Thursday, January 20

‘The Real Rupert’: News Corp Global Director Says Murdoch Influence Election Idea ‘Myth’ | News corporation


The idea that Rupert Murdoch influences the Australian elections is a “myth” and is far removed from the behavior of the “real Rupert”, said the global executive director of the media mogul, Robert Thomson, in a parliamentary inquiry.

Thomson rejected a suggestion by the president of the inquiry, Sarah Hanson-Young, that the president and CEO of News Corp had something to do with directing his newspaper editors on which party should win.

“Senator, philosophy revolves around ideas,” Thomson told the media diversity research via videoconference from New York.

“I have to say that there is Murdoch, the myth … and the real Rupert.

“And there is a great distinction between the two. All societies seem to need their myths: the Greeks, the Japanese. And the idea, the proposition that you put is not precise “.

Hanson-Young had previously asked Thomson: “Mr. Thomson, this committee has been told that Rupert Murdoch likes to pick the winners when it comes to the Australian elections.

At News Corp, he said, the company clearly has a philosophy. Does that include being able to determine and endorse the winner when it comes to elections? “

Thomson revealed that his recent meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in New York was an after-dinner drink in which they discussed international issues, including the upcoming climate summit in Glasgow, Afghanistan, France and China.

“We talk briefly about Glasgow in general terms, not our coverage,” Thomson said.

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When asked if the coverage was dictated by the Murdoch family, Thomson said News Corp co-chair Lachlan Murdoch made it clear that he did not tell reporters what to write.

But Thomson admitted that the company had a “clear philosophy.”

“As a company, we clearly have a philosophy about individual freedom, about the role of the market, about the size of government,” Thomson said. “And in terms of opinion, whether it’s the New York Post or any of our newspapers, we feel free to express it.”

In 2018, as revealed by ABC’s Four Corners, Lachlan Murdoch said, “What I do, running a media organization is obviously, you know, working closely with the managers of those newsrooms and the managers of those newspapers and it’s important that they get the ah, the ah , the correct positioning and messaging “.

News Corp CEO Robert Thomson appears via video link during an investigation into the state of media diversity at Parliament House in Canberra.
News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson rejected a suggestion by the president of the investigation, Sarah Hanson-Young, that Rupert Murdoch intervened in directing his editors on who should win the election. Photograph: Lukas Coch / AAP

Thomson said he had extensive experience as an editor and occasionally offered story advice.

“Second, there are discussions between me, and I can only speak for myself and the editors, about the trade or about issues.

“There is also a great deal of local autonomy.”

Thomson said the first thing he heard about the Australian company Mission zero It was when he read it in the Nine Newspapers, and it was not entirely accurate.

News Corp’s Australian editors had “collectively” made the decision to run a campaign and he denied the committee’s suggestions that it was a “backlash” in terms of editorial policy.

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Thomson said the company had “followed a policy consistent with Rupert Murdoch’s statement in 2006 that ‘the planet deserves the benefit of the doubt.”

“What our local publishers have done in Australia is not dictated by me or anyone else,” he said. “So it was largely generated by our editors.”

Thomson said the News was an “inherently diverse” company in terms of its views and political positions, pointing to a difference in the position on Brexit taken by the Times and the Sunday Times in the UK.

“The Times and the Wall Street Journal have very different political positions and, within the same building in London, the Times and the Sunday Times often disagree,” he said. “The Times was strongly in favor of ‘Stay’ and the Sunday Times defended Brexit.

“The two newspapers were ideologically at odds, which is certainly evidence of a diversity of views.”

Thomson denied that the company’s recent push for net zero was the result of a need to placate advertisers.

Thomson accepted the invitation to face the Senate investigation after Lachlan Murdoch rejected a request to appear last month.

Thomson said that the power of digital platforms, in particular Facebook, is of great concern as they act as publishers, but are not responsible like traditional publishers.

“There are so many routes that we can be responsible for,” Thomson said. “Clearly we make mistakes and we must be held accountable for mistakes.” Thomson listed a standards editor, readers editor, proofreading editor, media regulator, and defamation laws as mechanisms for accountability.

“The stark truth is that our traditional newspapers have become a significantly smaller proportion of News Corp and the words ‘digital disruption’ and ‘great digital’ are euphemisms. In Australia, sales of print newspapers have sadly fallen sharply in the last decade. There has been a significant shift in the power, influence and profitability from news content creators to news content distributors. “


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