It’s official: Rupert Murdoch will hand over to his son Lachlan. The fifty-year-old was chosen over his brothers and sisters (James, Prudence and Elisabeth) to take the helm of the media empire built by his father, in an inheritance race that inspired the TV series Succession. No wonder there. At 92 years old, the journey of this feared and controversial media mogul continues to fascinate.
Born on March 11, 1931 in Melbourne, Australia, Rupert Murdoch inherited a newspaper on the verge of bankruptcy upon the death of his father, Adelaide News. At just 21 years old, he straightened out his daily life and began to acquire others. The recipe for its success: a cocktail of scandalous, salacious and sporting news. After launching The Australianwhich still remains the only national daily newspaper in the country today, it buys the British tabloids News of the World And The Sun.
The popular success of these titles helped him finance the purchase of the prestigious daily newspaper in 1981. The Times and its Sunday edition The Sunday Times. At the same time, he attempted the American adventure and bought the New York PostTHE Wall Street Journal and the film production company 20th Century Fox, which he sold in 2017 to Disneywhile maintaining control of the very profitable television channel Fox News.
Today, Rupert Murdoch’s fortune is estimated at $17.3 billion. And if its companies have gone through many crises (over-indebtedness, arrival of the Internet, illegal telephone tapping scandal, etc.) they have survived most of the time.
In a few decades, the patriarch has transformed the media and politics on three continents. His media empire, with its conservative editorial line, has given him authority on the international scene. Across the Atlantic, his channel Fox News thus exerts a great influence on the American right.
Sensationalism and disinformation
But his opponents, who accuse him of sensationalism, also see in Rupert Murdoch a man seeking to impose his political domination on the international media. Misinformation about anti-Covid vaccines, allegations of allegedly rigged presidential election in 2020 in the United States to the detriment of Donald Trump… Rupert Murdoch leaves a controversial legacy.
Accused of having favored the rise of populism in Anglo-Saxon countries and for having fueled climate skepticism, the patriarch will not be missed by everyone when he definitively hands over to his son next November. Lachlan Murdoch, however, never expressed any intention of toning down the conservative line drawn by his father.