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Rupert Murdoch, the Architect of Fox News’ Influence in American Politics, Announces Retirement

by Madison Thomas
8 comments
Rupert Murdoch retirement

Rupert Murdoch, the 92-year-old Australian media titan who established Fox News and thus became an influential figure in U.S. politics, has announced his retirement from his leadership roles at Fox’s parent company as well as his own News Corp. media conglomerate.

Fox confirmed last Thursday that Murdoch will assume the title of Chairman Emeritus for both entities, effective from their board meetings scheduled for November. Lachlan Murdoch, his son, will take over as the Chairman of News Corp and will maintain his current position as CEO of Fox Corp.

In a statement, Lachlan Murdoch expressed gratitude for his father’s new role as Chairman Emeritus, stating that his invaluable advice will continue to guide both organizations.

In addition to founding Fox News, Rupert Murdoch was instrumental in launching the Fox broadcast network, successfully challenging the longstanding domination of ABC, CBS, and NBC with groundbreaking shows such as “The Simpsons.” He also owns prominent publications like The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

In 2019, Murdoch streamlined his business holdings, selling numerous entertainment assets, including film production divisions and rights to Marvel comics, to Walt Disney Co. This also included properties like National Geographic and the FX cable network.

Since its inception in 1996, Fox News Channel has had a profound impact on both television and U.S. politics, polarizing opinions about Murdoch. Transforming the vibrancy of political talk radio into a 24-hour television network, Fox News overtook competitors CNN and MSNBC in ratings within six years of its launch.

However, recent times have been turbulent for Fox, notably due to a $787 million settlement in a defamation lawsuit stemming from its false claims in coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Subsequently, Tucker Carlson, the channel’s highest-rated personality, was terminated. Fox Corp. stock, although performing well this year, started to show decline in early 2022, partially attributed to legal challenges and loss of audience to smaller competitors.

In a letter to staff, Murdoch assured his continued involvement in the organizations. He stated, “In my new role, I assure you I will remain fully engaged in the contest of ideas. Our firms are communities, and I intend to be a proactive participant.”

Murdoch’s sudden announcement came without immediate explanation, and coincidentally precedes the release of a book by Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff, titled “The End of Fox News,” which explores the network’s future post-Murdoch.

Paolo Pescatore, a media industry analyst, remarked that Murdoch’s sudden announcement was unexpected as he has previously shown no signs of relinquishing control. Pescatore noted that it would be difficult for someone like Murdoch, who built an empire from a single newspaper in Adelaide, Australia, to completely withdraw from the media world he helped create.

Murdoch and his family have been influential in media and pop culture, often cited as the inspiration for the HBO series “Succession.” With a net worth estimated at $19 billion in 2020 by Forbes, Murdoch never sought political office but wielded significant influence over politicians in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Over the years, Murdoch’s influence extended to the United Kingdom, where he once owned the tabloid News of the World. His reputation was tarnished following scandals involving unethical journalistic practices by the newspaper’s employees more than a decade ago, leading to its closure and the sale of his stake in Sky.

Fox News also faced sexual harassment scandals during the 2010s, which resulted in the departures of top executives like Roger Ailes and prominent host Bill O’Reilly. Murdoch dismissed these as isolated incidents, attributing them to political motives due to the network’s conservative stance.

On the day of the announcement, shares of News Corp and Fox experienced an uptick in early trading.

A correction is noted: A previous version incorrectly stated the release date for Michael Wolff’s book, “The End of Fox News.”

Contributions to this report were made by AP correspondents Kelvin Chan and Jill Lawless in London.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rupert Murdoch retirement

What positions is Rupert Murdoch stepping down from?

Rupert Murdoch is stepping down from his leadership roles at both Fox’s parent company and his own News Corp media conglomerate. He will assume the title of Chairman Emeritus for both organizations.

Who will replace Rupert Murdoch at News Corp and Fox?

Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son, will take over as the Chairman of News Corp and will continue in his current role as CEO of Fox Corp.

What other media assets does Rupert Murdoch own besides Fox News?

In addition to Fox News, Rupert Murdoch has been instrumental in launching the Fox broadcast network and owns The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. He also had a range of entertainment assets, which he sold to Walt Disney Co. in 2019.

Why has Rupert Murdoch decided to step down at this time?

The text does not provide an immediate reason for Rupert Murdoch’s decision to step down. However, it coincides with the upcoming release of a book titled “The End of Fox News,” which speculates on the network’s future without Murdoch.

What has been the recent financial performance of Fox Corp?

While Fox Corp stock had been performing well, it started to show a decline in early 2022. This has been attributed in part to legal challenges and the loss of audience to smaller media competitors.

What was the impact of legal challenges on Fox News?

Fox News had to pay a $787 million settlement in a defamation lawsuit related to its false claims in the coverage of the 2020 presidential election. This was followed by the termination of Tucker Carlson, one of the channel’s most popular personalities.

How has Rupert Murdoch impacted American politics?

Rupert Murdoch became an influential figure in U.S. politics primarily through the creation of Fox News Channel. The 24-hour network transformed the energy of political talk radio into television and significantly influenced national politics.

Will Rupert Murdoch still be involved with News Corp and Fox?

Yes, in a letter to staff, Murdoch stated that he would remain fully engaged in both organizations in his new role as Chairman Emeritus.

What is the estimated net worth of the Murdoch family?

As of 2020, Forbes estimated the Murdoch family’s net worth at roughly $19 billion.

What is the reputation of Rupert Murdoch in the media industry?

Rupert Murdoch is a polarizing figure who has both supporters and critics. He has been involved in various controversies, including unethical journalistic practices and sexual harassment scandals within his organizations.

More about Rupert Murdoch retirement

  • Rupert Murdoch Biography
  • Fox News History
  • News Corp Overview
  • Lachlan Murdoch Profile
  • Fox Corp Stock Performance
  • Legal Challenges Faced by Fox News
  • “The End of Fox News” by Michael Wolff
  • Forbes Billionaires List 2020
  • News of the World Scandal
  • Sexual Harassment Scandals at Fox News

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8 comments

Michelle O'Connor September 21, 2023 - 11:25 pm

Can’t help but think about how this might impact the whole media landscape. Fox has been a major player for years, this is bound to shake things up.

Reply
Alex Greene September 22, 2023 - 1:04 am

That $787 million lawsuit must’ve been a blow. maybe it accelerated Murdoch’s decision to step back? just speculating here.

Reply
Paul Wilson September 22, 2023 - 2:30 am

92 and still in the game, sort of. The guy is a force of nature. But everyone has to step back at some point, even him.

Reply
Sandra Williams September 22, 2023 - 5:58 am

Did anyone notice this is happening right before Michael Wolff’s book release? Talk about timing, maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Reply
John Smith September 22, 2023 - 6:04 am

Wow, this is huge news. Murdoch stepping down feels like end of an era in media. But honestly, im not surprised, the man is 92.

Reply
Rachel Kim September 22, 2023 - 12:58 pm

Is anyone else curious about what Murdoch plans to do next? Says he’ll be “involved every day”, but what does that really mean?

Reply
Tim Johnson September 22, 2023 - 1:15 pm

Its interesting to see Lachlan taking over. But the real question is, can he fill those shoes? They are pretty big shoes to fill if you ask me.

Reply
Nina Patel September 22, 2023 - 2:30 pm

Murdoch and family always been the talk, even inspired the show “Succession”. Now it’s actually succession time. Life imitates art?

Reply

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