Murdoch – man who owns the news: My Listener review

I’ve just reviewed Michael Wolff’s new book about Rupert Murdoch, The man who owns the news, for The Listener.

The full version is in this week’s (31 Jan-6 Feb) print edition, it will be available online from 14 February.

Here’s a preview:

Media Master

Rupert Murdoch occupies The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch like a ghost inhabits a graveyard. There’s a chill wind, an earthy odour, a whistling that sounds almost human; but there’s little of the corporeal substance of a real, warm, live body.

You get the sense this is how Murdoch likes it. Always a loner, and determinedly shy as a younger man, he is intensely private, even though his life has been front-page news for half a century. In this rendering, by senior Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Wolff, the mogul’s obvious influence and immense power are evident, but the man, Rupert, seems to shimmer and vanish. He does inhabit a secret world.

The book is pegged on Murdoch’s 2007-08 successful campaign to win control of the Wall Street Journal.

So this interview with Wolff on the Wall Street Journal’s Youtube channel is a curious artifact.

3 Responses to Murdoch – man who owns the news: My Listener review

  1. Josh Gale says:

    Do believe that part in the youtube video when Michael Wolff says Murdoch doesn’t have a real strategy but just goes by his gut?

  2. It’s a point Wolff makes many times in the book too. I’ve also just read another Murdoch bio – Virtual Murdoch by Neil Chenoweth – it makes a similar argument.

    According to both books, Murdoch is driven by passions and demons rather than the logic of business thinking. This may well be true, if you look at the way Murdoch’s most famous deals have been structured, it’s like a stack of dominoes and if they don’t fall in the right order it creates chaos.

    It’s also interesting how Murdoch is able to structure his business to leverage debt and avoid paying taxes. He’s almost a criminal mastermind with a touch of mad genius.

  3. […] biography of Murdoch is also pretty good. In this piece he brings up-to-date the current Murdoch view about paywalls, etc and News […]

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