It’s happening – Ruport Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of the world’s biggest media company, Fox Corporation and News Corp. For everyone who has been missing the corporate backstabbing and bloodletting of Succession deep in their bones, our time has come. It is believed that Lachlan, Rupert’s eldest son, will now take sole leadership at the conglomerate.
In a memo sent out to employees this week, the 92-year-old billionaire from Melbourne (people often forget he’s Australian and to be fair, it’s not like we openly boast about it either) said “for my entire professional life, I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change. But the time is right for me to take on different roles, knowing that we have truly talented teams.”
“Our companies are in robust health, as am I,” he added. “Our opportunities far exceed our commercial challenges. We have every reason to be optimistic about the coming years — I certainly am, and plan to be here to participate in them. But the battle for the freedom of speech and, ultimately, the freedom of thought, has never been more intense.”
The timing is particularly poignant as the US is facing what will no doubt be another inflammatory and increasingly violent election period courtesy of one Donald Trump. Rupert’s Fox News was instrumental in getting Trump elected in 2016 and near unimpeded support during his presidency. But this backfired recently when Fox News faced, and lost, lawsuits for its coverage of false claims of a stolen election, particularly the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The network was accused of promoting baseless conspiracy theories and disseminating false information, leading to a tarnished reputation and costly legal battles. So much so, that Rupert has even allegedly been heard wishing for Trump’s death in recent days.
While some will cheer the departure of a man they believe has overseen some of the worst media scandals in recent history – let’s not forget the News Of The World saga and an entire Wikipedia page entry of controversies – Rupert’s son Lachlan is considered by many to be more right wing than his father.
The best we can hope for really is a protracted, bloody family battle to take control of the empire only for the ex-partner of someone sweeps in and takes control in a last minute vote of backstabbing.