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Rupert’s ‘Rosebud’?

In response to:

What Rupert Hath Wrought! from the June 21, 2012 issue

To the Editors:

It would perhaps have taken too much space in “The Real Rupert” [NYR, June 21] to look more extensively at the history of Rupert’s father Sir Keith Murdoch, but there is instruction from doing so. There are models for the son’s behavior as a proprietor and in relation to media generally, as well as, less easily discerned in the Wikipedia entry regarding Sir Keith Murdoch, more visible, though with genteel gloss, in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, the fact that at the end of his life, Sir Keith lost control of a large slice of media in Australia.

Where Geoffrey Wheatcroft writes, “Sir Keith, as he became, went on to a successful career in newspapers, and ended up by owning the Adelaide News,” the greater part of Sir Keith’s media empire was necessarily disposed of by executors after his death—in the year before Rupert aged twenty-one returned from London to take over a miserable provincial rump of what had been. “Getting it back to show the bastards” was surely a major motivator, gone on to become an enduring preoccupation.

News nearly was lost when it almost ran out of money just over twenty years ago. Threats now multiply. Whether Rupert’s legacy will be diminished as was his father’s we wait to see. Meanwhile News continues to work to bring down the Australian government… etc. Plus ça change.

Dennis Argall
North Nowra, New South Wales
Australia

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