At the age of 93, Rupert Murdoch has married for the fifth time. The Sky News founder wed 67-year-old retired molecular biologist Elena Zhukova at his vineyard and estate, Moraga, in California. Zhukova, from Moscow, donned a white dress, while Murdoch wore a dark suit and patterned yellow tie. The couple met at a family gathering last year.

Murdoch had previously called off his engagement to Ann Lesley Smith, a former San Francisco police chaplain, last year. His fourth marriage, to Jerry Hall, ended in divorce in August 2022. Before Hall, he was married to entrepreneur Wendi Deng, with whom he shares two daughters; they divorced in 2014 after 14 years. His second marriage to Scottish journalist Anna Murdoch Mann ended in 1999, producing three children. Murdoch’s first marriage to former flight attendant Patricia Booker ended in 1966, and they had one daughter together.

Scratching the surface of Murdochland

  1. Phone Hacking Scandal (News of the World): This scandal erupted in 2011 when it was revealed that journalists at the News of the World, a tabloid owned by Murdoch’s News Corporation, had been hacking into the voicemails of celebrities, politicians, and crime victims. The scandal led to the closure of the newspaper, several high-profile resignations, and a public inquiry led by Lord Justice Leveson.
  2. Political Influence: Murdoch has been criticised for wielding significant influence over politicians and political outcomes. His media empire, which includes The Sun, The Times, and The Sunday Times, has been accused of swaying public opinion and political agendas, particularly in the UK and the USA.
  3. Monopoly Concerns: Murdoch’s extensive media holdings have raised concerns about media concentration and the potential for monopolistic practices. Critics argue that his control over vast segments of the media landscape stifles diversity of opinion and undermines democratic discourse.
  4. Allegations of Corporate Misconduct: Various entities within Murdoch’s media empire have faced allegations of unethical business practices, including tax evasion, labour rights abuses, and violations of privacy laws. These allegations have often led to public outcry and legal scrutiny.
  5. Relationship with Law Enforcement: During the phone hacking scandal, it was revealed that there were inappropriate relationships between News of the World journalists and police officers. These relationships allegedly involved payments to the police for information, raising serious ethical and legal questions.
  6. Hostile Takeovers: Murdoch’s aggressive business strategies, including hostile takeovers of rival media companies, have been controversial. These tactics have often led to significant changes in the media landscape, with concerns about the impact on journalistic independence and competition.
  7. Cultural Impact: Murdoch has been criticised for the sensationalist and sometimes unethical nature of the journalism practised by some of his tabloids. The impact of such journalism on public discourse and its contribution to a more polarised and less informed public has been a subject of debate.
  8. Support for Controversial Figures: Murdoch’s media outlets have been known to support controversial political figures and movements. For example, The Sun’s endorsement of Margaret Thatcher and subsequent Conservative leaders, as well as Fox News’s support for Donald Trump in the USA, have been contentious and widely discussed.

Millions have got the bunting ready but he keeps on disappointing. Eventually we will be rid!

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