Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is the most powerful media organisation in the world. Murdoch's commercial success is obvious, but less well understood is his successful pursuit of political goals, using News Corporation as his vehicle. In Murdoch's Politics David McKnight tracks Murdoch's influence, from his support for Reagan and Thatcher, his deal with Tony Blair and attacks on Barack Obama. He examines the secretive corporate culture of News Corporation: its private political seminars for editors, its support for think tanks and its global campaigns on issues like Iraq and climate change. Including analysis of the phone hacking crisis, possible bribery charges and Murdoch's appearance at the Leveson enquiry, this book is a highly topical study of one of the most influential and controversial figures of the modern age.
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David McKnight takes aim at the global media empire of billionaire mogul Rupert Murdoch, whom he portrays as an ideologue with a passion for promoting a conservative political agenda. Murdoch's News Corporation includes Britain's Sun, Times, and Sunday Times; in Australia the Herald Sun and the Australian; and in the US, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, and Fox News, which McKnight calls "the most powerful political weapon available to a single individual in the United States." For McKnight, the influence of News Corporation's media in political agenda setting is shocking and shameful if not criminal. Contrast this with what McKnight considers the lack of bias he credits to mainstream media. The evidence against Murdoch is substantial. He has lunched with presidents and prime ministers, has made substantial contributions to conservative organizations, and has backed many controversial policies such as the Iraq war. The recent phone hacking scandal deeply humiliated him and News Corp., much to the glee of his critics. But if truth be told, it should be told completely. The assumption that there is no "liberal bias" or pandering for ratings in mainstream media is just that -- an assumption. When did entertainment news become "news"? Do the Kardashians really merit a spot following coverage of Afghanistan? As for sleaze and sensationalism, as early as 1997 Murdoch's tabloid, the London Sun, reported that BBC show host Jimmy Savile was a sexual predator. Savile had been honored and celebrated for his work on behalf of numerous charities. It was not until after Savile's death in 2011 that his decades-long history of sexual predation was fully revealed. Murdoch had gotten that one right. The revelations prompted an investigation at the BBC including questioning of then BBC chief Mark Thompson. Thompson, now president of the New York Times, changed jobs perilously close to the breaking BBC scandal. Mainstream media in the US also blatantly ignored the Kermit Gosnell case until pressured to cover the story of murder at his abortion clinic (no agenda there). A more recent debacle has been the launch of Obamacare. Certainly Fox has shown no mercy in vilifying the President, but statistics show more people are using "Citibike" in Manhattan than are signing up for Obamacare nationwide. And absurdly, even the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan has taken politically correct heat from mainstream media over the sprinkler system in its awnings. Mainstream television news crews recently asked the manager if he were "dispossessing the homeless," because the sprinklers deterred the homeless from sleeping in front of the store at night. Murdoch's machinations are not always subtle or even appropriate, but surely the mainstream media is in no position to cast stones. Overall, McKnight's book is a worthwhile read sure to provoke debate about the future direction of media.