What 52 years under Rupert Murdoch have taught Les Hinton

If anything drives media mogul Rupert Murdoch, it's that "he loves to be an underdog," said one of the peopl...

Posted: Oct 13, 2018 11:36 AM
Updated: Oct 13, 2018 11:36 AM

If anything drives media mogul Rupert Murdoch, it's that "he loves to be an underdog," said one of the people who knows him best.

The Australian-born Murdoch, journalist Les Hinton says, started off in media bright and ambitious, "in a small place in a small town." He was equipped with "a huge amount of energy, and a boldness and courage that a lot of other people didn't have."

Brian Stelter

Business and industry sectors

Business figures

Business, economy and trade

Journalism and news media

Media industry

Misc people

Rupert Murdoch

"There was a determination about him," Hinton said. "I mean, who else would have pursued Sky? Who else would have thought that you could make Fox News work? Who else would have bothered with all the opportunities in the world to try and create a fourth network? He did this because he liked the challenge. He liked to be underestimated."

Hinton, the former CEO of Dow Jones & Company, began his career in journalism buying Murdoch sandwiches and serving as his copy boy. Over the next half a century, he worked his way up to becoming the titan's right-hand man. What he learned about Murdoch and the evolving media business forms the basis of his new book, "An Untidy Life."

Hinton sat down with CNN's Brian Stelter for this week's Reliable Sources podcast to discuss Murdoch's empire, the golden days of journalism, and the future of newspapers.

Listen to the whole podcast here:

The U.K.-born Hinton, who worked for Murdoch for 52 years, remembers a media business of his youth completely different from today's.

"Media was like a pyramid, and there were a few of us at the top who basically decided what everyone below us was going to know," Hinton said. "What's happened is that that pyramid has been turned upside down. And now you, me, everyone, we have in the palm of our hands with a smartphone, infinity. We can see anything we want."

Hinton considers the decline of this model bad for legacy news outlets and movie studios, but good for news consumers. However, he told Stelter, there is a downside to "the dusk of the press barons." While Hinton praises new websites, he doesn't think they have the same weight as old-school publications.

Murdoch's confronted these changes over a decades-long career, overseeing both traditional newspapers and new cable programming. He is sometimes criticized for being too tough or for having too much of a say in the editorial process of his papers.

Hinton, who has managed both The Times of London and the Wall Street Journal, disputes that Murdoch dictated editorial policy. "He did appoint the editors but he didn't tell them what to do," he said.

At the same time, Hinton recognizes that "even the most hostile of his critics aren't all wrong."

"He could be very, very tough," he told Stelter. "He could be ruthless. His best friend was the business... and he would do a lot in the interest of that business."

Hinton advocates for a varied news diet and alternates between watching Fox News and CNN. He agreed with Stelter that of all of Murdoch's media assets, Fox News is the most criticized.

But, Hinton doesn't agree with the cultural critique that Murdoch's contributed to the rise of polarization in America. The manifestation of that partisanship he ties to Donald Trump.

"The rise of Trump was caused because he struck a nerve that no one detected. And that's created a real schism in American life," Hinton said. "Fox may be riding on one side of that schism, you could argue, although I don't think that's an entirely fair accusation."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 128152

Reported Deaths: 2354
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin33024980
Ramsey13609355
Dakota9467136
Anoka8324150
Stearns554641
Washington539968
Scott326534
Olmsted315930
St. Louis279765
Wright233214
Nobles219516
Clay215343
Blue Earth20037
Carver17247
Kandiyohi16395
Sherburne160621
Rice15929
Mower149915
Winona122518
Crow Wing94721
Lyon9416
Chisago9202
Waseca9199
Benton8827
Beltrami8397
Otter Tail7896
Todd7525
Steele7342
Nicollet70017
Itasca69617
Morrison6578
Freeborn6494
Douglas6323
Martin60216
Le Sueur5985
McLeod5764
Watonwan5724
Polk5574
Goodhue54211
Becker5193
Pine5190
Isanti5115
Chippewa4153
Carlton4031
Dodge3790
Mille Lacs37613
Hubbard3462
Cass3445
Wabasha3430
Pipestone33616
Meeker3183
Brown3113
Rock3113
Yellow Medicine2715
Cottonwood2650
Unassigned26553
Murray2643
Redwood26011
Fillmore2450
Sibley2423
Renville23711
Faribault2210
Roseau2160
Wadena2082
Jackson2041
Kanabec19410
Swift1931
Houston1861
Stevens1741
Lincoln1720
Pennington1711
Koochiching1644
Aitkin1592
Pope1520
Big Stone1310
Lac qui Parle1303
Wilkin1274
Lake1110
Norman1050
Mahnomen1041
Marshall971
Grant924
Clearwater880
Red Lake662
Traverse540
Lake of the Woods431
Kittson370
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111117

Reported Deaths: 1587
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18419283
Woodbury697994
Johnson571730
Black Hawk535098
Linn5245129
Dubuque489654
Scott421037
Story391018
Dallas336944
Pottawattamie309144
Sioux234314
Buena Vista222512
Marshall195936
Webster178914
Plymouth159426
Wapello149462
Clinton140926
Muscatine139358
Crawford133712
Des Moines13059
Cerro Gordo130423
Warren11856
Carroll107212
Jasper105534
Henry10075
Marion95710
Tama91837
Lee90710
Delaware72912
Dickinson7117
Wright7071
Boone6969
Mahaska65924
Bremer6389
Washington62711
Harrison6238
Jackson5583
Benton5381
Lyon5287
Louisa50715
Clay5044
Hamilton4613
Winnebago45818
Winneshiek4559
Hardin4495
Kossuth4460
Poweshiek44111
Floyd42411
Jones4223
Cedar4205
Buchanan4194
Emmet41517
Iowa3948
Cherokee3832
Franklin37818
Sac3774
Guthrie37615
Clayton3753
Page3740
Shelby3601
Mills3551
Butler3542
Fayette3543
Cass3512
Madison3512
Allamakee3438
Chickasaw3381
Clarke3283
Humboldt3083
Hancock2984
Palo Alto2982
Grundy2895
Calhoun2854
Howard2619
Osceola2610
Monroe25111
Mitchell2380
Monona2361
Taylor2302
Union2194
Appanoose2173
Pocahontas2172
Jefferson2121
Lucas1976
Fremont1881
Ida1842
Greene1820
Van Buren1662
Davis1634
Montgomery1616
Adair1481
Keokuk1481
Decatur1430
Audubon1381
Worth1340
Wayne1133
Ringgold832
Adams700
Unassigned140
Rochester
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 13°
Mason City
Clear
17° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 7°
Albert Lea
Clear
19° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 19°
Austin
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 21°
Charles City
Overcast
23° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 16°
Tracking another round of snow for the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Rochester Considers New Downtown Library Complex

Image

Rochester Public Works Proposes Speed Limit Reduction

Image

Sports Overtime part two

Image

Sports Overtime part one

Image

Sara's 10pm Forecast - Friday

Image

Outdoor dining is on the rise and grant funding is helping

Image

Preventing self storage thefts

Image

Big plans for a new library building in Rochester

Image

Rochester Public Works proposed speed limit reduction

Image

Candidates in Iowa House District 54 talk to KIMT

Community Events