Posts tagged with "Rupert Murdoch"

Rupert Murdoch to retire from Fox and News Corp. boards; son Lachlan named successor

Septedmber 22, 2023

Rupert Murdoch is stepping down from the Fox and News Corp. boards, the company announced on Thursday morning, September 21—making his son Lachlan the sole executive in charge of the global media empire he built from a small local newspaper concern in Australia he founded 70 years ago, reports The New York Times. 

The elder Murdoch will become chairman emeritus of the two companies, the company said in a release.

Murdoch, 92, had shown no intention to step down or even slow down—even after he named Lachlan as the heir to his business empire in 2019, when he sold his vast entertainment holdings to The Walt Disney Company.

Even now, in his emeritus status, he will continue to offer counsel, Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.

“We thank him for his vision, his pioneering spirit, his steadfast determination, and the enduring legacy he leaves to the companies he founded and countless people he has impacted,” Lachlan Murdoch, 52, said in a release the company put out on Thursday morning.

 

Research contact: @nytimes

In deposition, Rupert Murdoch says Fox News hosts endorsed false 2020 election claims

March 1, 2023

Rupert Murdoch has admitted that some Fox News hosts and commentators endorsed the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen, according to testimony in an ongoing defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Denver-based voting-machine company is suing Fox News and Fox Corp. for defamation, over false on-air claims that its technology enabled widespread fraud in the election. The new details emerged in briefs in which the companies laid out evidence they plan to present to a Delaware state court.

Murdoch, who is the chair of both Fox News and its parent, Fox Corp., said Fox News and Fox Business commentators—including on-air hosts Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, and Sean Hannity—endorsed the idea of a stolen election to varying degrees, according to a deposition cited in Dominion’s brief, which was unsealed on Monday, February 27.

The media baron said Fox News itself didn’t endorse that narrative. “I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it, in hindsight,” Murdoch said, according to the filing. Asked if he could have stopped the hosts from highlighting allegations on air, Murdoch responded, “I could have. But I didn’t.”

In full disclosure, Murdoch is also executive chairman of News Corp, parent of The Wall Street Journal. He and his family are large shareholders in Fox Corp. and News Corp.

Dominion is suing for what it alleges were defamatory on-air comments about its products after former President Donald Trump lost the election to President Joe Biden. The voting-machine company is seeking $1.6 billion in damages.

Fox News Media has said that it simply reported newsworthy allegations, and the lawsuit would be an attack on press freedom under the First Amendment. Fox also has argued the damages claim from Dominion vastly overstates the value of the company, and that the voting company can’t tie any losses directly to the network’s coverage.

Fox News Media said in a statement Monday that Dominion’s lawsuit “has always been more about what will generate headlines than what can withstand legal and factual scrutiny.”

The trial is slated to begin April 17 in Delaware state court.

Research contact: @WSJ

Fox’s News changes the climate for weather TV

July 7, 2021

Weather is taking the media industry by storm. In fact, later this year, Rupert Murdoch is set to debut Fox Weather, a 24-hour streaming channel that promises to do for seven-day forecasts what Fox has done for American politics, financial news and sports, The New York Times reports.

Not to be outdone, the Weather Channel—the granddaddy of television meteorology, broadcasting from Atlanta since 1982—has announced the creation of a new streaming service, Weather Channel Plus, that the company believes could reach 30 million subscribers by 2026.

Amid a waning appetite for political news in the post-Trump era, media executives are realizing that demand for weather updates is ubiquitous—and for an increasing swath of the country, a matter of urgent concern, the Times notes.

In the past week alone, temperatures in the Pacific Northwest broke records, wildfires burned in Colorado and Tropical Storm Elsa strengthened into a hurricane over the Atlantic Ocean.

At CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, average viewership for the first half of 2021 fell 38% from a year prior. Concurrently, the audience for the Weather Channel was up 7%.

“All the networks are ramping up for this,” Jay Sures, a co-president of United Talent Agency who oversees its TV division, told the Times, adding, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that climate change and the environment will be the story of the next decade.”

 One of his firm’s clients, Ginger Zee, the chief meteorologist at ABC News, now has 2.2 million Twitter followers — more than any ABC News personality besides George Stephanopoulos.

Fox Weather’s impending debut opens a new front in the media wars, but Byron Allen, the comedian-turned-media-baron whose Allen Media Group bought the Weather Channel for $300 million in 2018, insists that he welcomes the competition. “Rupert Murdoch is very smart; he is the best of the best,” Allen said in an interview. “I am not surprised he’s coming into the weather space. Honestly, I would have been disappointed if he didn’t.”

Allen told the Times that he and Murdoch recently met for an hour in the latter mogul’s office on the Fox lot in Los Angeles. “We had a great time together,” he recalled. “Now the world will understand how big of a business the weather business is and how important it is.” (A spokesperson for Murdoch did not comment on the meeting.)

The weather media ecosystem—from iPhone apps to localized subscription sites and umbrella-toting personalities on the local 10 o’clock news—is a lucrative, if often overlooked, corner of the industry, where the battle for attention is increasingly fierce. Advertisers weary of the choppy politics and brand boycotts of the Trump years see weather as a relatively uncontroversial port in the squall.

At Fox, Sean Hannity will not be giving a forecast (yet). But Fox Weather, which will be funded by advertisers, is aggressively poaching star meteorologists from Houston, Seattle, St. Louis and other markets. It is also taking a run at major talent at the Weather Channel, with several Hollywood agents recounting frenzied bidding wars. A top Weather Channel meteorologist—Shane Brown, whose title was “senior weather product architect”— defected to Fox last month despite efforts to keep him.

The Weather Channel already is throwing some shade.

“They couldn’t even get a headline right about Tropical Storm Bill,” said Nora Zimmett, the network’s chief content officer, referring to a FoxNews.com article that some meteorologists criticized because it claimed that a relatively benign storm posed a “massive” risk to the Eastern Seaboard.

“I applaud Fox getting into the weather space, but they should certainly leave the lifesaving information to the experts,” said Zimmett, who worked at Fox News in the 2000s. She called climate change “a topic that is too important to politicize, and if they do that, they will be doing Americans a disservice.”

A Fox Weather spokeswoman shot back: “While the Weather Channel is focused on trolling FoxNews.com for unrelated stories, Fox Weather is busy preparing the debut of our innovative platform to deliver critical coverage to an incredibly underserved market.”

Research contact: @nytimes