Rupert Murdoch, a Throne, and Tabloid Content

In the world today, people who live in the societies of developed civilisation have been reached by the media. The mass media in terms of the sources of information and news such as television, radio, newspapers, and magazines, are received by large numbers of people. If these mediums derive from one source, can they be trusted? Consequently, can we describe it as success? Rupert Murdoch is one of the most successful and influential media entrepreneurs. This essay will present significant factors of Murdoch’s success, focusing on tabloid content and political connection.

Rupert Murdoch
The hero of nicknames, 'press baron', 'media mogul', 'tabloid journalist', and 'the President of the media empire', Rupert Murdoch, 76, born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 11 March 1931, is the chairman and chief executive officer of News Corporation which is one the world's largest multinational media conglomerates. His father, Keith Murdoch who died in 1952 had financial interests in newspaper companies. One of which being News Limited, published The News in Adelaide, Australia. He wanted young Murdoch to learn and experience journalism assisted by Rohan Rivett, a journalist. When his father died, Rupert Murdoch came back from Oxford University to take over his father's business. He became the managing director of News Limited in 1953. It was the start of his media life. In 1956, he married Patrica Booker who was a former shop assistant and air hostess; the first of three marriages. They produced Murdoch's first of six children Prudence, then divorced in 1967. The same year, he married Anna Tõrv, a probationary employee at his newspaper, The Daily Telegraph. They had three children named Elisabeth, Lachlan, and James Murdoch, then divorced in June 1999. Seven days later he married Wendi Deng, vice-president of STAR TV, an entertainment TV channel in Hong Kong. Murdoch and Deng have got two children Grace and Chloe. Murdoch became an American citizen in 1985 because United States' law states that foreigners cannot own a television station.

"We have no intention of failing.The only question is how great a success we’ll have."
– Rupert Murdoch

The Throne
Rupert Murdoch's company, News Corporation has owned two publishing firms, forty-one newspapers, thirty-four magazines, one record label, three radio networks, five sport teams, sixteen production studios, fifteen television broadcasts, seven satellite television networks, cable channels and platforms, websites, etc ( All kinds of media now exist in his company.

When Rupert Murdoch started his business in 1953, he focused on a circulation of newspaper and profits from advertising to increase because larger numbers of a circulation mean a larger income. In this case, after three years later, he bought Sunday Newspaper in Perth, Western Australia. Three years later, the TV week, Australia's first weekly television magazine, and New Idea, Australia's oldest women's magazine was published by Rupert Murdoch. In 1964, Australia's first national newspaper, a broadsheet, The Australian, was published. Australia's first national broadsheet newspaper by Rupert Murdoch is significant. "Initially based out of Canberra, Murdoch moved The Australian to Sydney, after which his reputation as a serious newsman began to develop" (Carmichael, para. 2). In 1972, Murdoch acquired Sydney's tabloid The Daily Telegraph, which made him one of the three largest newspaper proprietors in the country (Carmichael, para. 2). His reputation as a ruthless businessman was worse in England but he did not cease expanding. One year later Murdoch expanded his business in the United States of America; buying the San Antonio Express-News. In 1976, he bought the New York Post for $50 million, and continued acquisitions the New York Magazine Company and the Chicago Sun-Times (Carmichael, para. 4). By 1984, his company, News Corporation owned over 80 newspapers and magazines. In addition, in 1985 he purchased 20th Century Fox, for $250 million. Rupert Murdoch's business network, worth in excess of $6.7 billion, continues in his dominion among the most powerful media in the world (Carmichael, para. 9).

"I believe too many of us editors and reporters are out of touch with our readers. Too often, the question we ask is 'Do we have the story?' rather than 'Does anyone want the story?'"
– Rupert Murdoch

Page 3 Girls
The Page 3 Girl in The Sun is essential to talk about Murdoch’s success. Rupert Murdoch purchased The Sun, a tabloid newspaper in United Kingdom in 1969. The Sun was contrary to making a profit, lost $5 million per year. Rupert Murdoch made a decision to print half-naked female photographs on page three; page three of a tabloid is frequently read second to the front page rather than page two. His decision succeeded. The Sun was turning a profit. He also purchased The Times and The Sunday Times. In an interview with Pooley (2007, p. 3), Murdoch stated "Sun, with its topless Page 3 Girls on the breakfast tables of a million Britons". This quote shows his reasoning in favour of yellow journalism. Moreover, due to public appeal the same photographs are displayed the independent website,; though not a pornographic site, these photographs are not censored. "News Corporation's British holdings were already highly profitable in 1983. One notorious tabloid, The Sun, contributed 40 percent of the corporation's profit. What prompted Murdoch's move was a mixture of chance and necessity" (Freeman 1996, p. 228).

Page Six
The New York Post's page six is also a special page like page three of The Sun. Page Six portrays 'well-known' entities such as movie stars, sportsmen, or politicians, embarrassed by scandals, ugly photographs or gossip. This is a good example of Murdoch's yellow journalism. According to Johnson (2006), even famous people want to know other famous people's gossip. "Everyone wants to be on Page Six, even if they claim they don't", says Perez Hilton, who runs a well-read celebrity gossip website,, "They try everything to get in there". On Don Imus' radio show Monday, developer Donald Trump joked; "I wish I knew about this. I would have very well been willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get some of those terrible stories about me out on page six" (Johnson 2006, para. 6). Page Six has officially registered a trademark and has emotionally registered among masses.

The Murdochism from the name of Rupert Murdoch means that the media which is not controlled by Rupert Murdoch is not standard (Pilger 2003, para. 7). This is similar to his priority in media to give people pleasure rather than, or through information."Like all his newspapers, they follow the path paved with his ‘interests’ and his extremism. They echo Murdoch's description of Bush and Blair as 'heroes' of the Iraq invasion, and his dismissal of the blood they spilt. For good measure, his tabloid the Herald Sun invented an al-Qaeda terrorist training camp near Melbourne; and all his papers promote John Howard's parrot-like obsequiousness to Bush, just as they laud Howard’s racist campaign against a few thousand asylum-seekers who are locked away in outback concentration camps" (Pilger 2003, para. 6).

Political Connection
Rupert Murdoch's media is often used by politics because control through media cannot be ignored by anyone; an example of this is that President Bush of the United States of America gave The Sun an exclusive interview in 2003. According to Milbank (2003), the President Bush had not given solo interviews to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Time, or Newsweek when he gave it to The Sun. He also reported that Bush has not given an exclusive interview in his entire presidency to the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe and dozens of other major publications. "So why did Bush choose the tabloid that last raised international attention by publishing topless pictures of Prince Edward's fiancée? It's because The Sun has huge, uh, circulation….Indeed, about 3.5 million Britons are said to buy it each day -- all of them, of course, for the articles" (Milbank 2003, para. 8). In addition, Scott McClellan, who was a former White House Press Secretary (2003-2006), said the reason why Bush gave it to The Sun because "It has a large readership". Milbank (2003, para. 10) also described the connection between Bush and Rupert Murdoch, "Word on Fleet Street is it's an obvious payoff to The Sun's owner, Rupert Murdoch, the conservative publisher behind many Bush-friendly news outlets such as Fox News. Officials at the White House acknowledge that it was a reward to The Sun for its unstinting support of the United States regarding the war in Iraq".

Rupert Murdoch is one of the most influential people in the world. He is a media entrepreneur and also a business man. Certainly, his success is based on tabloid content; in the beginning, he focused on making profits through larger circulations of newspaper, and then he published Australia's first national daily newspaper, a significant historical event. Though his yellow journalism such as sexual images, scandals, and gossip, in tabloid content has been criticised by public opinion, he recognised well the mass appeal. As a result, he also satisfies the desired knowledge of the public. His experience of the people has made his success through the people. However, even though his success is based on tabloid content, it is not a whole fact because political connection is also around him.

Carmichael, E. ‘Making Headlines: Murdoch Makes the News’, Evan Carmichael, viewed 6 August 2007, <>.

Freeman, C 1996, ‘Citizen Murdoch-A Case Study in the Paradox of Economic Efficiency’, Journal of Economic Issues, vol. 30, no. 1.

Johnson P. 2006, ‘Page Six of ‘New York Post’ making scandal headlines’, USA Today, 10 April, viewed 6 August 2007, <>.

Milbank, D. 2003, ‘Prez in Topless Tabloid’, Washington Post, 15 November, viewed 6 August 2007, <>.

Pilger, J. 2003, ‘John Pilger finds Murdochism everywhere’, New Statesman, 29 September, viewed 6 August 2007, <>.

Pooley, E. 2007, ‘Exclusive: Rupert Murdoch Speaks’, Time, 28 June, viewed 6 August 2007, <,8599,1638182-1,00.html>.

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