OTLEY AND DISTRICT MEN’S FORUM

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Should We Worry About Rupert Murdoch ? 
Mr G Williams

 A fascinating, stimulating and informative talk was given to us by Granville Williams, a journalist from Wakefield , about Rupert Murdoch and the News Corporation of which he is CEO.

 Murdoch owns 144 newspapers world wide, four in UK and three in USA as well as the BSkyB satellite network. His important possessions are The Australian, Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, The Times and The Sunday Times all of which, although non profit making, are important and influential in finance and media.

It is the influence that Murdoch has on politics and values via his enormous media holdings that was the subject of Granville’s presentation. He initially told us of the Murdoch background in Australia and about the demise of his father Keith’s newspaper group. This appeared to spur Rupert into action and he eventually rebuilt his father’s newspaper group on his way to forming News Corporation.

As well as owning the previously mentioned papers Murdoch also owns tabloids such as The Sun. It is the use of these papers to influence politics that worries Granville. He put forward the theory that recent General Elections have been grossly influenced by the Murdoch media.

His ideas are that Murdoch’s support for Margaret Thatcher was instrumental in her elections and that his disagreement with John Major was such that his newspapers influence was redirected to Labour and his support of Blair caused the rise of New Labour. To strengthen his theory that Murdoch controlled his editors’ material Granville cited the statements of two Times people Harold Evans and Andrew Neil.

Granville’s worries have been reduced by The Financial Times report that News Corporation has suffered an $8.4bn impairment charge against assets and a 30% fall in its earnings as well as a 50% cut in the value of Dow Jones causing its worst economic crisis in 50 years and that Murdoch is now seventy eight.


Our next meeting is on Thursday 5th March at 10-00am in Otley Civic Centre when we will hear Mr J Gilleghan MBE tell us The Story of a Great City : Leeds .

                                  

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