NEW YORK: Rupert Murdoch will step down as chairman of his media empire, a conservative behemoth that helped shape politics around the world, and hand control to his son Lachlan, Fox Corp. and News Corp. announced on Thursday.
The Australian-born 92-year-old, who built a global entertainment and news juggernaut that shaped events from Brexit to the rise of Donald Trump, will shift into an emeritus status at both companies in mid-November, the companies said.
“I am writing to let you all know that I have decided to transition to the role of Chairman Emeritus,” Murdoch said in a letter to colleagues, according to a story on Fox News´ website. “Neither excessive pride nor false humility are admirable qualities. But I am truly proud of what we have achieved collectively through the decades, and I owe much to my colleagues.”
The announcement marks a major transition for a singular figure who rose from the world of local news in Adelaide, Australia, before purchasing legacy tabloid and broadsheet newspapers in the United States and Britain and establishing hugely popular cable television operations.
Along the way, Murdoch has become an influential power player in global politics thanks to a news division that often blurred the line between commentary and journalism, championing right-wing voices who sometimes disregarded facts in promoting partisan narratives.
In April, Fox News reached a $787.5 million settlement in a defamation case brought by voting technology company Dominion that alleged the network knowingly aired false claims linking Dominion´s machines to a conspiracy to undermine the 2020 US election. The Dominion suit, which was settled shortly before going to trial, had argued that a stream of prominent Fox newscasters and commentators had promoted ex-president Trump´s lies about both the vote and Dominion´s machines.
A week after the settlement, Fox ousted conservative firebrand Tucker Carlson, one of several prominent Fox figures who had publicly championed Trump while castigating him in private messages to colleagues, a fact made public by the Dominion suit.