Author Topic: The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty (BBC 2 doc)  (Read 417 times)

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty (BBC 2 doc)
« on: July 25, 2020, 10:39:47 AM »
This has been screening on Tuesday nights for the last two weeks on BBC2, with one more part to come. It can be iPlayered, obvs.

For anyone who has a passing knowledge of who Rupert Murdoch is, or what he has done, there is very little that is surprising. However it is quite interesting to have a spotlight on him and his children (who all have key positions within the empire) as they are usually lurking in the shadows somewhere and it's quite difficult to get the measure of them. Murdoch senior is clearly very astute, especially when he is pretending not to be. It's not clear that his sons operate at quite the same level, although his daughter Elisabeth seems to have inherited his wile. Archive footage suggests that Murdoch senior had some charm which may be less evident in his later years.

The first episode focussed on the period around the election of the New Labour government, and the Murdoch press switching allegiance from the Tories to New Labour. I guess I wasn't paying close attention at the time, but in retrospect it seems obvious that the Tory sleaze that was a factor in discrediting the Major government was a targeted campaign by the tabloids (and the Murdoch press in particular). The second episode covered the Brown / Cameron handover, as well as the phone-hacking imbroglio, the two linked of course by Andy Coulson (NotW editor turned Cameron spin doctor). It was entertaining seeing Les Hinton (chair of the UK operation) and Nick Davies (Guardian journalist who broke the phone hacking story) trade insults for (but not directly with) each other.

What's really striking for me is how entangled the UK government and senior Murdoch execs are. Of course, the revolving door between the press and the government is well documented but it seems to run very deep. The story was told of Rebekah Brooks' wedding reception, which was attended by then PM Brown (or, at least he was invited, I don't recall the detail) and a whole host of other senior politicians. It was said to be an awkward occasion, with all the politicians looking over their shoulders at Murdoch.

When people say that all Labour leaders are monstered by Murdoch, I think it's clear that there's monstering and there's monstering. There was no way Corbyn would even have been welcome within this set, nor would he ever have wanted to have been. It's not clear that cosying up to Murdoch does anyone much good in the long run.

The final episode looks to be on Brexit and Trump. That will be a barrel of laughs, I'm sure.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty (BBC 2 doc)
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2020, 08:05:48 AM »
Just me watching this, then? The final ep was a bit of a disappointment. They didn’t seem to know what it was about. Was it about the relationship between Fox News and Trump during his run for presidency? Or about the Sun wot won it for Brexit? Or about the estrangement of two of his children, leaving a Hobson’s choice for his successor. It is rather peculiar to pick a narrative thread that doesn’t have much in the way of an ending.

That said, it had me reflecting on the fact that the most likeable contributor in the whole episode was Piers Morgan, and therefore what a shower the rest of them must be.

BlodwynPig

  • The Last Living Member of COVID-20
Re: The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty (BBC 2 doc)
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2020, 08:17:57 AM »
Thanks for summarising. I have no interest in seeing these because my stomach couldn't take it and being on the BBC I doubt there is much skewering of the 'right' wrong people.

Was there any insight on Murdoch legacy. I am sure there are other powerful media despots - well plenty of lobbying oligarchs so not just media - but when Murdoch dies will a vacuum be left or is the succession already in place.

Any detail on his Bob Maxwell / spy dealings?

Re: The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty (BBC 2 doc)
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2020, 08:45:57 AM »
I agree that part 3 was a mess. The second part was one of the best documentary series episodes I have seen. I'd forgotten the Max Mosley story. I also dug the Game of Thrones style music and the family tree that depicted all the shady connections.

greencalx

  • Never knowingly knowledgeable
Re: The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty (BBC 2 doc)
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2020, 08:05:44 PM »
Was there any insight on Murdoch legacy. I am sure there are other powerful media despots - well plenty of lobbying oligarchs so not just media - but when Murdoch dies will a vacuum be left or is the succession already in place.

Not sure whether answering will lead me to break your BBC boycott by proxy, but this wasn’t really addressed. Basically they wanted us to think it was wide open and in the last five minutes said “it’s Lachlan” without ever telling us much about him. In particular, given the first two eps, one could have gone into the question of whether he was likely to hold as much sway over the “great” and the “good”. But instead they decided to give the time to Farage, presumably on the basis that he’s not on the telly very much.

To be honest no one came out of it well, other than Nick Davies.

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Any detail on his Bob Maxwell / spy dealings?

Private Eye also had a good old whinge about the show in the current episode, though I’m not entirely sure what their beef was.

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