Rupert Murdoch: the kingmaker in British politics

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Rupert Murdoch: the kingmaker in British politics

Rupert Murdoch: the kingmaker in British politics
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Global press baron Rupert Murdoch is the focus of media interest himself and the target of public anger.

Saying sorry over the scandal, the 80-year-old looked far removed from the profit and power-hungry business tycoon he is reputed to be.

It was 1968 when Murdoch took Britain by storm, buying the now-defunct News of the World and later the Sun newspaper.

Other titles followed and Murdoch’s influence grew. His support helped open the doors of Downing Street to Margaret Thatcher on the right and Tony Blair on the left. But last year, with New Labour in decline, he switched allegiance back to the Conservatives.

Patrick Wintour, Political Editor of British newspaper, The Guardian, gave his analysis.

“What the Murdoch press tend to do is they realise who is going to win the next election, or who is liable to win the next election, and they back them and then they made that very public display at the Labour Party conference when the Sun newspaper dropped Gordon Brown and said they were going to back David Cameron in a kind of arrogant display of power,” he said.

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The boss of News Corporation was the first newspaper proprietor to be granted an audience with the new prime minister in May 2010.

David Cameron also had meetings with Murdoch’s son James and Rebekah Brooks who quit as head of Murdoch’s UK newspaper arm amid the scandal. But hiring Andy Coulson, the ex-editor of the paper at the centre of the phone hacking claims, as his media chief, is most embarrassing for the premier.

“The biggest challenge for him is to explain why he, against the advice he was given by a very large number of people, chose to appoint the former editor of the News of the World as his Director of Communications,” Wintour said. “He appointed him, not only as his Director of Communications at the Conservative Party but he brought him into Number 10 when they won the election. “

Coulson quit in January over the allegations. He and Brooks are among those to have been arrested during the investigation. Both have denied any wrongdoing.