Dr Mumbo

How the Murdoch titles are covering the Murdoch exit

Rupert Murdoch has announced his retirement from News Corp and Fox, at the age of 92. His son Lachlan will become sole chairman of both companies.

So, how did the News Corp mastheads report his departure? In gushing prose? In muted, respectful tones, similar to Rupert describing his son as a “passionate, principled leader” in his retirement memo?

“For my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change,” the elder Murdoch wrote. So you know he’s paying attention.

For the most part, it was fairly straight, basically quoting from the official memo, much like any other outlet, before expanding into a broader biography – again, much like any other outlet.

Well, some of them did this.

Paul Kelly penned a tribute to his boss for The Australian — a “seven minute read”, according to the website — in which he rightly calls Rupert “one of the most influential, enduring and path-breaking media leaders in the democratic world.” This is a perfectly constructed statement of fact that reads like a compliment.

As is this: “Murdoch’s publications projected political and cultural values and sought to shape the direction of their societies.”

The seven-minute read is filled with them.


Sky News went slightly overboard, as they sometimes do.


While the New York Post was the best of the bunch, spinning what is a clear retirement into an exciting new promotion for Rupert, his final ascension at the company.

The first two sentences read:

Rupert Murdoch is taking on a new role at both News Corp and Fox as his son, Lachlan Murdoch, becomes sole chair of both media giants, the companies said Thursday.

The Australian-born media tycoon — who has spent nearly seven decades building a pair of powerhouses that have transformed their industries — will be officially named chairman emeritus of each company at shareholders meetings in mid-November.

Note how Lachlan, who was already co-chairman of News Corp, and executive chairman and CEO of Fox, is afforded a stray mention at the tail end of Rupert’s lead sentence.

The most telling tribute, however, has come from the stock exchange, where News Corp’s share price jumped 1.3% higher, while Fox rose 3.2%.



Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.