Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch

Credentials

Background

K. (Keith) Rupert Murdoch is an Australian-born American media tycoon whose companies control several major conservative news outlets in the United States, the UK, and Australia. From 1980 to 2013, Murdoch was the chairman and CEO of News Corporation, the original parent company of the U.S. cable TV station Fox News Channel. In 2013 – at which point News Corporation was the largest multinational media company in the world – the firm split into two entities. One, a new News Corp, is now the parent corporation of Murdoch-owned publishing assets that include The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, The Sun, and The New York Post. The old News Corporation was renamed 21st Century Fox, and became the parent company of the former News Corporation’s television broadcast, entertainment, sports, and news media assets – including Fox News. Murdoch remains the chairman of both companies. 3Andrew Walker. “Rupert Murdoch: Bigger than Kane,” BBC News, July 31, 2002. Archived September 29, 2021. 4What Rupert Murdoch’s life is really like: How the mogul grew his media empire and $7.35 billion fortune, weathered scandal, and became engrained in international politics,” Business Insider, August 11, 2019. Archived September 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/H43Vj 5Daniel Holloway. “Charlie Collier Named Fox Entertainment CEO; Gary Newman Exits,” Variety, Oct. 19, 2018. Archived August 25, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/FFVxU 6Businesses,” Fox Corporation website. Archived August 25, 2022. Archive URL: http://archive.today/Zgm0j

In 2019, The Walt Disney Company acquired 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets. The $71.3 trillion dollar purchase included 20th Century Fox, 20th Century Fox Television, Fox Searchlight, Fox Networks Group, Indian television broadcaster Star India, and streaming services Star+, Hotstar, as well as Murdoch’s 30 percent stake in Hulu – making Disney the owner of 60 percent of Hulu.7Brooks Barnes. “Disney Moves From Behemoth to Colossus With Closing of Fox Deal,” The New York Times, March 20, 2019. Archive URL: http://archive.today/8BdyH

Murdoch kept ownership “of the Fox broadcast network, a chain of local Fox television stations and his crown jewel, Fox News. Those businesses, along with the FS1 sports channel, were rolled into a new publicly traded company, Fox Corporation.” At that time, Lachlan Murdoch, Murdoch’s oldest son, became CEO of Fox Corporation, while Paul Ryan, the former Wisconsin Republican congressman who was speaker of the House from October 2015 to January 2019, joined Fox Corporation’s board.8Brooks Barnes. “Disney Moves From Behemoth to Colossus With Closing of Fox Deal,” The New York Times, March 20, 2019. Archive URL: http://archive.today/8BdyH

In 2021, the Murdoch family was 71st on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans.971 Rupert Murdoch & family,” Forbes, September 29, 2021. Archived September 20, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/EWJln

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Rupert Murdoch’s personal fortune is about $7.82 billion, and his biggest asset is his FOX US equity.10Rupert Murdoch,” Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Accessed Dec. 13, 2022. Archive URL: http://archive.today/V9NEd

Oil and Gas Industry Investments

In 2022, News Corp acquired the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). According to News Corp’s Form 10-K annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022 and filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, OPIS “provides pricing data, news, analysis, software and events relating to energy commodities, including crude oil, refined products, petrochemicals, natural gas liquids, coal, metals, renewables, Renewable Identification Numbers and carbon credits. OPIS also provides pricing data, insights, analysis and forecasting for key base chemicals through its Chemical Market Analytics business (formerly Base Chemicals).” 11News Corp SEC Form 10-K annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. Accessed Dec. 13, 2022. Archived PDF on file with DeSmog.

In addition to his media empire, Murdoch has invested in the oil and gas industry. In 2010, Murdoch purchased a stake in Genie Energy Corporation, a division of IDT Corporation.12Business and Financial Leaders Lord Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch Invest in Genie Oil & Gas,” press release, IDT, November 15, 2010. Archived December 12, 2010. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/yOIp4

“Genie’s success will ultimately depend, in part, on access to the expertise of the oil and gas industry and to the financial markets. Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch are extremely well regarded by and connected to leaders in these sectors. Their guidance and participation will prove invaluable,” Genie CEO Claude Pupkin commented in a press release.

Murdoch also joined Genie Energy’s Strategic Advisory Board. The watchdog organization Media Matters reported that Murdoch-owned Fox Business Network promoted a Genie Energy oil shale project located in Israel while failing to disclose Murdoch’s financial stake in the company.13Sarah Pavlus. “SHALE GAME: Why Won’t Fox Disclose Murdoch’s Oil Interests?Media Matters for America, July 15, 2011. Archived September 30, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/iQiId

Murdoch has said, “we should approach climate change with great skepticism.”14Rupert Murdoch – Full Interview,” YouTube video uploaded by user “The Australian, July 14, 2014. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Murdoch’s Career in News Media

In 1954, at age 22, Murdoch inherited and took charge of two Adelaide, Australia newspapers, the Sunday Mail and The News. He went on to found Australia’s first national newspaper, The Australian.15Andrew Walker. “Rupert Murdoch: Bigger than Kane,” BBC News, July 31, 2002. Archived September 29, 2021. 16“Rupert Murdoch,” Britannica.com. Archived July 25, 2022. Archive URL:http://archive.today/Af5uE

In 1959 Murdoch became chief executive of News Limited.17Proxy Statement,” March 15, 1990. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. 2024080187-2024080212. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Following the acquisition of a number of papers in Australia and New Zealand, Murdoch expanded to the United Kingdom in 1969 with his purchase of the News of the World newspaper group.181969: Murdoch wins Fleet Street foothold,” BBC, January 2, 1969. Archived September 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ueCm Murdoch went on to become one of the largest owners of UK daily newspapers, including The Sun, Sun on Sunday, The Times, and The Sunday Times.19Two billionaires now own half the top 10 daily newspapers warns Corbyn as Mail owner buys the i,The London Economic, November 29, 2019. Archived September 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/JxakT

Murdoch moved to New York City in the 1970s. He founded News Corporation in 1980 as a holding company for News Limited, and became a U.S. citizen in 1985 to comply with the country’s media ownership laws.20Andrew Walker. “Rupert Murdoch: Bigger than Kane,” BBC News, July 31, 2002. Archived September 29, 2021.

Rupert Murdoch and Big Tobacco

A search for Rupert Murdoch in the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library at the University of San Francisco returns over 1,800 results. Below are some notable examples of Murdoch’s history with Big Tobacco, some of which have also been detailed at the Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch profile on Murdoch.

August 1989

In August 1989, Rupert Murdoch was elected to the Board of Directors of Philip Morris (PM).21Philip Morris Companies Inc. Annual Report 1989,Philip Morris, 1989. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library at UCSF. Bates No. 201826488-201826547.He was still listed as a PM director in 1995, according to archived tobacco industry documents.22DIRECTORS OF PHILIP MORRIS COMPANIES INC.” January 1995. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library at UCSF. Bates No. 2048834277.

Murdoch was also a member of PM’s “Compensation and Public Affairs and Social Responsibility Committees.”23Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders: To be held Thursday, April 27, 1995,” Philip Morris, March 13, 1995. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library. Bates No. 2073880002-2073880027.

1985

A 1985 publication in the Philip Morris records, discussing “PMI’s efforts in communicating the industry’s position and point of view to the public,” makes mention of Murdoch’s media entities:24THE ISSUES RAISED IN HAMISH’S MEMO,” March 1985. Retrieved from Industry Documents Library at UCSF. Bates No. 2023268384-2023268392.

“As regards the media, we plan to build similar relationships to those we now have with Murdoch’s News Limited with other newspaper proprietors. Murdoch’s papers rarely publish anti-smoking articles these days.

“To sum up, then, on using our natural allies. We have made a start; we have proved that it can be done; we have found that they can be a very effective force; and we intend to do more in the future.”

Murdoch was mentioned in another PM discussion document dated March 29, 1985:25THE PERSPECTIVE OF PM INTERNATIONAL ON SMOKING AND HEALTH ISSUES,” March 29, 1985. Retrieved from Industry Documents Librry at UCSF. Bates No. 2023268329-2023268337.

“A number of media proprietors that I have spoken to are sympathetic to our position – Rupert Murdoch and Malcolm Forbes are two good examples. The media like the money they make from our advertisements and they are an ally that we can and should exploit.”

March 1983

In March 1983, Trevor King, external affairs manager of Imperial Tobacco in London, suggested to Martin Mulholland of Gallaher that a meeting with News International “would fit well with our present work on the Tobacco Alliance.”26Dear Martin,” Imperial Tobacco Limited, March 7, 1983. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents library at UCSF. Bates No. 303672814.

The letter in its entirety reads:

Dear Martin,

I have not had the opportunity to bring up a matter at recent P.R.C. meetings, and I thought I should let you know of an initiative being taken by Bryan Simpson which will be of interest to us.

You may know that Bryan has had very good contacts with the News International media group, particularly with Rupert Murdoch and Bruce Matthews. After a recent discussion with myself, I understand from Bryan that Bruce Matthews has suggested a format for an evening function embracing tobacco companies operating in the U.K.; some senior advertising agencies that work in the tobacco field; and executives from News International. Apparently, they envisage an evening dinner meeting of, say, thirty people at which Bryan would be the guest speaker. It seems as if News International may suggest a date sometime in April.

I believe we should very much encourage such a meeting with News International, as it would fit well with our present work on the Tobacco Alliance, and would fit particularly well with the response we had recently from the N.P.A. I expect to hear further from Bryan Simpson shortly on this matter.

Kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Trevor King

According to Sourcewatch, Bryan Simpson – who in 1983 was working with the International Tobacco Information Center, or INFOTAB, an international cigarette lobbying organization – was previously employed at the Murdoch-owned Herald & Weekly Times in Australia, and was Murdoch’s nephew-by-marriage.27Bryan C. Simpson,” SourceWatch. Accessed September 2021.

1979

Concerning cigarette ads in The New York Post, Alan Blum – founder and president of the anti-smoking group Doctors Ought to Care (DOC) – commented that “the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid [may] be the only newspaper that runs, almost daily, cigarette ads in color on its back page (the sports section’s front page) and in its main news section.” The comment first appeared in Blum’s “An Essay on Editorial Consumerism,” published by the U.S. Journal on Drug and Alcohol Dependence, and is archived via the University of San Francisco’s Industry Documents Library.28Alan Blum. “Feature Article: An Essay on Editorial Consumerism,” 1979. Retrieved from Industry Documents Library at UCSF. Bates No. 2026256294-2026256297.

1978

In Australia, communications between Andrew Whist, head of Philip Morris Australia Corporate Affairs, and ‘Bill’ Murray described their relationship with Murdoch-owned media:29Dear Bill,Philip Morris, April 6, 1978. Retrieved from Industry Documents Library at UCSF. Bates No. 2024270900-2024270904.

“[I]t is probably wiser to employ a variety of P.R. channels to feed helpful medical statements into the media, rather than being locked into an inflexible 1978 situation directly attributable to the industry.

“To that end, we have been working on the Murdoch press of late, with good initial results.”

Stance on Climate Change

August 2022

Australia’s ABC NEWS reported on journalist Emily Townsend’s decision to leave her News Corp job in 2020. Townsend quit over the company’s “climate denialist narrative” during coverage of Australia’s 2019-2020 catastrophic bush fire crisis or Black Summer. “In particular, they helped spread a false narrative that arson — and not climate change — was largely to blame for the fires. ‘Bushfires: Firebugs fuelling crisis as national arson arrest toll hits 183,’ read one headline in The Australian, on January 8, 2020. Picked up by Donald Trump, the story was then repeated to millions of Americans by Fox News, also controlled by the Murdoch family.” 30James Purtill and Joanna Lauder. “Emily Townsend and Alex Hillman publicly quit their jobs for climate change. Here’s what happened next,” ABC NEWS, August 29, 2022. Archive URL: http://archive.today/HvoN6

October 2021

Murdoch-owned newspapers in Australia – The Courier Mail, Daily Telegraph, and Herald Sun – promoted “Mission Zero 2050,” a new News Corp campaign to advocate market-based approaches to slashing carbon emissions. The campaign asserted that these moves could create a multi-trillion-dollar economic “windfall” and more than 670,000 new jobs for Australia by mid-century. “News Corp must have done its climate communication research. It has assembled a collection of stories using best-practice climate communications techniques: telling a global story with a local face, visualising climate impacts and focusing on solutions, not creating fear,” wrote Australian climate communications researcher Gabi Mocatta in The Conversation. “What News Corp does matters, because it has extensive influence in Australia’s media market.” 31Gabi Mocatta. “What’s behind News Corp’s new spin on climate change?“, The Conversation, October 21, 2021. Archive URL: http://archive.today/x2uQq

September 2021

In September 2021, VICE News reported that during years of “relentless” attacks on former Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his climate policies by Murdoch-owned Australian news outlets, “Murdoch’s News Corporation actually thought carbon pricing was a good idea.”

“News Corp has meticulously documented its own carbon footprint since 2006 and sought to ‘take a leadership role on the issue of climate change’ by reducing it,” VICE reported, “according to hundreds of pages of publicly available documents reviewed by VICE News.” 32Geoff Dembicki. “Rupert Murdoch Has Known We’ve Been in a Climate Emergency Since 2006, Documents Show,Vice News, September 23, 2021. Archive URL: http://archive.today/hKeGJ

Covering the Vice News revelations, NPR reported: “For years, News Corp entities, whether digital, print or broadcast, have often spewed an anti-action message on climate change. Similar to [conservative Fox News host Laura] Ingraham in the U.S., Sky News Australia broadcasters and their guests have called those pushing for climate change action ‘loons,’ ‘hysterics’ and ‘a cult of the elite’ who have ‘children brainwashed.'”

Despite launching its “Mission Zero 2050” campaign to hype the economic benefits of slashing carbon pollution in Australia, climate communications scholar Gabi Mocatta told NPR that News Corp “[wasn’t] necessarily swaying from the norm…but rather going from ‘climate denialism’ to pushing ‘climate delay.'” 33Robin Young and Serena McMahon. “‘Climate denial’ to ‘climate delay’: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp pivots media narrative in Australia,” NPR, November 9, 2021. Archive URL: http://archive.today/EutEp

April 2021

Former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper supported calls by former Australian prime ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd for a royal commission investigation of Rupert Murdoch-owned media. In an interview with Guardian Australia, Clapper said that Fox News in the U.S. was a “megaphone for conspiracies and falsehoods.”

“Rupert Murdoch and Fox is part of a larger issue we have in [the United States],” Clapper said. “To the extent that anyone feeds, amplifies, expands, embellishes truth decay – that is insidious and dangerous to democracy.” 34Katharine Murphy. “Former US intelligence director backs Turnbull and Rudd’s call for Murdoch media inquiry,” The Guardian, April 20, 2021. Archive URL: http://archive.today/AGIjU

January 2020

In a January 22, 2020 interview with BBC News, in reference to coverage by Murdoch-owned news outlets of the bush fire crisis, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said, “If you go to any of the right-wing think tanks or you read the Murdoch press, it’s just full of climate denialism and it’s, it is designed to deflect from the real objective which has to be to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions …” 35News Corp’s Fire Fight,” ABC Media Watch, February 3, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/wip/h0cEw

In a January 17, 2020 appearance on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said, “…the politics of fear around – let’s call it the cost of climate change action, has been well mobilised by the conservatives and Murdoch in Australia, just as it’s been well mobilised in the United States by the conservatives through the echo chamber of Fox News.” 36News Corp’s Fire Fight,” ABC Media Watch, February 3, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/wip/h0cEw

In early January, Sydney-based reporter Emily Townsend resigned from News Corp in protest of how Murdoch-owned news outlets were covering the bush fire crisis. In an email to News Corp Australia executive chair Michael Miller that also went to all staff, Townsend wrote, “I find it unconscionable to continue working for this company, knowing I am contributing to the spread of climate change denial and lies. The reporting I have witnessed in the Australian, the Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun is not only irresponsible, but dangerous and damaging to our communities.” Christopher Knaus. 37News Corp employee lashes climate ‘misinformation’ in bushfire coverage with blistering email,” The Guardian, January 9, 2020. Archive URL: http://archive.today/9isBU.

2019-2020

News outlets owned by Murdoch’s News Corp Australia claimed that climate change was not a major factor in that summer’s bush fire crisis. On the January 29, 2019 Richo & Jones show on Sky News, host Alan Jones said, “What’s burning in Victoria are eucalypts. What’s burning in South Australia are eucalypts…when are we going to wake up and stop using this as an excuse to justify the climate change hoax?” Murdoch-owned news outlets often focused on arson as a likely cause of the fires: “So that’s the key. The drought. And if drought can’t be blamed on climate change you can’t blame the fires on climate change, especially when so many are deliberately lit …” said host Chris Kenny on Sky News’ The Kenny Report on December 11, 2019. 38News Corp’s Fire Fight,” ABC Media Watch, February 3, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/wip/h0cEw

2018

According to reporting by The New York Times, James Murdoch, younger son of Rupert, “privately expressed embarrassment about some elements of Fox News, including its sometimes skeptical coverage of climate change, according to the three people who are friendly with him, a stance not shared by his more conservative brother and father,” referring to Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s older son. Although Murdoch had “installed” James at CEO of 21st Century Fox, James had reportedly “encouraged” the sale of the company to Disney “in part because he had grown weary of the dysfunctional push and pull with his brother and father.” 39Brooks Barnes and Sydney Ember. “With Disney Deal Looming, Murdoch’s Empire Is Fractured,” The New York Times, January 2, 2018. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/wip/E6ECE

July 2014

During an interview with The Australian’s Paul Kelly, Rupert Murdoch made several statements that downplayed the reality and risks of climate change:40Rupert Murdoch – Full Interview,” YouTube video uploaded by user “The Australian, July 14, 2014. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Rupert Murdoch: [00:19:49] We should approach climate change with great skepticism. Climate change has been going on as long as the planet is here and there’ll always be a little bit of it. At the moment, the North Pole is melting a bit, but the South Pole is getting bigger. [00:20:03]

[00:20:04] Uh, things are happening, but how much are we doing with emissions and so on? Well as far as Australia goes, nothing in the overall picture. China appears. [00:20:14]

[00:20:14] But if you’re talking about environment and health and smoke and so on, of course, we’re all environmentalists. We all want clean air. But in terms of the world’s temperature going up, the worst is, uh, the most alarmist things they’ve said maybe three percent, three cents, three sorry, three degrees centigrade in 100 years. At the very most, one of those would come from manmade, be manmade. Now, what it means is that if the sea level rises six inches, that’s a big deal in the world.

The Maldives might disappear or something. But OK, we’ve got to learn to…we can’t mitigate that. We can’t stop it. We just got to stop building vast houses on seashores, um, and go back a little bit,. Uh, you know, at the world had been changing for thousands and thousands of years. It’s just a lot more complicated today because we’re so much more advanced. [00:21:22]

Key Quotes

July 2014

During an interview with Paul Kelly of The Australian, Murdoch had the following comments on natural gas and renewables in Australia:41Rupert Murdoch – Full Interview,” YouTube video uploaded by user “The Australian, July 14, 2014. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Rupert Murdoch: [00:16:38] “I sound rather isolationist in this, but I regret a little bit all these great finds of natural gas, so much of it should be coming to Australia because it costs nothing. Uh, America today is being saved from a major recession. It’s not by any means booming, but by some states defying the wishes of the federal government and bringing in cheap natural gas and becoming a low energy states and attracting a lot of industry and a lot of jobs.” [00:17:11]

[00:17:13] “And we’ve got we’ve got a problem in Australia. Let’s face it. We had six years of very mixed government in which the cost of production, of cost of employing people has gone up so much that the car industry is leaving us and so on. All I can see from this distance is the prospect of a lot of unemployment, unless we get small people started, businesses, uh, and some bigger industries coming in too. Uh, and we can be the low energy country of the world. Uh, so there’s a lot to do. But we shouldn’t be building windmills and all that rubbish.” [00:17:54]

Paul Kelly: [00:21:24] I interpret from that answer that you’re concerned that Australia might get trapped into a series of decisions on climate change, which might disadvantage its economy. [00:21:36]

RM: [00:21:37] Yeah, very expensive. And and there’s still a strong element in the United States trying to force the same thing. And in Britain. [00:21:47]

ThinkProgress commented on the interview, noting that “Australia is one of the most greenhouse gas intense economies in the world, relying heavily on coal exports,” and that while the country passed a carbon tax in 2011, the conservative government led by Tony Abbott, which Murdoch supported, had been trying to repeal it.42Ari Phillips. “Rupert Murdoch Says Climate Change Should Be Approached With Great Skepticism,” ThinkProgress, July 13, 2014. Archived September 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/vNhhA

Key Actions

September 2021

As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, Murdoch’s Australian newspapers and 24-hour news channel Sky News Australia “will end its long-standing editorial hostility towards carbon reduction policies and advocate for the world’s leading economies to hit net zero emissions by 2050.”43Zoe Samios and Rob Harris. “Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, 24-hour news channel to champion net zero emissions,” The Sydney Morning Herald, September 6, 2021. Archived September 30, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/5PyIL

Murdoch was reportedly set to begin a company-wide campaign on October 17, 2021 to promote a carbon-neutral economy, prior to the annual United Nations climate change conference being held in Glasgow later that year.

“Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire has faced growing international condemnation and pressure from advertisers over its editorial stance on climate change, which has long cast doubt over the science behind global warming and has since 2007 attacked various federal government efforts to reduce emissions,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported. 44Zoe Samios and Rob Harris. “Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, 24-hour news channel to champion net zero emissions,” The Sydney Morning Herald, September 6, 2021. Archived September 30, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/5PyIL

2019

The Australian ran an editorial claiming that “Experts keep telling us there is no direct link between climate change and bushfires; we know many fires are lit by arsonists.” 45Geoff Dembicki. “Rupert Murdoch Has Known We’ve Been in a Climate Emergency Since 2006, Documents Show,VICE News, September 23, 2021. Archived September 23, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hKeGJ

2012

While an opinion writer for the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal Europe claimed “climate change” shouldn’t be blamed for Hurricane Sandy, the company reportedly acknowledged that climate change made hurricanes worse.46Opinion: Don’t Blame Climate Change for Frankensto,” Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2012. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

April 2011

Media Matters reported that Murdoch-owned news outlets were promoting shale oil ventures in which Murdoch had investments, but not disclosing the potential conflict of interest.

Fox Business Network promoted “Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI),” a shale oil project of Genie Energy in which Murdoch had invested.47Sarah Pavlus. “SHALE GAME: Why Won’t Fox Disclose Murdoch’s Oil Interests?Media Matters for America, July 15, 2011. Archived September 30, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/iQiId

Media Matters documented instances on three consecutive days in April 2011 where Fox Business promoted the project.48Sarah Pavlus. “CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Fox Doesn’t Disclose Murdoch Ties To Oil Shale Venture,” Media Matters, May 11, 2011. Archived September 30, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/oVkpW

During an April 11 broadcast, a show hosted by conservative pundit Lou Dobbs featured a teaser in which Fox Business host Stuart Varney declared, “The next big oil power in the middle east, Israel? Can you believe that? Well, it may be the case because of shale oil. Israel’s got a lot of it, and we’re covering it.”

On April 12, Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens appeared on Fox’s Varney & Co. , where he discussed the venture. Guest host Charles Payne introduced Stephens as the man who “broke this story” on the oil shale reserves in Israel. Stephens had written a Wall Street Journal column on April 5 titled “Could Israel Become an Energy Giant?49Bret Stephens. “Could Israel Become an Energy Giant?Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2011. Archived September 30, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/rqrn4

Stephens’ op-ed, as well as another piece published in The Times, also owned by Murdoch, had disclosed Murdoch’s financial interest in the project.50Ian King. “Israel, the oil producer, is about to have the last laugh,” The Times, March 21, 2011. Archived September 30, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/OPCqy

2010

According to a 2021 VICE News review of publicly available data, at the same time that Murdoch’s News Corporation sought to “take a leadership role on the issue of climate change,” including commitments to reduce its own carbon footprint, papers owned by Murdoch were attacking Kevin Rudd, the Australian prime minister, over his proposed “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.”51Geoff Dembicki. “Rupert Murdoch Has Known We’ve Been in a Climate Emergency Since 2006, Documents Show,Vice, September 23, 2021. Archived September 23, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hKeGJ

“If there was no Murdoch media here, or if, say, they only owned half the media instead of two-thirds of the media,” Rudd told VICE News, “we would have a carbon price today.”

Vice provided several other examples suggesting that at the same time Murdoch’s Australian media outlets were was attacking Rudd and promoting climate change denial, he was privately acknowledging that climate change was real and a serious problem – especially when his financial interests might be affected. In fact, the company was advocating “market-based mechanisms to support carbon reductions.”

“No one forced News Corp to make disclosures to the [Carbon Disclosure Project], which the group publishes in a database on its website. And far from altruism, News Corp’s disclosures are cast as corporate self-interest. In 2010, for example, a filing explained that doing so would give the company ‘valuable expertise when responding to mandated reporting requirements’ under a potential carbon pricing system, should any country implement one,” Vice‘s Geoff Dembicki reported in 2021. 52Geoff Dembicki. “Rupert Murdoch Has Known We’ve Been in a Climate Emergency Since 2006, Documents Show,Vice, September 23, 2021. Archived September 23, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hKeGJ

Affiliations

Media Ownership

In 2019, Murdoch broke up his largest company, 21st Century Fox.57Meg James. “Rupert Murdoch, scrappy Fox mogul who transformed media, begins his Hollywood goodbye,” Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2019. Archived September 29, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/xVKXu Disney bought 21st Century Fox’s entertainment businesses in a $71.3 billion deal with Murdoch. 58Madeline Berg. “What The Disney-Fox Deal Means For Rupert Murdoch’s Fortune,” Forbes, March 20, 2019. Archived September 20, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/V5dua

A successor company to the original News Corporation, styled News Corp, is incorporated in the U.S. state of Delaware. Fox Corporation (formerly 21st Century Fox) is also incorporated in Delaware.

According to its Form 10-K annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, submitted to the SEC, News Corp “comprises businesses across a range of media, including digital real estate services, subscription video services in Australia, news and information services and book publishing, that are distributed under some of the world’s most recognizable and respected brands, including The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Dow Jones, The Australian, Herald Sun, The Sun, The Times, HarperCollins Publishers, Foxtel, FOX SPORTS Australia, realestate.com.au, Realtor.com®, talkSPORT, OPIS and many others.”59News Corp SEC Form 10-K annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. Accessed Dec. 13, 2022. Archived PDF on file with DeSmog.

In this filing, News Corp highlighted its ownership of the following businesses:60News Corp SEC Form 10-K annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. Accessed Dec. 13, 2022. Archived PDF on file with DeSmog.

Digital Real Estate Services

  • REA Group–61.4 percent interest
    • Realestate.com.au
    • Realcommercial.com.au
    • Flatmates.com.au
    • Property.com.au
    • “a wholly owned property portal in China”
    • Elara Technologies Pte. Ltd (rebranded REA India)–73.3 percent interest
      • PropTiger.com
      • Housing.com
      • PropertyGuru Pte.Ltd.
    • Move–80% interest, with remaining 20 percent held by REA Group
    • Realtor.com
    • Avail.co

Subscription Video Services

  • Foxtel Group
    • NXE Australia Pty Ltd.–65 percent interest; remaining 35 percent interest held by Telstra Corp Ltd.
    • Kayo Sports
    • BINGE
    • Flash
    • Foxtel Now
    • FOX Sports Australia
    • foxsports.com.au
    • Watch NRL
    • Watch ARL
  • Australian News Channel
    • Fox Sports News
    • Sky News Live
    • Sky News Weather
    • Sky News Extra
    • Sky News Extra 1
    • Sky News Extra 2
    • Sky News Extra 3
    • Sky News New Zealand
    • Sky News Regional
    • Australia Channel IPV

Professional Information Products

  • Dow Jones
    • The Wall Street Journal
      • WSJ.com
      • WSJ Mobile
      • WSJ Video
    • Barron’sGroup
      • Barron’s
      • MarketWatch
      • Investor’s Business Daily
    • The Wall Street Journal Digital Network
    • Factiva
    • Dow Jones Risk & Compliance
    • Dow Jones Newswires
    • OPIS–Oil Price Information Service
      • Chemical Market Analytics (formerly Base Chemicals)

Book Publishing

  • HarperCollins
    • Harper
    • William Morrow
    • Mariner
    • HarperCollins Children’s Book
    • Avon
    • Harlequin
    • Zondervan
    • Thomas Nelson
    • …and more than 100 other imprints

News Media

  • News Corp Australia
    • The Australian
    • The Weekend Australian
    • The Daily Telegraph
    • The Sunday Telegraph
    • Herald Sun
    • Sunday Herald Sun
    • The Courier Mail
    • The Sunday Mail (Brisbane)
    • The Advertiser and Sunday Mail (Adelaide)
    • “In addition, News Corp Australia owns leading regional publications in Geelong, Cairns, Townsville, Gold Coast and Darwin and a small number of community mastheads.”
    • news.com.au
    • taste.com.au
    • kidspot.com.au
    • “…as well as various other digital media assets.”
    • HT&E Limited–13.1 percent stake
    • Hipages Group Pty Ltd.–28.5 percent interest
  • News UK
    • The Sun
    • The Sun on Sunday
    • The Times
    • The Sunday Times
    • thesun.co.uk
    • thetimes.co.uk
    • thesundaytimes.co.uk
    • “In addition, News UK has assembled a portfolio of complementary ancillary product offerings, including betting and gaming products.”
  • NYP Holdings
    • New York Post
    • NYPost.com
    • PageSix.com
    • Decider.com
    • “…and related mobile apps and social media channels.”

In its Form 10-K annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, filed with the SEC, Fox Corporation highlighted the following holdings:61Form 10-K annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Fox Corporation highlighted the following holdings:Fox Corporation SEC Form 10-K annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. Accessed Dec. 13, 2022. Archived PDF on file with DeSmog.

Cable Network Programming

  • FOX News Media
    • FOX News
    • FOX Business
    • FOX Nation subscription video-on-demand service
    • FOX Weather free advertising-supported streaming service
    • FOX News Digital
  • FOX Sports
    • FOX Sports Films
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • FOX Sports Racing
  • FOX Soccer Plus
  • Big Ten Network
  • FOX Deportes
  • OutKick Media

Digital Distribution

  • FOXNews.com
  • FOXBusiness.com
  • FOXWeather.com
  • FOXSports.com
  • FOXDeportes.com
  • theUSFL.com
  • OutKick.com

Entertainment

  • FOX Entertainment
    • MarVista Entertainment
    • TMZ
    • Studio Ramsay Global
    • “FOX Entertainment is investing in more co-production arrangements and owns a stake in all new series that premiered on the FOX Network during the 2021-2022 broadcast season.”

Television

  • FOX Television Stations
    • “…29 owned and operated television stations cover 18 DMAs, including 14 of the 15 largest, and maintain duopolies in 11 DMAs, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, the three largest. These stations provide balanced content of national interest with programming of note to local communities, producing approximately 1,200 hours of local news coverage each week.”
      • WNYW/WWOR-TV New York, NY
      • KTTV/KCOP-TV Los Angeles, CA
      • WFLD/WPWR-TV Chicago, IL
      • WTXF-TV Philadelphia, PA
      • KDFW/KDFI Dallas, TX
      • WAGA-TV Atlanta, GA
      • WTTG/WDCA Washington, D.C.
      • KTVU/KICU-TV San Francisco, CA
      • KRIV/KTXH Houston, TX
      • KCPQ/KZJO Seattle-Tacoma, WA
      • KSAZ-TVKUTP Phoenix, AZ
      • WTVT Tampa, FL
      • KMSP-TV/WFTC Minneapolis, MN
      • WJBK Detroit, MI
      • WOFL/WRBW Orlando, FL
      • WITI Milwaukee, WI
      • KTBC Austin, TX
      • WOGX Gainesville, FL
    • “10 stations broadcasting programming from MyNetworkTV”
    • FOX Soul subscription video-on-demand service
    • LiveNOW from FOX
  • FOX Network–”…regularly delivers approximately 15 hours of weekly primetime programming to 208 local market affiliates, including 18 stations owned and operated by the Company, covering approximately 99.9% of all U.S. television households, according to Nielsen.”

Other

  • Master Distribution Service, Inc. (branded as MyNetworkTV)
  • Blockchain Creative Labs
  • FOX Studio Lot
  • Credible Labs Inc.
  • TUBI
  • FOX Bet sportsbook mobile app
  • Flutter–equity stake
    • FanDuel Group–18.5 percent interest
    • The Stars Group–up to 50 percent interest
    • FOX Bet Super 6 national free-to-play game

In 2014, several years before Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox, USAToday released a list of entities owned by 21st Century Fox or News Corp, based on SEC annual report filings for that year.62Anita Balakrishnan. “What does Rupert Murdoch own? A little bit of everything,” USA Today, June 11, 2015. Archived September 22, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/iWxLT

Social Media

Publications

Murdoch has been the subject of several books, including:

  • Murdoch’s World: The Last of the Old Media Empires, by David Folkenflik, Public Affairs, 2013, ISBN 978-1610390897
  • The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch, by Michael Wolff, Broadway Books, 2009, ISBN 978-0385526128
  • The Murdoch Archipelago, by Bruce Page, Simon & Schuster, 2003, ISBN 978-0743239363
  • Virtual Murdoch: Reality Wars on the Information Highway, by Neil Chenoweth. Secker & Warburg, London, 2001, ISBN 0436233894. Reprinted in the U.S. as Rupert Murdoch: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Media Wizard, Crown Publishing Group, November 2002, ISBN 978-0609610381
  • Rupert Murdoch: A Paper Prince, by George Munster, Viking, Melbourne, 1985, ISBN 978-0670805037

Other Resources

Resources

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