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Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires
     

Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires

by David Folkenflik
 

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Rupert Murdoch is the most significant media tycoon the English-speaking world has ever known. No one before him has trafficked in media influence across those nations so effectively, nor has anyone else so singularly redefined the culture of news and the rules of journalism. In a stretch spanning six decades, he built News Corp from a small paper in Adelaide,

Overview

Rupert Murdoch is the most significant media tycoon the English-speaking world has ever known. No one before him has trafficked in media influence across those nations so effectively, nor has anyone else so singularly redefined the culture of news and the rules of journalism. In a stretch spanning six decades, he built News Corp from a small paper in Adelaide, Australia into a multimedia empire capable of challenging national broadcasters, rolling governments, and swatting aside commercial rivals. Then, over two years, a series of scandals threatened to unravel his entire creation.

Murdoch's defenders questioned how much he could have known about the bribery and phone hacking undertaken by his journalists in London. But to an exceptional degree, News Corp was an institution cast in the image of a single man. The company's culture was deeply rooted in an Australian buccaneering spirit, a brawling British populism, and an outsized American libertarian sensibility—at least when it suited Murdoch's interests.

David Folkenflik, the media correspondent for NPR News, explains how the man behind Britain's take-no-prisoners tabloids, who reinvigorated Roger Ailes by backing his vision for Fox News, who gave a new swagger to the New York Post and a new style to the Wall Street Journal, survived the scandals—and the true cost of this survival. He summarily ended his marriage, alienated much of his family, and split his corporation asunder to protect the source of his vast wealth (on the one side), and the source of his identity (on the other). There were moments when the global news chief panicked. But as long as Rupert Murdoch remains the person at the top, Murdoch's World will be making news.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
11/01/2013
Award-winning journalist Folkenflik (editor, Page One: Inside the New York Times and the Future of Journalism, a companion to the acclaimed documentary of the same name) is a popular media correspondent for NPR. In a 2011 NPR "Weekend Edition" interview, he cited the media's critical role as a "watchdog service on major and powerful institutions in society," noting that conglomerates of Rupert Murdoch's media industry had set themselves above such accountability; that idea became the thesis of this work. More than a biography of Murdoch's world, the book portrays and analyzes personalities, motivations, and events leading up to the recent notorious phone hacking and political corruption scandal in the UK, along with strategies that subsequently averted collapse of the global organization, albeit at great personal cost to the iconic media mogul. Meticulously documented, the text includes more than 50 pages of notes detailing interviews (many confidential), as well as other evidence supporting this account of the media empire's rise, fall, and recovery. VERDICT Brimming with facts and pithy observations but lacking bullet points or sidebars, Folkenflik's title will interest the serious reader of history and criticism of the media's societal role and worldwide impact.—Elizabeth Wood, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH
From the Publisher

“Entertaining and informative…Folkenflik, the media correspondent for NPR… has developed the contacts and style that make this reportage fascinating and credible.”—Booklist

“Folkenflik lucidly and effectively sorts out the complicated phone-hacking story and its political ramifications.”—Kirkus

Murdoch's World is bolstered by deep reporting, including scores of interviews, and laced with delicious anecdotes.”—Los Angeles Times

“I'm not sure I've seen a more apt capturing of Roger Ailes, a hardcore ideologue, the creator of one of the great anti-fact engines in the history of American life but at some level at [his] core someone who knows how to create and loves great television above all else.”—Josh Marshall, publisher of Talking Points Memo

Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
The story of the global Murdoch media empire's alternately triumphant and tumultuous journey into the 21st century. Media reporter Folkenflik (editor: Page One: Inside the New York Times and the Future of Journalism, 2011) regularly covers Murdoch's News Corporation (as its American branch is known) for NPR. Articles he wrote for the Baltimore Sun in 2002 questioning the accuracy of Geraldo Rivera's reporting from Afghanistan earned him the enmity of the News Corp–owned Fox News. That network's pugnacious conservatism is a hallmark of the Murdoch brand all over the world, most obviously at tabloids like the New York Post but also at the jewels in the empire's crown: The Australian, the Times of London and the Wall Street Journal. Though a public corporation accountable to stockholders by structure, News Corp is run like a family business for the benefit of chairman Rupert, primarily, and his heirs. An insular "mate" culture throughout the company encourages staff and management to view outsiders as the enemy. "It is the defining contradiction of Rupert Murdoch and his corporation that it has accumulated more influence than any other media company in the world and yet remains convinced of its status as an outsider," writes the author. Usually, this patently hypocritical stance serves them well in the bloody battles for properties and viewers. But in 2011, when rivals broke the story that Murdoch employees in the U.K. routinely hacked phones of politicians, royalty, and even ordinary people, like a 13-year-old murder victim, in search of scoops, it looked like the corporation's Achilles' heel was finally located and would foil its steady march to world domination. While chapters on Fox News--though amusing and of interest to American media watchers--can seem like material from another book entirely, Folkenflik lucidly and effectively sorts out the complicated phone-hacking story and its political ramifications.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781610390903
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
10/22/2013
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
File size:
773 KB

Meet the Author

Award-winning journalist David Folkenflik has been NPR's media correspondent since 2004. He previously covered media and politics for the Baltimore Sun and edited the 2011 book Page One: Inside The New York Times and the Future of Journalism. He has covered Murdoch and News Corp extensively and has been a frequent commentator on the hacking scandal in both the US and the UK. Folkenflik lives with his wife, the radio producer Jesse Baker, and their daughter in New York City.

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