The Media Guardian has gone to town today ahead of Rupert Murdoch’s 80th birthday this Friday. What with the phone-hacking scandal, Times paywall, and the BSkyB bid, the “press baron who dared to look to the skies”, as Roy Greenslade calls him, is still making headlines 15 years after News International’s infamous Wapping move and almost 45 years since he bought his first UK newspaper, the News of the World.
In bidding for the News of the World in 1968 and the Sun the following year, he illustrated a gift for making deals against the odds. He was not the favoured buyer in either case yet he succeeded because he exploited the necessary angles in each case. In the first, it was to act as the white knight in opposition to Robert Maxwell, playing to perfection his role of saviour of the paper’s, and its owners’, best interests.
Along with Greenslade’s profile, head of media and technology Dan Sabbagh has devoted his weekly media column to the so-called “Wizard of Oz”, assistant editor Michael White looks at his political dealings and influence, Steve Hewlett at his legacy, Martin Dunn at his empire building, Andrew Clark on his standing in native Australia, and, of course, an interactive timeline: the eight ages of Rupert Murdoch.