I used to work for an Australian who had a chip on his shoulder. Let’s call him Stephen. He was convinced that he faced discrimination in New York media circles because, get this, he was Australian. I thought this was hilarious since so many Aussies, including News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, have done quite well for themselves in Gotham.
Stephen was an unlikely Australian. He drank sparingly, laughed little, and dressed very neatly. Even though he was born in a country where they like to say, “No worries, mate,” Stephen worried all the time. In essence, he was the opposite of the Aussie stereotype. Stephen had been a reporter for the New York Post, a paper owned by Murdoch, and was obsessed with his fellow countryman. (Yeah, I know, Murdoch’s got an American passport, but his Australian upbringing is apparent in little things like the name of Fox 5′s morning show, Good Day, New York, as in “G’day, mate.”)
I never found out what was behind Stephen’s obsession with Murdoch, and it never occurred to me to ask. My impression was that he thought the American media were giving the media mogul a free ride, not really questioning how a publicly traded company was being run as a family business. On Wall Street, they would say that Stephen had some concerns about News Corp.’s “governance issues.”
Stephen ended up at the Wall Street Journal, which was recently taken over by Murdoch. Now that’s irony, if you ask me. I can’t imagine that the self-hating Aussie is happy about Murdoch’s meddling with the WSJ‘s winning formula. That interference led to today’s resignation of Marcus Brauchli, the paper’s managing editor. Here’s a link to an AP story about Brauchli:
Murdoch’s also been in the news the last couple of days for his plan to buy Newsday, the profitable Long Island tabloid that has been losing circulation under the stewardship of Tribune Co.
Now, Murdoch has done so many things in his life, and News Corp. owns so many different properties that you could write a book. Others have, but I don’t have time for that right now. I’m going to settle for a quickie astro reading.
Like some other present and former media moguls (John Malone, Michael Eisner), Murdoch is a Pisces. He was born Mar. 11, 1931 in Melbourne, Australia, at 11:55 p.m. His Sun is conjunct Mercury, the planet of communications, and those two Pisces planets make a favorable trine to a stellium of Jupiter, Pluto, and Mars in Cancer. All that Cancer usually means an emphasis on roots and family. Sure enough, Murdoch has expanded a business he inherited from his father and has involved his children in News Corp.’s operations.
What does Murdoch’s chart say at first glance? That he is intuitive, fortunate, expansive, and ruthless. As a Pisces, he has a knack for living his life in tune with the zeitgeist, doing things like marrying a Chinese woman, Wendi Deng, just as China is becoming a global economic player.
I don’t think anyone really knows Murdoch, except maybe his mother, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, who is still going strong at age 99. He’s got Moon in Sagittarius, and the Moon rules the women in his life. The moon is in the 12th house of the unconscious, which governs prisons, hospitals, and other institutions. I haven’t read all the Murdoch biographies, but I’d venture to say his mother has been the most influential person in his life.
The Wiki says his father, Sir Keith Murdoch, died in 1952, while Murdoch was still in college. I was also interested to learn that Dame Elisabeth is a tireless philanthropist who has championed such causes as improving conditions for prisoners, mental hospital patients, abandoned children, and addicts. Sounds like a 12th house Moon to me. Don’t you love astrology?
Here’s Murdoch’s chart, courtesy of Star IQ: http://www.stariq.com/Main/Articles/P0007881.HTM
Murdoch’s natal chart (a map of the planetary positions when he was born) is being lit up like Times Square by the current movements of the planets in the sky. He’s got transiting Pluto in Capricorn hanging around his Ascendant or rising. This is pushing him more heavily into business news. Some examples of this are the Dec. 13 acquisition of the WSJ, the nation’s premier business paper, and the launch of Fox Business News on Oct. 15. Pluto didn’t move into Capricorn, which rules business, until January, but the timing is close enough for me. Murdoch is consolidating (Pluto) his position in financial media.
As electrical Uranus has made its way through Pisces, Murdoch has been awakened to the possibilities of the Internet, and News Corp. has gotten more interactive. As the company acquired the social networking site MySpace in July, 2005, for $580 million, transiting Uranus was trining Murdoch’s natal Jupiter. Oddly enough, $580 million is the amount that News Corp. is proposing to pay for Newsday. Maybe it’s Murdoch’s lucky number.
While my former boss Stephen may have believed that Murdoch was being let off easy by the media, that’s changing. Murdoch’s making enemies over at the Journal with his emphasis on shorter stories that appeal to the general public. He’s messing with a tried-and-true recipe developed by longtime WSJ managing editor Barney Kilgore (http://www.opinionjournal.com/about/kilgore.html), and the Journal’s defenders of the faith resent it.
The fears about Murdoch’s tabloid tendencies were behind an April Fool’s Day parody of the WSJ featuring a bare-breasted photo of conservative poster girl Ann Coulter (thanks to the wonders of PhotoShop). The satire was designed to skewer Murdoch’s conservative politics and his appeal to the lowest common denominator, as evidenced by the racy photos that appear in his British tabloids.
Here’s the link to the sendup: http://wsjparody.com/
In the small world department, the voice on the Web site that’s supposed to be Murdoch’s sounds like that of another former Australian boss of mine who also used to work for the Post, and no, I don’t think all Aussies sound alike. What kind of sheila do you think I am?
If you liked that sendup, here’s a funny riff on MySpace, another News Corp. property: http://americancomedynetwork.com/animation.html?bit_id=25239
O.K., back to business. On a macro level, Murdoch could run into some regulatory opposition to the Newsday acquisition because of the proximity of its Long Island base to the Post’s New York City territory. However, the Federal Communications Commission has been loosening up the laws regarding media ownership so maybe this won’t be a problem the way it might have in the old days.
Certainly, there are a lot of people out there who think Murdoch’s global empire is beyond the control of any government or regulatory authority, and they’re probably right. With Saturn approaching Murdoch’s Virgo Midheaven, I think criticism of him is going to get louder. Will it bother him? Not in the least. That’s a great thing about being a Pisces. You can live in your own little (or in Murdoch’s case, big) world.