By Barry Tucker
News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch is under siege from a block of USA shareholders who want a say in how the company is run. At present, the only voting shares are held by Murdoch family members.
Murdoch is also embattled in the UK, where former staff members of defunct newspaper News of the World are appearing in court following revelations of a phone hacking scandal. Murdoch has never won the acceptance of the UK Establishment, which he once craved. The phone hacking business disgusted Britons and continues to do so. Some of his media and entertainment mud sticks, but this time it is sticking to the one seen as the mud thrower. See: The Murdoch tape for a shocking revelation of Murdoch’s attitude towards a UK parliamentary inquiry into the scandal. He appeared in that inquiry and has been called back to explain himself. Another UK parliamentary committee found Murdoch, and his son James, to be not “fit” to run a large corporation.
In Australia, however, Murdoch has been allowed to own a huge majority of around 67 percent of newspapers throughout the country, in addition to interests in free-to-air and paid TV. See: Murdoch’s media monster to get an idea of his vast empire.
Rodney E. Lever was a senior Murdoch executive and knows how his business is organised and re-organised. He writes about the latest push to remove Murdoch or reduce his influence on the board. See also another story by Lever, linked from this blog: Is Rupert Murdoch planning a home coming?
It is interesting to note that the jury is still out when it comes to determining if the news media has any measurable effect on people’s attitudes about which party’s policies they should support. See: Canberra Press Gallery named, probably not shamed and Bias in the Canberra Press Gallery.
I have read several reports on news media influence before and since the 7 September, 2013, Australian federal election. None provided reasonable proof that people are influenced by the news media. I have not seen one that compares news media content with opinion poll results. My gut feeling is that there is a connection. See also: Can news media influence election outcome? and Claims emerge of opinion poll rigging.