“Aged 84, Murdoch still sits atop the media world.
The phone hacking scandal cost his business $512m (£332m).
But because it forced him to split his businesses, he’s richer than ever. Forbes put his wealth at just $7.6 billion in 2011. Now it’s $12.7 billion.
Long-time Murdoch watcher, Australian journalist Neil Chenoweth, thinks Murdoch’s morale was dented by the phone hacking scandal and his divorce from Wendi Deng. But he says Murdoch has had a spring in his step since the UK general election.
There’s just one cloud on the horizon. Scotland Yard detectives might yet bring a corporate charge for phone hacking against News International – including Murdoch, who was interviewed by police. Exaro’s secret recording suggested he knew about bribery of police.
But it’s amazing how people can mis-understand the company’s good intentions. That’s the conclusion News International’s former security chief Mark Hanna reached after suddenly dropping his employment claim.
Corporate prosecution aside (and, obviously, that could be a big deal), did the hacking scandal make a difference?
Well, British newspaper journalists are almost certainly better behaved, though there still isn’t any proper regulation.
Through his jinxes and feints, Murdoch has survived. And is wealthier.
But he seems to be a little less powerful.
He’s not the master puppeteer (Cameron can and does run the economy, he has his finger on the nuclear button), but, along with Paul Dacre at the Mail, Murdoch still paints the scenery of our political theatre.
So have things improved? Overall, they have, for the better.
But there may be a twist or two to come.”
Let’s freeze-frame the moment. It’s 2.39pm on a July day in 2011 and the world’s most powerful media magnate is atoning. In front of British MPs, his wife, his PR advisers, and a global TV audience, Rupert Murdoch says: “This is the most humble day of my life.”
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