In 1985, Rupert Murdoch Became U.S. Citizen To Feed Ambition

Rupert Murdoch and wife, Wendi Deng.

A British parliamentary committee looking into the phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is expected to issue a report this week. And the 81-year-old publishing magnate and his son James Murdoch could be in for more problems.

The investigation  has resulted in 20 arrests of News Corp. employees and the closure of the 168-year-old News of the World newspaper. Meanwhile, in the United States, the FBI is looking into hacking allegations against some of Murdoch's holdings here.

Immigrants become U.S. citizens for all sorts of reasons. For, Rupert Murdoch, it was ambition.

In 1985, he wanted to expand his publishing empire into the United States and get into the broadcasting business. But U.S. law and the Federal Communications Commission prohibit foreigners from holding majority stakes in networks.

So, Murdoch took the oath and became a U.S. citizen. The rise of the Fox News Network began as he put his hand down.

Asked why he became an American, the Australia-born Murdoch said, "Because I wanted to."

Early Life in Australia:


Keith Rupert Murdoch was born in Melbourne, Australia, on March 11, 1931. He is the only son of Sir Keith Murdoch, a highly-regarded war correspondent, and Elisabeth Greene, a renowned philanthropist, both also born in Melbourne. His ancestral roots are English, Scottish and Irish.

Murdoch took to journalism at an early age, influenced by his father’s career as a reporter and later a regional newspaper publisher.

Young Rupert began what would become his professional career editing his grammar school newspaper.

When he was 21, Murdoch’s father died, and Rupert returned to Australia from Oxford University in England and took over the family business. He turned foundering newspapers into successful ones in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and New Zealand.

He is widely credited with modernizing the tabloid format. He created Australia’s first national daily paper, The Australian, in 1965.


Expanding the Publishing Empire:


In 1968, Murdoch moved to London and plunged into the Fleet Street market by purchasing The News of the World, a popular Sunday tabloid. A year later, he bought

The Sun, and both papers increased their circulation by giving readers a steady diet of sex, crime, sports and often sensational reporting.

By 1973, Murdoch was well on his way to becoming one of the wealthiest men in the world. He moved his empire into the United States when he bought the San Antonio News in Texas. He bought the New York Post in 1976 and created the national tabloid The Star, which quickly became a competitor against the National Enquirer.

During the 1980s, Murdoch’s News Corp. moved into television and entertainment. In 1985, he acquired Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and wrapped in several television stations to form Fox, Inc., which has evolved into a major broadcasting company. He later acquired the Wall Street Journal.

Murdoch also invested in professional sports, buying into the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and LA’s Staple Center.


A Loud Voice for Conservative Politics:


Murdoch’s affection for conservative politics is well-documented. He has contributed millions to the Republican Governors Association, the Republican Party and numerous conservative political causes, including support for the Tea Party.

Media critics, readers and viewers have criticized, or praised, his newspapers and broadcasting outlets for their overtly conservative perspective on nearly all issues, among them what to do about illegal immigration. Fox has been a persistent critic of President Obama’s administration and was an enthusiastic supporter of Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush.


Scandal Rocks the Empire:


In July 2009, rival London publication The Guardian reported that several News of the World journalists had intercepted the voicemails of celebrities and politicians and that senior staff were aware of the violations.

The disclosure touched off an explosive chain of events that led to the firings of prominent News of the World executives implicated in the scandal. In July 2011, Murdoch took the extraordinary step of announcing he was shutting down News of the World, ending 168 years in business.

But the scandal only deepened. At least 20 of the company’s newspaper executives were arrested, Murdoch was called to testify before a British parliamentary committee, and his son James Murdoch was forced to resign his positions with a News Corp.‘s British operations. Prime Minister David Cameron, whom Murdoch had supported, promised an aggressive inquiry into the ethical and criminal violations of the company.

Murdoch began The Sun on Sunday to replace the News and turned the operation over to another son, Lachlan. The first edition sold more than 3 million copies, testimony to the effectiveness of Murdoch’s formula for pleasing British readers.

In 2012, the FBI was investigating charges of hacking by Murdoch’s companies in the United States


Family and Personal Life:


Murdoch has been married three times. The mother of his sons who work in the business is Anna Torv, whom he married in 1967. They divorced in 1999, and he married Wendi Deng the same year. The two divorced in 2014.

Deng, born on Dec. 8, 1968, is a Chinese-born American businesswoman with a master’s degree in business from Yale School of Management. The two met in Hong Kong. The couple has two daughters and formerly lived primarily in Manhattan.