Rupert Murdoch’s media holdings dominate the news market in much of the English-speaking world. In his native Australia, he owns between six and seven of every ten national and metro papers sold. In Britain, The Sun and The Times command the newsstand tabloid market. And in America, he owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post. Then there’s also his film studios, TV networks, and publishing companies.
But cracks are beginning to appear in Murdoch’s empire. In 2011, The Guardian revealed that Murdoch’s News of the World had hacked into the voicemail of a young woman who had been abducted and killed. The phone activity gave false hope to the girl’s parents that she may be alive and the scandal that ensued led to the closure of the News of the World. The investigation has escalated into an enormous case involving bribery, computer hacking, and conspiracy among Murdoch’s media holdings, Scotland Yard, and Britain’s political elite.
Meanwhile, Murdoch’s American holdings are fairing better with The Wall Street Journal and Fox News ahead of their peers in terms of audience. But the latter brand has been bruised over the past year, a trend some tie to the network’s overly rosy predictions for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in the 2012 contest.
NPR’s media correspondent, David Folkenflik, documents the rise of Murdoch and the recent turn in fortune for the tycoon in his new book Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires.