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Murdoch Hardcover – 1 Jan 1993
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From the Back Cover
Rupert Murdoch invented the modern global information empire. His relentless determination and daring and his repeated willingness to bet the balance sheet in order to acquire more newspapers, television stations, satellite networks, cable systems and publishing houses have been amply rewarded: Murdoch's information empire now reaches two thirds of the world's population, making him one of the most powerful men on earth. In this revised edition of his classic 1993 biography, William Shawcross updates the story of Murdoch's battles to extend his electronic "footprint" around the globe. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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It is so sad.Shawcross once tried to speak truth to the rich and powerful in books like "Sideshow" and "The Quality Of Mercy",he ended up writing fawning drivel like this and,believe it or not,an authorised biography of the Queen Mother.A career that went backwards.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
And on it goes. The man is probably due a biography on par with Snowball. This certainly is not it.
A great read - I enjoyed it immensely - certainly provided insights into big business, government & the media written in a complelling 'no holds barred' style that demonstrated you can call a person a fool & worse & get away with it!
The author situates the ascent of Murdoch within the world political history (cold war, Thatcher, Reagan ...) and gives an incisive portrait of some of his collaborators: Barry Diller and Kelvin Mac Kenzie (editor of his milk cow 'The Sun').
Written with a good sense of humour, e.g. "... Giles should assume the title of Editor Emeritus ... Giles asked Murdoch what this title really meant . It's Latin, Frank. E means exit and meritus means you deserve it." Or, after Murdoch banned alcohol on the working place, someone replied "Free drunks produce better newspapers than sober slaves". The tycoon was even asked by the Vietnamese government to make communist-controlled television more popular!
Besides, the author gives a sneer at Unesco for attacking freedom of information. One minus point: on different occasions, the author refers to big financial troubles for the media empire without giving the numbers.
A few of my favorite quotes are:
--the new world favors those who pursue policies of which the traders approve.
--The Disruption of 1843 had little to do with theology. It was the culmination of 130 years of a bitter dispute in which the English crown had sought to control the Scottish Church by the appointment of ministers loyal to London. In the early nineteenth century a new generation of younger, more radical men had emerged in the Church of Scotland; they were known as "the wild party," or "the popular party," or the Evangelicals. Ecclesiastically and theologically conservative, yet socially and politically liberal (and some of the downright radical), they hated the controls imposed by London through the Scottish lairds.
--Free Church ministers and elders like James Murdoch tended to be active, hard-headed, well-educated, practical men who knew how to make money and how to use it wisely.
--The debate on the free flow of information would be settled by engineers, not by politicians. Governments would not for long be able to conceal the evidence of their crimes.
--"The very existence of new information channels, operating in real time and across all frontiers, will be a powerful influence for civilized behaviour. If you are arranging a massacre, it will be useless to shoot the cameraman who has so inconveniently appeared on the scene. His pictures will already be safe in the studio five thousand miles away and his final image may hang you."
--Information was being presented as entertainment.
--A really integrated media company has to be in the production of entertainment. It also has to be in news reporting.
--Nations are now increasingly defined by the extent to which knowledge is a tradable commodity in their economies.
This is not a great, classic book, but it does give valuable snippets of how global media systems operate and manipulate and are manipulated.