Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Asia Pacific Report

Review: The politics of a meddler’s news empire

Rupert Murdoch

Volume 18, Issue 2

October, 2012

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DAVID MARR is an Australian author and journalist who has been a reporter with Four Corners and the host of Media Watch. Marr, David (2012). The politics of a meddler’s news empire. Pacific Journalism Review, 18(2): 182-185. Review of: Rupert Murdoch: An Investigation of Political Power, by David McKnight. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2012, pp. 296pp. ISBN 978 1 74237 352 2 (pbk).
Author(s): David Marr
Publication date: 
October, 2012

Australian journalists have a sad history of going off to Washington to be ruined. They leave home the hope of the side but after a visit to the boiler room and a peek into the furnace they return enthralled by American ambitions and dream of becoming players in its games of power. Rupert Murdoch was one of these. Visiting Washington in 1972, the young tycoon fell under the spell of Richard Nixon and was never the same again. The flip-flops ended. He had once sung Fidel Castro’s praises, cultivated crusty old Arthur Calwell and used his new national broadsheet, The Australian, to demand ‘Black Jack’ McEwan succeed the drowned Harold Holt. Crazy stuff. He had swung his UK titles behind Labour and his Australian papers behind the rising Gough Whitlam. Then he went to Washington and turned hard right. Nixon—and later Ronald Reagan, Murdoch’s enduring love—gave him the politics he has pursued and the rhetoric he has used ever since.