Rupert Murdoch’s life is based on doing the unexpected

Theories of impending divorce, after the couple married six years ago at St Bride’s Journalist Church on Fleet Street in London, vary from the pair tired of each other after an excessive period in lockdown, to talk about Murdoch’s accident over his wife’s drinking, which friends said wasn’t an exaggeration.

Over the weekend, Murdoch watchers expected a clear indication of the state of the marriage at a family wedding. Charlotte Freud, who wrote Society . magazine Tatler once called “perhaps the most outrageous of Murdoch’s 13 grandchildren”, was about to marry DJ and rapper Luke Dylan during a big family affair.

Charlotte Freud is known as the most outrageous of the Murdoch grandchildren.Credit:Instagram

Freud — the granddaughter of the tycoon and daughter of Elisabeth Murdoch and her ex-husband Matthew Freud, herself a great-grandson of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud — once stepped out in a satirical “Trust Rupert Murdoch” Sloppy Joe sweater.

Her father’s estrangement from her grandfather seems over, but Hall, the former longtime partner of rock star Mick Jagger, was not expected. Small news stories in the company’s Australian tabloids on Saturday confirmed the divorce.

Until now, there have been signs of a family rift surrounding James, Murdoch’s second son from his marriage to journalist Anna Torv. The estrangement of father and son was noticeable during that of his father postponed 90th birthday party last September in Holmwood, Murdoch and Hall’s £11 million ($19.5 million), 11-bedroom Georgian townhouse in the Chilterns, west of London.

Rupert Murdoch and then wife Anna Murdoch with their children Lachlan, James and Elisabeth in New York City in 1989.

Rupert Murdoch and then wife Anna Murdoch with their children Lachlan, James and Elisabeth in New York City in 1989.

The birthday party for about 150 people, including entertainer Barry Humphries, watched a lengthy video tribute curated by Elisabeth, starring Lachlan’s eldest son, Boris Johnson and former Australian Prime Ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott. It was said to contain the theme tune on: succession, a thinly veiled drama about a dysfunctional media dynasty. But James was absent from the party and the video.

Besides his family, Murdoch had an urgent business reason to be in London† Its new expensive talk TV news channel, starring former tabloid editor Piers Morgan, has been underperforming in ratings, often beaten by GB News, its rival broadcaster. Angelos Frangopoulosthe Australian who once headed Sky News Australia.

Both channels are bleeding money, but Morgan’s poor ratings in particular have been seen by some as proof that the ‘age of anger’ is over.

This is a big deal for Murdoch, as his global offering is based on providing readers and viewers of The sun and New York PostFox News and Sky News Australia with a steady stream of outrage.

Now the US libel lawsuit filed by the voting machine company Dominion could lift the lid on this strategy. It claims the Murdochs must have played a direct role in sanctioning Fox’s coverage of attacks on their voting systems as part of its coverage of Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen.

Donald Trump is a favorite with Fox News hosts.

Donald Trump is a favorite with Fox News hosts.Credit:Fox news

Last week, a judge dragged the Murdochs into the case after ruling that the facts alleged by Dominion supported the claim that Fox Corporation was “directly liable” for what Fox News reported. The lawsuit seeks $1.6 billion ($2.3 billion) in damages and moves to the discovery stage, looking for internal memos and documents within Fox that could entangle the family.

Meanwhile, five years after Murdoch struck a $71 billion deal to sell his movie and entertainment company 21st Century Fox to Disney, Lachlan, the CEO of Fox Corp, is trying to create a growth path for the news and television company.

Lachlan Murdoch has responded to criticism that Fox News is polarizing the American electorate by pushing Fox Corp. to develop more sports betting and lifestyle content. The new areas wouldgive us our growth in the future,” he told the American news site Axios.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the betting strategy temporarily fell into the water when the Murdochs’ proposal to pay approximately $220 million to pick up PointsBet digital player backfired. The company is expected to try again.

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In May’s election, readers and viewers seemed to ignore the company’s attacks on Labor and ‘taling’ independents, just as Fox News’ support for Trump failed to prevent his election loss. In Britain, the company’s support for the Conservative Party is weaker, given the ordeal of the Johnson administration.

The Murdoch family has made an estimated $17 billion in news headlines, and the head has never had a hard time generating them. Now the tycoon looks set to move into the future with his fourth marriage behind him, with a business and personal life shaped by his constant habit of doing the unexpected.

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