The article consists of 5 "Myths" about Rupert Murdoch Folkenflik is anxious to dispell. Like his book, the article substitutes an ostentatiously "fair and balanced" approach to avoid making meaningful judgments about the most powerful man in today's media journalism.
Below, the 5 "Myths" and my rebuttal of their de-mythification.
1. Murdoch is on the far right
In the narrow sense, this is no myth at all. Despite a few aberrant stands, Murdoch and his media holdings consistently advocate for the re-empowerment of the already powerful. If that isn't "far right" thinking, I don't know what is. Folkenflik’s “evidence” that this is “a myth,” that Murdoch will support such NY “liberals” as Hillary Clinton, Ed Koch, or the (LOL) “moderate” Republican Rudy Giuliani, shows only that his interest in politics will frequently come in second to his interest in himself. But the bottom line on all his political investments is a belief in the sanctity of the "favors bank" exchanges of the overdogs.
2. Murdoch cares only about profits
This is a myth. For Murdoch, profits are just a means to an end. The reality is Murdoch cares only about power, his own power.
3. Whatever he touches turns to gold
As with #2, Folkenflik dispatches as a myth what is only a truth a word or 3 shy of the bullseye. The reality here: Whatever Murdoch touches he shapes in his own interest, knowing that more than enough gold will follow. Example: the money-losing NY Post, sustained because its much-abused front page can boost local politicians like H. Clinton, Koch and Giuliani who help him breach legal restrictions on media cross-ownership and reap quantum leaps of money and power.
4. He destroys good journalism.
Again, to readjust the “myth” to reality, change just one word. Murdoch displaces good journalism. A perfect example: he displaced news from the NY Post's front oage whenever he needed to suck up to someone who could help him expand his media empire. Another: Folkenflik likes and respects today’s Wall Street Journal, in part because he likely does not remember the WSJ of great investigative reporters like Jim Drinkhall or Jonathan Kwitny, both prone the kick the asses of the sort of people Murdoch calls friends and institutions he calls prey. As for FoxNews, it has displaced both dispassion and on-the-scene fact-gathering with blind fury and dis-facted partisan rant.
5. Murdoch is old and spent.
Maybe I run in different circles, but this is not a myth I hear promulgated much. Probably the most memorable invocation of this image was the hilarious impersonation of a “humbled” Rupert Murdoch, presented by the man himself to a Parliamentary committee investigating his UK newspapers’ addiction to phone-hacking and police corrupting. Old, he may be, but spent? No, I think the anti-myth here, the truth, is that Rupert Murdoch remains alive and dangerous.
If you missed my review of Murdoch's World....see