Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Murdoch and More

From his dazzling array of affronts to human decency, it is Rupert Murdoch’s insatiability, his pursuit of “more” as the true meaning of life that repels and fascinates above all else.

At 76, he has money and power to burn, but his greed seems to exist on some plane of quasi-religious fervor.

Clichés about loss of potency and fear of death are too pale to explain him. No Citizen Kane, Murdoch is one of a kind. He seems driven to control all the media in the world, even if it means kowtowing to the Chinese government, as the New York Times reports today.

Compare him to Bill Gates, for example, or to his contemporary, George Soros, a successful speculator, who withdrew to devote his fortune to encouraging “open societies, tolerant of new ideas and different modes of thinking and behavior."

Murdoch is not about withdrawing but charging ahead, not about tolerance but conformity, not about encouraging but controlling. He won’t have any troubling getting along with the Chinese regime.

Gates’ and Soros’ sincerity and motives may be subject to debate, but their humanity about the limits of wealth and power offer a contrast to Murdoch, who acts as if he will live forever if only he can keep swallowing companies.

But here is some news for the man who wants to control all the news. In the immortal words of Olympia Dukakis in “Moonstruck”: I just want you to know no matter what you do, you're gonna die, just like everybody else.

But when Murdoch goes, he will get a great obit in the Wall Street Journal.

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