Rupert Murdoch and The New York Post on the Decline?

Posted by Abbey Barrow

With news of the upcoming News Corporation split into a separate publication company, once again the media spotlight turns to the infamous Rupert Murdoch and his newspaper holdings, including The New York Post. Columnist Michael Wolff of The Guardian recently published his take on the future of the Post, and it’s not positive. Wolff stated that The New York Post will not outlive Rupert Murdoch, and in fact, is seriously on the decline.

But Wolff wasn’t exactly lamenting the passing of this long-standing news staple. Although most historical yellow journalism gossip rags have long faded away, Wolff says The New York Post is one of the only  “bully-boy newspapers” remaining where “lawless” and “unrepentant” journalism still have an outlet.

But beyond its place in journalism history, Wolff sees the Post as mostly a representation of Rupert Murdoch and his particular brand of journalism. Infamous for his many corruption scandals, hacking charges, and payoff suspicions, Murdoch and his massive media holdings make him one of the more controversial figures in journalism. One who according to Wolff, uses his publications for his own personal agenda.

“[The Post has] been Murdoch’s money-losing personal instrument for all manner of trouble-making, political power-brokering, and punishment and reward. When it was not being bent to his personal will, it was to that of his editors, picking the paper’s enemies and friends for both personal and institutional benefit,” Wolff writes.

Yet, The New York Post is an industry standard, which still attracts readers, and as Wolff mentions, remains almost one of a kind in the print industry today. Thus, is there still a place for the print gossip rag in today’s Internet dominated media? Does the Post still serve a necessary function despite its scandals? And as for Murdoch, is he also a last remnant of a media age gone by? As one of the kingpins of media conglomerations and perhaps suspect morals, Murdoch hearkens back to figures like William Randolph Hearst, but are the days of the classic media mogul over?


10 responses to “Rupert Murdoch and The New York Post on the Decline?

  1. Murdoch certainly hasn’t won himself many friends over the years. I’d like to think that a paper, which Wolff claims make a mockery of the profession, would not be around for very much longer. I have read maybe on or two editions of The New York Post so I’m not exactly sure the closing of the publication would be all the upsetting to me. At the same time with so many print outlets falling to the way-side it is saddening to think another publication could be off the market.

    • I am also not a huge New York Post reader, so I also don’t have a very personal connection to the publication. There are obviously changes in the print market, but I think Wolff wanted to highlight that even more so, the Post is so tied to Murdoch and his character that it won’t be able to sustain itself after he’s gone. Yet, any news of a long-standing publication in trouble is worrisome.

  2. I’m with Monica on this one. I’ve only read the Post a few times, so it wouldn’t really affect me if it was closed down. It’s too bad that Murdoch has to overshadow all of his publications like this. We know that he owns all of these media outlets, but we hear more about his own personal scandals than any of the work he is doing for journalism. I agree with Wolff that his publications almost seem to be more for himself and his agenda than for the public.

    • You make a good comment about how Murdoch overshadows his works and media outlets. It’s hard to think of Fox News, or even The New York Post without thinking of Rupert Murdoch. He’s one of those powerful media giants with a strong personality and even stronger views. I guess the question is if there’s a place for this kind of figure in journalism any longer and if his brand of journalism can survive without his presence.

  3. If the Post is not serving the public as a news outlet should then it doesn’t deserve to continue to be around. I’ve also only picked up the Post a couple of times. Although from this blog Rupert Murdoch seems to be manipulating the news to serve his own agenda and as we can see that can only last for so long.

    To answer one of your questions, news now travels faster than ever. I believe social media has limited the need of “print gossip rags.” We can now receive gossip in tweets, post and pictures rather than waiting for weekly or monthly gossip publication. “Print gossip rags” are almost obsolete.

    • I agree that gossip no longer needs to take the print form. Yet, The New York Post’s Page Six is still one of the most influential sources for celebrity and high society sightings, interactions, and rumors. Their reporters seem to have built up a very specific brand of journalism and getting information which is still prized in some audiences.

  4. I agree with everyone on this that this publication only exists to help Murdoch reach certain ends. If the New York Post isn’t appealing to their audience any longer, something is clearly wrong. Perhaps it isn’t Murdoch placing himself in the public eye that is sending this magazine down the drain, but rather the lack of content. From my own experiences, I’ve seen that people enjoy scandals, particularly those involving high ranking members of society. That shouldn’t be turning people away from reading the Post.

    • I think your right in that people do secretly want to read the salacious rumors, attention-grabbing headlines, and overly dramatic story lines the Post prizes. I think there will probably always be a market for this brand of journalism, so perhaps Wolff is wrong and The Post will continue on for years after Murdoch dies. It may just be another matter of adjusting to the changing landscape of journalism.

  5. Like others have said, I have never actually sat down and read a whole edition of The New York Post nor do I feel like I would be sad if it was gone.
    On the other hand it is a little scary to think that another newspaper would be going out of business.
    As for the gossip and Murdoch, maybe it’s what’s being published is what is making the newspaper suffer, as in their audience is not interested- who are they trying to appeal to and who will then buy there paper?
    I feel as though this newspaper is having some major HR issues along with writers not being directed very well by their editors? I don’t have a lot of background on this issue so I’m not quiet sure what to do or the solution, just some thoughts!

    • You bring up a good point that editing is not a huge part of the New York Post philosophy. The publication came under a lot of fire this past week for printing false information in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. The Post even ran a cover that misidentified two innocent men as suspects in the case. Murdoch defended the cover and the Post’s decision to run unverified information, but it’s clear that there was a lack of fact-checking, ethical discussions, and general editing. Yet, this practice isn’t likely to change because it is in fact a hallmark of the Post’s style.

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