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Clash of the Titans: How the Unbridled Ambition of Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch Have Created Global Empires That Control What We Read and Hardcover – Oct 2002

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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Richard Hack (born 1951) has written many other books, such as When Money Is King: How Revlon's Ron Perelman Mastered the World of Finance, Hughes: The Private Diaries, Memos and Letters, Duchess of Death: The Unauthorized Biography of Agatha Christie, Puppetmaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover, etc. [NOTE; page numbers refer to the 448-page paperback edition.]

He wrote in the first chapter of this 2003 book, "These men of seemingly limitless ambition have discovered what all of us know on a far more local level. All of us, across the globe, accept what we read in newspapers and watch on television, regardless of the slant and despite the spin. Murdoch and Turner cloak this power in the fabric of responsibility, first believing that as protectors of the media they must assist readers and viewers in understanding the reality of our predicament as humans of the earth... Turner rails against the horrors of population growth and environmental pollution. Murdoch launches media campaigns in support of political candidates he deems worthy. Each molds popular opinion in his image to better mankind... The problem is that they determine the problem and influence the outcomes with the kind of far-reaching impact and control unprecedented in history." (Pg. 17-18)

He observes, "It was in that special place of prediction and prophecy that Turner first imagined the Cable News Network. It did not matter that he never watched the news himself. Truth be told, he hardly watched television at all. What mattered was that in 1979, Turner saw an opportunity hiding within the media explosion called cable, and had the courage of his convictions." (Pg. 149) He adds, "Turner had never been the type to tiptoe when he could stomp. And stomp he did into the world of news, breaking stereotypes and demanding answers---to questions not only about how to produce a round-the-clock news effort, but also about why nobody had turned a bright spotlight on many of the issues he found waiting to be illuminated. The more Turner learned about the state of the world, the more he was driven to get CNN on the air." (Pg. 155)

He notes in contrast, "Through a different route and different politics, Rupert Murdoch found himself with a similar mandate. His audiences for the most part were readers, now viewers. Regardless, he deemed them in need of just as much guidance as the unwashed masses Ted Turner hoped to reach. Murdoch's vision was centered less on helping the world as a whole than on helping himself... And whereas Turner found inspiration in the liberal Left, Murdoch, the onetime Marxist, had given up all pretense of being a supporter of the people and moved politically to the hard Right." (Pg. 171)

He states, "There would be no more excuses, no more justifications, no more explanations from Rupert Murdoch about his business practices or his brand of journalism. After a life spent on the outside fighting for credibility, the media mogul had had enough. He was no longer content to be the unpopular cousin who wasn't invited to the party and pretended it didn't matter. At this very moment in early 1989, Rupert Murdoch demanded respect. He had proven himself repeatedly, and now, he decided, others would have to prove themselves to him." (Pg. 275)

He asserts, "Murdoch postured like a man in control and a visionary with a plan for the future, In truth, there was no plan, no concrete vision, only incredible gambles made on instinct and based on opportunity. The greatest gamble, however, was still in the future, one that would place him on a direct collision course with Ted Turner. Two men, each brilliant in his own way, restrained by their convictions and convinced of their purpose, armed to change not only the way the news reached the world, but also the bias with which it was spun." (Pg. 328)

Of Turner's wife, Jane Fonda, Hack writes, "On April 16, 2001, Jane Fonda filed for divorce from Turner, calling their marriage 'irretrievably broken.' Turner later said it was the saddest, loneliest day of his life. He was unwanted by his company and his wife, who it seems had replaced him with Jesus... For the agnostic Turner it was a mystery how the entire thing happened. It was less a mystery to his soon-to-be-ex-wife. 'I chose not to discuss it with him because he would have talked me out of it,' Fonda said. 'He's a debating champion... He needs someone to be there one hundred percent of the time. He thinks that's love. It is not love. It's babysitting... We went in different directions. I grew up.'" (Pg. 383)

He concludes, "Two men, operating with competing political agendas. Two men, never shy about using the media to further their causes. And all the while making extraordinary profits under the guise of educating and entertaining the masses. They will clash and they will win, with the power to determine what is seen, how it is perceived, and what message the world takes away from the experience. Until there is one." (Pg. 399)

While perhaps not the "definitive" portrait of either of these two men, this is a very insightful and informative book that will be of interest to anyone wanting to know more about these two media giants.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Shallow, but satisfying 28 Aug 2003
By Oliver Willis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Rupert vs. Ted! Ted vs. Rupert! Great, easy to read narrative of the most modern media battle. If you want to know about the ideology and shenanigans behind Mr. Fair & BalancedTM, this is the book.
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