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AUCKLAND CITY HARBOUR NEWS, JULY 20, 2011
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Rupert: 'I have let my father down'
Rupert Murdoch is living proof that
heredity counts -- and uncontrolled
can be very dangerous.
Certainly his father Sir Keith
Murdoch over the years could well
have been proud of him in so many
ways. A chip off the block he
might have said.
Match up Rupert s personal and
career style and see what I mean --
both tireless corporate and political
conspirators with the son ruthless
to an extreme to get his well-heeled
way, short on loyalty and ethics, big
They both collected prime
ministers with ease and for their
own advancement. It s been a
hobby/tactic that never failed.
First example: When Keith
Murdoch missed out on assignment
as an official war correspondent to
Gallipoli in World War One he
pulled strings with an old mate,
Andrew Fisher, by then Australian
As a result young Keith stopped
off in Egypt -- to see how Aust-
ralian troops were faring -- while
heading to London to a media job
With that introduction the
British commander, Sir Ian Hamil-
ton, agreed he could go on to
Gallipoli but with certain strict con-
Murdoch should not attempt to
correspond by any other route or
means than that officially
sanctioned, must not impart to any-
one military information of a confi-
dential nature unless first submit-
ted to the chief field censor.
Sure, okay, right, of course mate!
Instead Murdoch went to Gal-
lipoli, took in the chaos he saw, then
headed off to Britain carrying a
highly critical letter from an estab-
lished English war correspondent.
That only got as far as Marseille
where he was arrested by military
police and the letter was seized.
But you can t stop a Murdoch in
full gallop on a scoop that easily.
Once in London, and under-
standably disturbed by what he had
seen on Gallipoli, he wrote his own
version of the original letter, side-
stepping those military censors.
That went back to Australia -- to
old mate Prime Minister Fisher of
Countless high officers and con-
ceited young cubs are plainly only
playing at war, said the Murdoch
report which finished up on Lloyd
George and Herbert Asquith s desks
The outcome: General Hamilton
carried the can, was replaced --
historians argue whether justly or
Winston Churchill s plan for the
disastrous landing was abandoned,
leaving thousands of dead behind.
No question there was a terrible
story to be told and Murdoch s
journalistic reflexes were right.
Just as clearly the whole episode
reflected family genes which he
handed on. Keith Murdoch was off
and running, shaping top-level
mateship with another legendary
Oz PM Billy Hughes, returning to
Australia to build up -- in one way
or an other -- a media empire in the
decades that followed and getting
the inevitable knighthood.
Old memories of censorship must
have surfaced during World War
Two when he convinced the Aussie
wartime government to set up a
new and short-lived post: Director
General of Information who could --
and did -- briefly compel all news
media to publish all government
handouts as and when necessary .
Who got that job?
The man who beat the censors on
Gallipoli, Keith Murdoch himself.
When he died from cancer in 1952
his estate was hit by mortgages and
death duties, leaving the family
with just the Adelaide News.
That, with his father s dreams,
genes and example, was enough for
22-year-old Rupert, then a student
at Oxford, reading philosophy and
significantly economics and politics.
Within a year he had bought the
Sunday Times in Perth and his
expansion into Australia s sub-
urban, provincial and metropolitan
newspapers plus radio and tele-
vision has never stopped since --
until now, that is.
Out of the blue, he bought Wel-
lington s Dominion in 1964, the cor-
nerstone of nationwide New Zea-
land coverage, including, at one
stage, this newspaper and the Sub-
The string of Murdoch-friendly
PMs continued -- Labour s Gough
Whitlam was next, elected after
powerful backing from the Murdoch
His father would have applauded
Rupert s seeming fixation to control
the world s media as ambition took
He became a US citizen as a busi-
ness tactic. He wasn t strong on sen-
He even made a bold but failed
attempt to get mega-dollar tele-
vision rights in China -- at around
the same time, cynics noted, as he
married for the third time, this time
to a Chinese Yale graduate, Wendy
Deng, in 1999.
Rupert cosied up to Margaret
Thatcher, backed John Major, then
switched to Labour and Tony Blair,
was photographed with Gordon
Brown before The Sun s recent
backing of David Cameron s Con-
Even the pope joined the We love
Rupert parade, appointing him a
papal knight -- during his second
marriage to Anna Torv, who was a
Catholic Scottish-born cadet
journalist at the Daily Telegraph.
Plush lunches with Obama --
Murdoch has known every presi-
dent since Truman -- David
Cameron was a guest at private
parties on the Murdoch yacht, the
pattern just rolled on.
His father s recipe worked a treat
-- again, until now. Rupert must ask
himself: What would Dad have
done in this situation?
After the hammer blow of the
phone tapping fell, highlighting
triumphs in tawdry newspapers
with unethical methods, these have
been long days of shame.
Somehow, the shadow of that
dead father seemed to fall across
him, when, with his head is his
hands, Rupert abjectly and untypi-
cally begged forgiveness from a vic-
tim family for the sins of an empire
too often built on greed, duplicity
and the prostitution of journalism.
I have let my father down.
Along with millions around the
world and a profession he has
exploited and deeply tarnished.
The cash count: According to the
2010 Forbes list, Murdoch is the
38th richest person in the United
States with a net worth of $6.2
While CEO of News Corp in 2008
K Rupert Murdoch made a total of
$30,053,157, which included a base
salary of $8,100,000, a cash bonus of
$17,500,000, stocks granted of
In a divorce 17 days before his
marriage to Wendy Deng, his sec-
ond wife Anna got a property settle-
ment worth $1.2 billion.
In 1999 one survey reported that
Murdoch companies had access to
three-quarters of the world s popu-
Sir Keith would have been happy
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