It’s Time to Stop Pretending the Murdochs Are in the News Business

For Rupert and his sons, the press has always been the prime weapon in their power-seeking agenda.
By Eric Alterman
April 11, 2019

The New York Times Magazine’s recently published forensic examination of the power and influence of the Murdoch media empire is both a testament to what journalism can accomplish and an indictment of what it has, in the hands of Rupert Murdoch and his two sons, increasingly become. The 16,000-word investigation should quiet anyone who thinks that the survival of that often-infuriating newspaper is of no particular consequence to the future of American democracy. It should also lay to rest any remaining arguments that the Murdochs are engaged in anything but a power-seeking charade: pretending to be in the news profession while subverting it at every turn.

The piece, titled “Planet Fox,” by Jonathan Mahler and Jim Rutenberg, has not received the attention it deserves, in part because it does not contain any blockbuster scoops that could easily fit into a CNN or MSNBC chyron or pithy tweet. What it does contain is a history of how one family has been able to use the power of the press to subvert democratic norms, misinform citizens, undermine governments, and fill our national debates with lies, misogyny, racism, and ethnocentrism while calling it news.

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