Rupert Murdoch
Media Holdings and History

(Photo credit: Life magazine

Biography Rupert Murdoch was born in Melbourne, Australia on March 11, 1931. At the time, his father Sir Keith Murdoch held a position as a regional newspaper magnate at News Limited — which would later become the “foundation stone” of News Ltd, and ultimately News Corporation for Rupert, accroding to Bruce Page who wrote The Murdoch Archipelago. Rupert received his education at The University of Oxford; which is regarded as one of the world’s leading academic institutions.

In 1953 at the age of 22, Rupert returned home after his father passed to take over News Limited, according to BBC. From the point he took over his father’s business he proceeded to establish himself as one of the most dynamic media proprietors in Australia by taking an aggressive approach to acquisition and expansion, Rupert expanded his holdings by acquiring a variety of newspapers in major cities throughout Australia. He was slowly building his media conglomerate that would later become known as News Corporation.
—Compiled by Bryant Ezroj

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Building News Corporation Today, News Corp is known mainly for some of their holdings in their portfolio, such as Fox Broadcasting Company, 20th Century Fox, Fox Sports, Fox Business Network and Dow Jones, the company which publishes The Wall Street Journal. But before News Corp was, the company it is today, it was known as News Limited. News Limited was a smaller company that started by aggressively acquiring smaller daily newspapers throughout Australia. It wasn’t until News Limited acquired The Australian – Australia’s first national daily newspaper – that it began to build credibility as a newspaper publisher.

After seeing all of his ventures turning a profit in Australia, Murdoch changed his focus to Great Britain, where in 1969 he acquired News of the World, the most circulated Sunday paper in Britain. Ten years later, Rupert Murdoch created News Corporation, a holding company for News Limited and all of its subsidiaries, which Murdoch had acquired over the past two decades. News Corp would proceed to acquire all of 20th Century Fox by 1984, and Metromedia by 1986 which is when Murdoch decided to launch Fox Broadcasting Company, the umbrella company for stations and studios such as Fox Sports, Fox News, Fox Atomic, 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight and more.
—Compiled by Bryant Ezroj

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Fox News
Fox News Channel is a television channel owned by News Corporation. Rupert Murdoch, the owner of News Corporation, created the channel in 1996, and it rose to high popularity by the end of the 1990s. Now, it is the most watched cable news network, beating CNN and MSNBC.

After creating the Sky News Network in 1989 in the United Kingdom, Murdoch moved towards creating a similar network in the United States. After purchasing most of the Fox Film Corporation, Murdoch concentrated on developing a 24-hour news network under the Fox Corporation.

In 1996, Murdoch officially launched the Fox News Channel. Setup to run 24-hour news, the channel was released for both cable and satellite consumers.
A month after the launch of the channel, Murdoch named Roger Ailes CEO of the Fox News Channel. Ailes had just resigned as producer of America’s Talking.

Multimedia Programming
Fox News Channel started as television only, while Murdoch’s numerous print news companies handled the print world. In the last decade, the network has taken advantage of both radio and Internet programming.

While the Channel’s site first appeared online in the mid 1990s, the site did not receive much attention until after the new millennium. Presently, the site has live streaming of the Fox News Radio feed, live news updates, as well as archived clips of all shows.

The Fox News Channel has been home to some of the most watched news shows on television such as The O’Reilly Factor, The Sean Hannity Show, and The Glenn Beck Program. The channel’s numerous hosts have embodied the essence of the network and what has been criticized as an overly conservative bias.

Bill O’Reilly
Host of The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly, has somewhat become the face of all Fox News political commentators. Hired in 1996 by Roger Ailes, his show originally took on the name The O’Reilly Report. Numerous times in its history The O’Reilly Factor has been rated the number one show of all three major 24-hour news networks. Though host of a high-rated news show, O’Reilly has often received criticism for being biased and supposedly misstating facts.

Sean Hannity
In 1997, Roger Ailes hired Sean Hannity to host Hannity and Colmes, a show that critics accused of highlighting Hannity’s typically conservative angle while playing down the counterpoint liberal opinion of Alan Colmes.

Over a decade later, in January of 2009, Colmes resigned as Hannity’s partner on the show. Hannity filled the timeslot with his own show, Hannity, which holds the timeslot today.

Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck was originally a host on CNN’s Headline News. He switched to the Fox News Channel in January 2009 and hosts his own show, Glenn Beck. The show has received criticism for its propagandist approach and inaccurate facts. Most recently Beck has received criticism for asking Americans to meet him on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 2010 for his version of Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision.
—Compiled by Robert Oliver

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Affiliation with politicians
While Fox News has been criticized for its strong alignment with right-wing politics, Murdoch has had past relationships, direct and indirect, with both sides of the political arena.

Links Through Roger Ailes
Roger Ailes, whose television career started in Cleveland as assistant producer of a local network talk show, was chosen as Fox News CEO by Rupert Murdoch in February of 1996, shortly after the launch of the network. Murdoch’s relationship with Ailes is one of his key links to Republican politicians.

In 1967, early in Ailes’ producing career, he met Richard Nixon, who was a guest on The Mike Douglas Show, then produced by Ailes. One year later, Nixon hired Ailes as his campaign media consultant.

Ailes’ relationship with Nixon was succeeded by numerous other relationships with Republican presidents. In 1984, he worked as a campaign consultant to Ronald Reagan. Four years later, he helped George H. W. Bush to victory. Ailes kept these relationships well after he accepted Murdoch’s job offer, and Murdoch too became close with both Reagan and Bush.

Ailes and Murdoch’s relationships with presidents continued with George W. Bush. During the 2000 election, the two were accused of trying to ensure George W. Bush was elected over Al Gore. Shortly after, around the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Murdoch and Ailes were in direct contact with George W. Bush, giving him advice on maintaining the American public’s support.

Murdoch’s Secret Meetings
In the last decade, the media has repeatedly accused Murdoch of holding secret meetings with numerous politicians about to adopt major positions of power.

David Cameron
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, was accused in October 2008 of taking a private luxury jet owned by Murdoch to meet with him on his private yacht. Cameron was the Tory leader at the time, not yet Prime Minister. What was discussed was never disclosed.

The media paid close attention to the relationship between the two and began to notice Cameron at many of Murdoch’s personal celebrations while publicly having nothing to do with him.

Kevin Rudd
Murdoch has received heated criticism for his closeness with Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd. In 2007, before Rudd became Prime Minister, the then Labor Party Leader met with fellow Australian, Murdoch, in his New Corporation office in New York. When the two were asked by reporters what they spoke about, the two responded, “A lot of things,” and would say no more.

Four months later, the two men met again. This time, they met at a New York strip club. When asked what they spoke about, Rudd said that he was too drunk to remember.

Barack Obama
In the summer of 2008, Murdoch met with then Senator Barack Obama. Seeing that Obama was likely to win the election for President of the United States, Murdoch met with him secretly to “broker a tentative truce” between him and Fox News. Obama agreed to be more open to talking with Fox News while the network agreed to abandon its hostile portrayal of Obama.

—Compiled by Robert Oliver

(Photo credit: Comedy Central )

Controversy and criticism
In the United States, one cannot say “Fox News” without thinking of the blatant bias the media organization exhibits. However, this method may be what maintains the success at Murdoch’s American television network; The State of the News Media 2010 reports, “(Fox’s) prime-time viewership was nearly bigger than both CNN’s and MSNBC’s combined.”

Hosts and commentators of Fox News are notorious for their republican leanings and it has become increasingly evident throughout the past ten years that Fox supports right-wing politics. In 2001, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting investigated the conservative leanings of the network, and titled its findings “The Most Biased Name in News: Fox News Channel's extraordinary right-wing tilt.” The report looks at the history of ownership by Murdoch and who he chose to run his successful news outlet, with all the major players being prominent Republicans. FAIR describes the network’s branding as: “Wrapping itself in slogans like ‘Fair and balanced’ and ‘We report, you decide,’ Fox argues precisely the opposite: Far from being a biased network, Fox argues, it is the only unbiased network.”

According to Neilsen, a television data company, FOX News and its persuasive hosts also have the highest ratings in cable news.
The comedic late night hosts, such as Jon Stewart from The Daily Show, persistently question Fox News and occasionally will take a jab at Murdoch himself. In this video , one can watch Stewart’s reaction to the 2003 Federal Communications Commission decision to allow media conglomerates, including News Corp, to continue the expansion of it’s company.
On a more serious commentary side, perhaps no one has been more outspoken toward Murdoch than Keith Olbermann, a commentator of the left leaning counterpart MSNBC. In the Youtube video below, Olbermann attacks Murdoch for being naïve about his own network’s bias.

Media Matters for America has also pointed out in various articles and analyses what kind of influence Murdoch and FOX have on the American people. Because News Corp is one of the largest conglomerations in the world, it has a substantial amount of power in the decision making in national politics, leading to heavy criticism from watchdog press.
—Compiled by Sarah Grieco

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Current media holdings and plans for expansion Rupert Murdoch is the CEO of News Corporation, the third largest media conglomerate in the world in the 2009 Fortune 500. This corporation includes a vast and impressive ownership, ranging from print media to film studios. According to CNN, there are more than 64,000 employees working for News Corp and the company’s revenue is more than $3.2 billion. Its different companies are located in different countries across the globe, including the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.

Currently, News Corp declares on their Web site that it owns 10 film studios; five television companies; 16 cable television companies; four direct broadcast television stations; 32 newspapers and magazines; nine book publishers (all of which are Harper Collins publishers in different countries except for the religious-based company Zondervan); and two integrated marketing services. News Corp also has other assets in various online ventures, including the social networking Web site Myspace and Hulu, which is shared in part with a competing conglomerate Walt Disney.

With each group, there are certain names that stand out for American media. Of the television stations, FOX and its offspring are certainly well known. The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal also are popular newspapers in the U.S. In fact, the Audit Bureau of Circulation reports from last year revealed The Wall Street Journal is the highest circulated newspaper in the country, with 2.1 million, which defeated the 2008 frontrunner USA Today.

Harper Collins, the publishing company owned in eight different countries by News Corp, is also one of the most respected houses in the printing industry, and has published memoirs by Fox News commentators, including Sarah Palin.

Needless to say, News Corp is a powerhouse. The influence its ownership has over media outlets is undeniable, and the company is still, to this day, expanding. On June 16, Bloomberg reported News Corp will bid for the remaining fraction of British Sky Broadcasting; it already owns 39 percent of the television company and Murdoch wishes to purchase the last 61 percent. This will cost News Corp, at the very minimum, $11.5 billion. This is not stopping the media giant from bidding, and Bloomberg reports that the second-in-command at News Corp, Chase Carey, will likely succeed in increasing the empire’s media holdings.
—Compiled by Sarah Grieco