The world’s most powerful media mogul and owner of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, the hard-line conservative Rupert Murdoch last night admitted he had told one of his publications to back Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Could this be the start of a home run for Obama? A political communication analyst tells us why he should be wary.
CEO and chairman of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch has a huge stake in the world press, including dozens of newspapers, magazines, television channels and websites. He has been criticised for a biased and overbearing influence, especially coming from his American news channel Fox News. In the UK, he owns almost all of the conservative written press and is thought by many to be the reason behind Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997. Last night, speaking at a technology conference supported by the Wall Street Journal, the media tycoon praised Barack Obama, calling him a “star”.
And about McCain, who is supported by Murdoch's flagship news channel Fox News:
Jim O’Brien lectures in political communication and journalism at Southampton Solent University in the UK.
The danger now is that you’ll get collusion between Murdoch and whoever the next president is. In return for winning Blair’s election in 1997, Murdoch gained a lot of control in the UK. In the US too; the president will become a “friend” of Murdoch, not an enemy who might make it difficult for a media monopoly. All this interdependence blows apart any notion of the fourth state.
Will Obama get caught in the trap? Sadly he hasn’t got a choice. He probably doesn’t want the endorsement from someone who goes against so many things he believes in, but he’s going to have to accept it. He’s just not in a position to reject Murdoch’s support. He needs all the help he can get against McCain, who is after all, still the favourite. It will be the only thing to get him past negative campaigning."
After being Hillary's biggest fan since the beginning, Murdoch's New York Post made a turnaround on January 30 this year, publicly endorsing Obama.