Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch ridiculed for thinking he’s not part of the ‘elite’

“Rupert Murdoch has been playing this victim game for 70 years.”

Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch has drawn some scathing criticism after announcing his intention to step down as chairman of Fox and News Corp, with his son Lachlan to head both companies.

Murdoch, 92, who launched right-wing Fox News in 1996, wrote a memo to his staff announcing his decision to step down as well as taking a swipe at elites. He wrote: “Elites have open contempt for those who are not members of their rarefied class. Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth.”

Murdoch seems to think that despite being a billionaire media mogul, who owns an $84 million private jet, and was connected to major political figures while cosying up to the likes of Donald Trump, he is not a member of the elite.

His decision to once more present himself as an outsider railing against elites, led to surprise among many political commentators. Quoting his words, George Monbiot posted on X: “Satire died today. This is Rupert Murdoch, epitome of elite power and media lies.”

Peter Jukes of Byline Times posted: “If you’re wondering where this weird tradition of billionaire media owners with all their access complaining about elites comes from…?

“Rupert Murdoch has been playing this victim game for 70 years.”

Otto English posted on X: “Rupert Murdoch- the most powerful billionaire and media tycoon of our era.. who world leaders sucked up to for last 40 years – railing against the elites and vested interests… as he hands the empire he inherited from his dad on – TO HIS SON.”

Murdoch had a profound influence on public life, with many highlighting how his media empire drove countries such as the UK, US and Australia to the right. In the US, during the 2016 US presidential election, Fox News became closely tied with the rise of Donald Trump as he surged to the GOP nomination. The right-wing channel became cheerleaders for controversial policies such as a ban on foreign nationals from entering the US from seven Muslim-majority countries, and the child separation policy at the southern border.

In the UK, Murdoch threw his weight behind Brexit, propelling a once marginal cause to the top of the political agenda.

The media mogul is no stranger to scandals either, with his News of the World becoming mired in the phone-hacking scandal after it emerged reporters had illegally accessed voice messages of politicians, royalty and even murder victims for stories. The revelation of the hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone led to a public and political outcry which led to Murdoch shutting the Sunday tabloid and the end of the Sky merger.

More recently, Fox News and some of its presenters accused Dominion, a voting equipment company, of being involved in a plot to steal the presidential election. After a libel action, Fox was eventually forced to pay out $787.5m (£640m) to settle a defamation lawsuit ahead of a six-week trial.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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