The GuardianThe Guardian

Rupert Murdoch was ever a master strategist, but he’s beginning to lose his grip

By John Naughton

23 Apr 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Murdoch's career may be ending with a "whimper" rather than a "bang," according to this Guardian essay. The author argues that the media mogul's strategic acumen has been instrumental in his success.

There are, as F Scott Fitzgerald famously observed – and as Rupert Murdoch is now belatedly discovering, “no second acts in American lives”. Last week, just as the trial of the $1.6bn defamation action brought by Dominion against Fox News was about to start, a “settlement” was reached between the two parties. Fox, of which Murdoch is CEO, paid nearly $800m to stop the proceedings.

Given how highly Murdoch values his image as a swaggering media giant, it was probably money well spent. Otherwise he would have had to testify under oath and the world would see not the robust titan of popular legend but an elderly mogul who is physically frail and, more importantly, who could not stop his TV station pandering to Donald Trump for fear of alienating the audience that had turned Fox News into such a profitable cash cow.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content