Monday 18 December 2017

Cowardice of establishment is the real culprit

The governing elites grovelled to Murdoch, whom they professed to despise, for decades, writes Conrad Black

Rupert Murdoch is probably the most successful media proprietor and operator in history.

There is no possible argument about his boldness, vision and skill of execution in conquering the British tabloid market, leading vertical media integration by uniting film studios and television stations, cracking the US television triopoly, being one of the great pioneers of satellite television and founding a conservative-populist American news network. (It was to reduce News Corp's dependence on Roger Ailes' Tea Party Fox News Network that he was so eager to spend £8.3bn ($13.3bn) buying all the shares in BSkyB and laying hands on all its income). It must also be admitted that the Wall Street Journal is the only quality product Mr Murdoch has ever bought and actually improved.

He was sometimes very fortunate, especially that Margaret Thatcher exempted his satellite telecasting from regulation (though she was just repaying the favours of the Sun); that his bid for MGM was unsuccessful just before his near-mortal financial crisis in 1990; and that British Satellite Broadcasting was so ineptly managed by Granada and others that it collapsed into his arms 20 years ago. But luck is a small part of the explanation for his success.

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