Rupert Murdoch: Conflict of Interest

In today’s society, we are heavily influenced to media and what is happening around the world, whether it comes to politics, death or war. But, the question can be asked, who owns the media, and how is the media portraying these topics? Because we don’t know if there is a puppeteer controlling the media and if there are two sides of a story, which side of the story is being favored over the other.

This is where I introduce Rupert Murdoch.

Rupert Murdoch
Owned businesses

Rupert Murdoch is an Australian-born businessman who’s company success and exploits are nothing short of phenomenal. He is the owner of media giants like Fox news, The Wall Street Journal, The Times and many more international businesses. He’s a man who has interests globally and a business prowess second to none. With all this success there will always be confrontation and this is mainly shown by other media sources. This media that isn’t related to Rupert’s businesses are always showing examples of how he can favor one side of a party over the other. This is shown in many sources like The Trump and Murdoch Relationship and the Liberal vs Labor controversy.

This begs the question, is Rupert manipulating his media to suit his views and is it becoming a conflict of interest?

A conflict of interest is when someone has the potential to influence the outcome or the direction of a situation, be it on a personal level or business deal where their vote can result in personal gain. For example, in the media there could be people who control news or an important matter which could lead them to be granted to special access, money, first rights to report on a breaking story as long as it was reported favorable. The conflict there is that it is a misrepresentation of the true facts if the person did not disclose the finer details. Many people have had to step aside politically due to conflicts that have not been disclosed, it has seen the end of many a successful careers once the facts have been reported.

The conflicts of interests that Rupert Murdoch finds himself in is mainly political. He uses his media as a way to promote a party that he favors and this is shown countless times with Australian politicians. Labor have reported that them as a political party have been targeted by the Murdoch media as a way to favor liberal.

A quote stated by The Conversation says that when Rupert Murdoch was asked what is his favorite part about running a media empire is, his answer was “being involved with the editor of a paper in a day-to-day campaign…trying to influence people” (McKnight, 2013). This quote (if true) shows the deep intent that Rupert wants the power to lead an election.

To add to this, Rupert is not shy to voice his opinion on topics as shown on social media. His twitter is a prime example of his unethical views and it goes to question if his input is the final say that gets published on the media giants he owns.

Murdoch’s Tweet

This way of media ownership and conflict of interest is unethical because we’re letting a man who owns all of these corporations have a say when it comes to governments, political topics and elections because he has so much power when it comes to media.

When journalists work for such a large corporation they need to follow ethical guidelines that stop them from siding with parties and just reporting the evidence to avoid a conflict of interest. A quote from a CNN Article state “It has left some journalists inside the Murdoch empire complaining about softball treatment and a pro-Trump tilt.” (Louis, 2017). This is an example of how journalists have to question there own ethics when reporting on these topics and feeling like they have to side with a party.

Journalists would follow the The MEAA code of ethics for this type of journalism. In the MEAA code of ethics state that journalists need to “disclose conflicts of interests that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal gain” (MEAA Code of ethics 2019)
“Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence” (MEAA Code of ethics 2019) These two standards that the MEAA provide are examples of how to ethically report in journalism and where Rupert Murdoch oversteps these codes.

In journalism reporting the truth void of conflict is the basis of good reporting. It is their mantra. Journalists over the world have found themselves jailed, made redundant and lost careers at the expense of reporting the truth. Peter Greste is a good example of this. It comes down to dignity and integrity versus making a living. The real problem for a die hard journalist would be finding themselves working for a global conglomerate who had a one sided view on an political matter, international crisis or inept leader and having to report against their own beliefs and core values.

When a person or a Company can have so much success that it can affect lives, stock markets and political influence, there comes a massive moral responsibility with this amount of power. Whether people in power choose to follow this is up to them. Hence the question could be asked, who is governing personal success, should it be governed at all? Can it ever be monitored or then do we enter into the areas of the to right free speech? When media power can have so much impact at an International level, where do governments stand on this unknown when the front page of a newspaper can make or break a prime minister or president and have the ability to effect millions of people.

Louis, E., 2017 “Trump-Murdoch relationship raises conflict-of-interest questions” Available at: Viewed 24 May 2019
McKnight, D., 2013 “Murdoch and his influence on Australian political life” Available at: Viewed 24 May 2019
MEAA Journalists code of ethics, 2019 Available at: viewed 25 May 2019


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