Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch suddenly steps down as leader of his two companies on Thursday.
Murdoch, 92, has made himself a prominent figure in U.S. politics over the past several decades.
He has appointed his son Lachlan Murdoch to take over Fox and the rest of his media empire.
In November, Murdoch will become chairman of both Fox Corp. and the News Corp media holdings. He told staff in a letter on Thursday that he will still be “watching our broadcasts with a critical eye, reading our newspapers and websites and books with much interest.”
His son stated that “we are grateful that he will serve as chairman emeritus and know he will continue to provide valued counsel.”, according to the Associated Press.
Rupert Murdoch is well known, loved by many, and disliked by most. His career started in 1952 after inheriting a newspaper in Australia from his father, and the rest is history.
Being a very powerful media figure in the U.K. and U.S., he has put immense pressure on politicians who seek his approval, despite never running for political positions. He has also had a great impact on the Republican Party.
James Poniewozik of The New York Times stated in an article that to be able to describe the legacy Murdoch had it is important to only focus on how big his accomplishments were, not if they were positive or negative.
Murdoch was able to successfully challenge the Big Three of ABC, CBS, and NBC by creating the Fox broadcast network.
As the public has seen over the past few years, Fox News Channel has influenced national politics since it was established in 1996 as a conservative startup competitor to CNN. In six years it was able to blow CNN and MSNBC out of the water, and continues to do so.
He also owns The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, who has “promoted his conservative worldview”.
“His contributions to the news industry across several continents have been enormous, helping to ensure a balanced and truly free media,” stated Chris Ruddy, one of Murdoch’s chief television competitors and CEO of Newsmax.
In the U.S., Fox News has become the top cable news channel that plays into conservative narratives. The channel was crafted in a way that was similar to Murdoch’s scandalous tabloids, making it oddly appealing to viewers.
Poniewozik describes it as having “the tone and political attitude of conservative talk radio and the rah-rah spirit of TV sports (as well as the blinding graphics).”
As former President Donald Trump became powerful in the Republican Party in 2015, who Murdoch has mixed feelings about, the channel became the epicenter of right-wing propaganda.
This cost Fox $787 million to settle defamation lawsuits related to the spread of misinformation following the 2020 presidential election. This also resulted in the termination of their most popular television personality, Tucker Carlson.
Murdoch suggested in his letter to staff that Laclan will maintain the network’s right-wing standpoint.
Lachlan Murdoch, 52, is the third-oldest of Rupert Murdoch’s six children, and is a British-American Australian.
He graduated from Princeton University in 1994 with a major in psychology. He entered the family business, spent three years in Australia, climbing the corporate ladder to eventually become chairman of News Limited. And the rest is history.
Lachlan took his own path in 2005 after getting into a disagreement with the boss of Fox News at the time, Roger Ailes.
He went on to start an Australian investment company that was involved with media and market companies, and even an Indian Premier Cricket team.
When the company became unsuccessful, he returned to the business in 2014. At this time, his father was receiving backlash over a phone hacking scandal in his divorce from Wendi Deng.
"Lachlan felt that he needed to help his dad," says Paddy Manning, an Australian journalist who wrote The Successor, a biography of Lachlan Murdoch.
In 1999, Lachlan became responsible for print operations in the U.S., rose to deputy chief operating officer at News Corp, and oversaw the company’s U.S. TV stations group and publishing assets, including the New York Post.
Not much change is expected as the power is passed down in the dynasty considering Murdoch’s son has been involved in the business long enough and described Lachlan as “a passionate, principled leader.”
Rupert Murdoch will receive a $142 million pension payout for his retirement.
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