Rupert Murdoch: Ultimate Media Mogul?

Every few weeks, it seems that Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp. make headlines as Murdoch maneuvers to expand his ever-growing media empire.

His latest attempt: Murdoch wants a piece of online giant Yahoo.

The 77-year-old Australian-born media mogul already controls a surprising amount of what we see on a daily basis. Nobody knows the true extent of his ambitions, but Murdoch watchers say he doesn't appear to be stopping any time soon.

"He does seem to be buying everything in the world," said Tony Hendra, a satirist and former editor of the National Lampoon.

Hendra just published a satire paper called My Wall Street Journal which includes the line "We Distort. You Decide" on its masthead, after Fox News' tagline, "We Report. You Decide." Murdoch's News Corp. recently purchased Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal and Barrons.

Hendra's spoof pokes fun at a lot of people's fears about Murdoch's intentions and methods.

Eye-Popping Headlines

For instance, a news brief on the fake front page reads: "Big bouncy naked girl boobs increase readership when published in newspapers …"

Another story tackles the tough lives of the super rich, saying that many third homes, the place where you "escape the tedium of a second home" are being foreclosed at an alarming rate.

"I think global press lords could use a little needling every once in a while," Hendra said. "It's a given that he's to have his way with The Wall Street Journal and make it My Wall Street Journal."

On a more serious note, Jerome Tuccille, who works on Wall Street and has written books on Murdoch, Alan Greenspan and Donald Trump, among others, said Murdoch probably won't go after Yahoo, despite his appetite for growth.

"I just think it's too soon after the Dow Jones acquisition," Tuccille said, noting that Murdoch is probably making overtures to keep other bidders away or to buy himself some time.

Murdoch was born in 1931 in Australia and studied at Oxford University in England. He got his start in the news world in 1952 when he inherited two Adelaide, Australia, newspapers from his father. For the next decade, he grew his media business in Australia, launching the country's first national daily in 1964.

He then set his sights overseas, buying the London tabloid News of the World and London's Sun. Murdoch later moved into the U.S. newspaper market and then, in the 1980s, into television and movies.

He now controls a vast media empire: the third-largest media conglomerate in the world, according to business information service Hoover's. It is only surpassed by Time Warner and the Walt Disney Co., the parent company of ABC News.

"I don't think 99 percent of the population realizes that the same company that owns the Wall Street Journal also owns 'American Idol,'" said Chris Roush, a business journalism professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tuccille said he doesn't see Murdoch slowing down in his acquisition of other companies.

"People like him don't stop; they hit a wall and suddenly drop dead," Tuccille said. "He's incapable of stopping. He's an empire builder."

Tuccille said Murdoch is a "gambler and a risk taker" who has overpaid for properties, but managed to make them work.

He has also acquired many critics along the way.

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