Saturday, July 16, 2011

Phone-hacking Scandal, Key to Rupert Murdoch's Politics and Media Influences

Rupert Murdoch is a political kingmaker in Britain and his native Australia. In the United States, he's best known for promoting conservative opinion through media properties like the Fox News Channel. And in China, he's primarily a businessman working to give his News Corp. empire a toehold in that country's tightly controlled media market.

The phone hacking scandal roiling Britain has cast a fresh light on the billionaire media mogul's influence around the globe.

His outsize political role in Britain will almost certainly be reduced amid evidence his papers illegally hacked the phones of people ranging from a murdered teenager to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. It's less clear what will happen in Australia. Murdoch's political engagement in the U.S. and elsewhere is less intimate and may not be as compromised by the burgeoning controversy.

"His newspapers in England are far more directly involved in politics than anything he owns in the U.S,'' said Michael Wolff, editorial director of Adweek magazine and author of a Murdoch biography, "The Man Who Owns the News.'' "He's significantly more influential in the political life of that country.''

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