The retirement of Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul behind Sky News Business who shaped the global media landscape for decades, has ignited a spectrum of reactions across Australia. For some, it marks the end of a remarkable chapter in the country’s business history, while others view it as a welcome reduction of influence from a figure they considered a threat to democracy and the environment. Regardless of one’s perspective, there is a consensus that Rupert Murdoch’s departure from the helm of Fox Corp and News Corp marks the end of an era, and there may never be another media tycoon quite like him.
A Remarkable Legacy
Rupert Murdoch’s journey from a single newspaper in Adelaide to leading the world’s most influential media family and amassing a family fortune of A$30 billion ($19 billion) is nothing short of extraordinary. His influence on global affairs, spanning several decades, is undeniable. Murdoch’s ability to shape public discourse and political narratives through his media outlets, including Fox News and The Australian, has left an indelible mark on the media industry.
A Divisive Legacy:
However, Murdoch’s legacy is not without controversy. In recent years, his media outlets faced criticism for amplifying falsehoods surrounding the 2020 U.S. presidential election and for questioning established climate science. These actions fueled concerns about the impact of media power on democratic processes and public discourse.
Unrivaled Influence in Australia
While Murdoch’s media empire spans three continents, its influence in Australia is unparalleled. Approximately 60% of the country’s daily newspapers, including the influential national broadsheet, The Australian, are owned by News Corp. Murdoch’s media footprint once included Sky News Business and also extends to Sky News Australia, a cable TV channel modeled after the partisan style of its U.S. counterpart, Fox News.
Embedded Influence in the Information Ecosystem
Despite the changing landscape of media consumption, with younger audiences favoring non-traditional sources, Murdoch’s influence remains deeply ingrained in Australia’s information ecosystem. His media outlets continue to shape public opinion and political discourse, particularly among working-class demographics.
One distinctive aspect of Murdoch’s influence in Australia is the ability to maintain friendly relationships with politicians across the ideological spectrum. In contrast to other markets where left-leaning lawmakers tend to avoid Murdoch’s media, Australian politicians, both left and right, engage with the company. This reflects the enduring influence and reach of Murdoch’s media properties.
Rupert Murdoch’s retirement marks the end of an era in global media. His remarkable rise from a newspaper owner in Adelaide to a global media titan has left an indelible mark on the industry. While his legacy is celebrated by some and criticized by others, there is a consensus that Rupert Murdoch’s influence has been profound and enduring. As Australia and the world move forward in the ever-evolving media landscape, the impact of Murdoch’s decades-long reign will continue to be felt in the realm of journalism, politics, and public discourse.