biography." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 15 Oct. 2010.       <>.

"Rupert Murdoch Biography." Web. 16 Oct. 2010.
<  articles/Rupert-Murdoch-9418489>.

"Rupert Murdoch Biography." Investing Value - Business and Investment Portal. Web. 16 Oct. 2010. <>.





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Interlocking Directorates from COMM 405: The Political Economy of Communications on October 30, 2010 5:57 PM

In his work on "Who Rules America," William Domhoff explains how interlocking board of directors (BODs) create a corporate community... Read More

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