As the summer of discontent continues for the News Corp baron driven down the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, now is a good time to revisit two classic TAC essays on Murdoch and his empire — whom we have to thank for Fox News, the Weekly Standard, the New York Post, and the present incarnation of the Wall Street Journal. As Scott McConnell wrote in 2005:
[T]he Iraq War is Bill Kristol’s War as much as it is George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s, and the Standard is the vehicle that made it possible. It should go down in history as Rupert Murdoch’s War as well, and thus becomes by far the most significant historical event ever to be shaped by the Murdoch media.
How ironic it would be if it were not, in the end, a war Rupert Murdoch particularly wanted.
Murdoch perhaps signaled his displeasure at Kristol’s conflict mismanagement by selling the Standard to Philip Anschutz in 2009. That was the same year Michael Wolff published The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch, reviewed in TAC by Philip Weiss:
In the novel that Wolff makes of Murdoch’s life, the hero is no worse than the rest. The real reason he wants to buy the Wall Street Journal is not to suck the music out of it, as he seems to have done with the Times of London, but to please his “liberal-ish” wife, Wendi, who revels in media celebrity and packs her unglamorous husband into Prada suits. The Journal is meant to be a cultural counterweight to the property that makes Murdoch a lot of money but he can’t abide: Fox News, led by his “monster,” Roger Ailes, and someone else Murdoch “despises,” the “bullying, mean-spirited” Bill O’Reilly.
And so, after 400 pages, Murdoch, whom Wolff unconvincingly styles as an outsider in an effort to jazz the reader’s interest, has become the Obama-loving blue-state insider.