Citizen Murdoch

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:

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080422/wall_street_journal_editor.html?.v=11

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.

Happy New Year!

As a Capricorn with Saturn at 10 degrees of Cap, I’ve never been particularly happy on New Year’s, when the Sun is sitting on my Saturn. The stroke of midnight on Dec. 31 usually finds me buried under a down comforter, either sleeping or fending off the flu. Perhaps that’s why I’m so willing to embrace the Spring Equinox, or 0 degrees of Aries, as the “real” New Year. That’s when I feel like kicking up my heels.

Ah, but this blog is called Astrology Mundo, not Astrology Monica. So let’s look at what this year’s Spring Equinox chart indicates for the U.S. during the next six months (until the fall equinox chart takes effect). It’s set for 1:49 a.m. EDT on Mar. 20 in Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital. If you want to look at the chart and check out Barbara Hand Clow’s Web site, you’ll find it here: http://www.handclow2012.com/springequinox.htm

The chart has an optimistic Sagittarius rising, with chart ruler Jupiter in the sign of Capricorn, sitting in the second house of resources and earned income. Think of Jupiter as a big fat guy. He’s probably dressed in a pin-striped suit since he’s in Cap this year.

Everything isn’t exactly hunky-dory, though. Uranus in Pisces in the third house of media and communications squares the Sag ascendant, which suggests the potential for upsetting news. Nevertheless, I suspect those talking heads on TV will tell us that everything is going to be O.K. Uncle Ben Bernanke has it under control at the Federal Reserve Board. Those income-tax rebates will be in mailboxes before you know it and the interest-rate cuts will put a little life into the housing market or at the very least, Weber grill sales. Nobody in the Bush Administration wants the bottom to fall out before the election, and it’s within the government’s power right now to postpone the day of reckoning.

I think the sextile between Jupiter and Uranus gives the green light for mega-mergers in the Internet “space,” to use the jargon of Wall Street. If Yahoo! doesn’t get acquired by Microsoft, it will merge with another big company (News Corp.?)  in the next six months. Google’s got plenty of money; it’s not going to sit by and get outgoogled, so it may make some moves of its own.

That’s the good news. The bad news in this chart is a nasty cardinal T-square created by Pluto in Cap in the first house opposing Mars in Cancer in the seventh house of open enemies, both square the Sun at 0 degrees of Aries in the latter part of the third house. I think the war in Iraq and the one in Afghanistan that everybody forgot about until Prince Harry turned up there are going to both take a turn for the worse.

To me, Mars/Pluto/Sun is a fight for your life and superhuman efforts. As a nation, we’ve got to win the war against terrorism; our national identity and those of our leaders are wrapped up in the idea. I would bet on some kind of escalation under the guise of (what else?) national security since the Sun is close to the fourth-house cusp.

The other big feature of this chart is the Moon/Saturn conjunction in worrywart Virgo in the Ninth House opposing the three planets in go-with-the-flow Pisces in the third — Uranus, Venus, and Mercury. The depressing Moon/Saturn conjunction is too early in Virgo to pick up the good vibes of Jupiter in Cap. I think this picture could signify a legal decision (the ninth house rules law and courts) involving health-care or the purity of food. Perhaps Justice is going to take off her blindfold and notice the 47 million Americans and counting who don’t have health insurance. At the very least, I see government tightening the screws on the medical industry to curb some abuses.

On another front, since the Moon/Saturn conjunction is in Virgo, the sign of work, I think the unemployment picture will continue to get worse as outsourcing accelerates. We might see better unemployment benefits, though, and calls for government-backed retraining programs.

I wish I could be more sanguine about reproductive rights — Saturn/Moon in Virgo could mean the courts make it harder to get the morning-after pill or issue a ruling against abortion. Because this aspect is opposed by Venus/Mercury in Pisces in the third house, I suspect the media will try to put the best face on whatever happens. Quarantine? What a great opportunity to reconnect with the family and watch old movies!

And with that Venus/Merc in Pisces, the sign of self-deception, sextiling Pluto and trining Mars, we can be sure that our latest military adventure is going to be broadcast with a rosy glow.