The Man Who Owns The News: Rupert Murdoch (Book Review)

“The Man Who Owns The News” is a book written by prize winning writer Michael Wolff as a biography of the media mogul Rupert Murdoch in an attempt to take us deep in to the secret world of the newspaper man. Many people have tried to make biographies of the man that owns a lot of what we read, watch and listen to, but they have all failed including a friend of his. Wolff decides to give it a try and Murdoch approves of the book and he encourages his family members and people that worked and still work for him at the time to contribute to the book.
The main challenge this book faces, is that Michael Wolff has never written a biography before, and writing a book of this genre on a media giant has to be a top notch. This review examines the process of writing such an important publication.

The book begins talking about the man that owns it all by describing his life back in Australia and the newspaper that he had inherited from his father, but it does not go into detail about Murdoch’s life before arriving on US soil. It then puts the overtake of the Wall Street Journal as the basis of the book and the story develops from there. Throughout the whole book there are interviews that make the book all the more credible because they provide insight from the people that are close to the newspaper man. The book also tells the audience about the complications of the family Murdoch is having to deal with recently because of his three marriages and kids that do not appreciate their birth right, a dynasty their grandfather and father have created for them. Perhaps, the most detailed story in the book is the Dow Jones overtake that had shaked the media market and we get to know how conquering the Dow Jones was a dream that came true for Mr. Murdoch.

Furthermore, Wolff manages to say that he is not particularly a fan of Rupert Murdoch, but thinks that the man is a genius that makes intelligent business decisions, and runs his business with dictatorship, which is how he is what he is today. Not the richest media mogul, but probably the most important. The end of the book starts mentioning his recent bad decisions due to the stress he is going through and how that is affecting the business. Wolff says “It all depends on him” as the last sentence to finish off the book.

All that said, the book feels a little more bipolar everytime you move a chapter or sometimes a page. Wolff says he is not fan of Murdoch yet dedicates pages to describe the “mysterious” personality in a very positive way and calling it “brilliant”, “genius” and the like. But, it does not end here, because Wolff tells us that Murdoch is cheap and wears a shirt from wallmart, yet the reader gets to know later that he owns a 150ft yacht. furthermore, the book describes Murdoch as “boring”, “has no friends” and leads a boring work life, then it is evident that he gets to hang out with various celebrities (which is not boring at all).
The book recieves these criticisms because of the mistake that Wolff makes on the cover of the book by stating “Inside the secret world of Rupert Murdoch” . However, that is not the case, because there are too many descriptions of the newspaper man’s personality and a lot less on the secret stuff that the audience might never get to know such as the way Murdoch makes his decisions, and for example making the problem Murdoch is facing family wise a lote clearer than it is in the book.
Now, that the book is criticised, one believes that the book does deliver a good insight on Rupert Murdoch’s personality and the most important takeover of the Dow Jones and essentially the Wall Street Journal. However, because of the spread of the story throughout the book, one needs to pay extra attention and to summerise the story on their own.

In conclusion, one believes that the book in review does a mediocre job at highlighting such an important topic that concerns many of those of who have the knowledge that they read, watch and listen to media owned by that one man. Perhaps, the book could have been a less of a praising as well, because that is the image delivered after having read the book when the writer says that he is not a big fan.
One can’t help but note that the writer admires the personality of Murdoch wether that is what Wolff tries to convey or not, and that is possibly the important issue this publication has, because the reader of such a book would want to make their own opinions and not a book that would eventually lead them to make either a positive or a negative judgement. 3-stars By: Almustafa M. Khalid 



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