Fox Corporation chairman and News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch turns 90 Thursday, but the media mogul hasn’t taken a step back from defending free speech, harnessing key roles in two of the most recognized and influential media companies in the world.
Murdoch recently condemned cancel culture as “awful woke orthodoxy” suppressing free speech around the globe while accepting a lifetime achievement award from the Australia Day Foundation earlier this year. He began by noting that his career is far from over, before slamming a “wave of censorship” plaguing the media industry.
“A lifetime achievement award does have an air of finality, almost of closure, but I can assure you that there are many goals still to come, and challenges to overcome. Well, I’m far from done,” Murdoch said, noting his journey that “began in a smoke-filled Adelaide newsroom” remained in motion.
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“For those of us in media, there is a real challenge to confront a wave of censorship that seeks to silence conversation, to stifle debate and ultimately stop individuals and societies from realizing their potential,” Murdoch continued.
This rigidly enforced conformity, aided and abetted by so-called social media, is a straitjacket on sensibility. Too many people have fought too hard, in too many places, for freedom of speech to be suppressed by this awful woke orthodoxy,” he said. He encouraged young people to “have the confidence to follow opportunity, be ambitious, to be curious” and advised them never to be self-satisfied or smug, saying they weren’t “ingredients for professional success.”
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Murdoch’s ascent began in Australia in the early 1950s when he took control of the family’s Australian company, News Limited, in the early 1950s. The Murdoch media empire soon expanded worldwide. He acquired Perth’s Sunday Times and Sydney’s Daily Mirror and by the 1960s purchased United Kingdom-based News of the World and the Sun newspapers.
He expanded to the United States in the early 1970s, adding a plethora of newspapers – including the New York Post – to his portfolio.
“Media mogul Rupert Murdoch turns 90 today, and apart from his family, it’s The New York Post, and New York City, that have the most reason to celebrate the milestone,” the Post’s Steve Cuozzo wrote Thursday.
“The Big Apple hasn’t been the same since Murdoch bought the paper from Dorothy Schiff in late 1976. The city is immeasurably more self-aware and better-informed than it was when its media were uniformly liberal if not outright left-leaning. It’s also a more fun place to be, thanks to Page Six,” Cuozzo added. “The newspaper founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1801 owes its existence for the past 44 years almost entirely to Murdoch.”
Murdoch eventually founded the media holding company, News Corporation, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1985. But, he wasn’t finished building his empire and purchased the Twentieth Century Fox movie studio, launched the Fox Network and later created Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network.
In the years since, Fox has changed TV forever with ground-breaking shows including “The Simpsons” and “American Idol.” Fox News Channel has dominated cable news while Twentieth Century Fox is responsible for some of the most successful movies of all time, including “Titanic” and “Avatar.”
Fox News Channel has been the most-watched cable news network for 19 straight years among both total day and primetime viewership.
News Corporation also added Dow Jones & Co., the owner of The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s newspapers, in 2007.
In 2019, Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox became official.
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Fox Sports, Fox Entertainment and, FOX Television Stations and Fox News Media now make up Fox Corporation, which Rupert Murdoch continues serve as chairman while his son, Lachlan, serves as CEO and executive chairman.
As Cuozzo wrote in the Post, “Happy birthday, boss. Here’s to many more.”
Fox News’ Mike Arroyo contributed to this report.