The newspaper business has been buzzing ever since learning of Rupert Murdoch’s five billion dollar bid to purchase The Wall Street Journal. So it’s not surprising that Richard Silkos of The New York Times managed to schedule some quality time with the media mogul recently. He turned up some interesting facts on the enigmatic Aussie in the process.
- When Mr. Murdoch bought the struggling 20th Century Fox studio in 1985, Hollywood viewed him as just the latest arriviste, doomed to be suckered by the industryâ€™s vagaries. Wrong. Murdoch restored the studio and used Fox as a springboard to start his Fox television network and a passel of cable channels and other ventures around the globe.
- News Corp’s 175 newspapers contributed just 15 percent of the companyâ€™s $21.3 billion in revenue in the nine months ended March 31, 2007.
- Mr. Murdoch, who clearly sees himself as a populist, says he is most energized when he is taking on â€œthe elitesâ€ â€” words he practically sneers when he says them â€” in what he perceives as a career-long battle to offer consumers more media choices.
- Murdoch regularly dines on a lunch of whitefish and spinach at the Fox commissary.
- Murdoch socializes with (and seeks the counsel of) Mark Zuckerberg, the 22-year-old founder of Facebook and Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
- Murdoch and his third wife Wendi Deng, 38-years his junior, are planning to move into a $44 million penthouse on Fifth Avenue next year. It is the most expensive apartment in New York and was once owned by Laurence Rockefeller.
While it’s easy to admire Murdoch’s ability to build a business, and easy to recognize that he’s an interesting, perhaps even complicated, man, it remains difficult to get around the right wing propaganda thing. Sure, there’s a market for it, but that doesn’t make it right.