Friday, 15 July 2011
The Lion and the Hyenas
As a child I remembered being moved by a story of an old and sick lion being attacked by a pack of hyenas.
The lion was noble and the hyenas cowardly in the simplistic and empathetic way a child sees things.
This analogy comes to mind in the spectacle of Rupert Murdoch at bay.
Mr. Murdoch is however not a noble lion and as a man subject to the adverse effects of power. Unlike Caesar, he did not have a man riding in his chariot repeating the mantra: "Remember, you are only a man."
His victories were noteworthy. He easily bested Robert Maxwell, outmaneuvered the print unions and was given an own goal by the people who launched the British Satellite Broadcasting company. You know, the people who gave us the squarial.
Rupert Murdoch's early opponents under estimated him. They described him as an Aussie upstart. That was a huge mistake. David Frost, fresh from his successes with shows on London Weekend Television, demolished Dr. Emil Savundra, an arrogant bombast who had owned and bankrupted a motor insurance business. His next victim was to be the young Murdoch on what I remember may have been on live TV. Frost failed to dent Murdoch’s composure and resorted to badgering his subject. Murdoch's revenge was to acquire a significant stake in London Weekend Television from which platform Frost was excluded until suitable reparation was made.
Mr Murdoch is a good listener. His people organised meetings over one week during breakfast, lunch and dinner with people with ideas and opinions from the Advertising Agencies. He asked relevant questions and we were happy to tell him our thoughts. Mr Maxwell had the same notion, but talked all the way through the meetings.
Murdoch has had some luck, and survived mistakes such as My Space. Overall he has been the most successful media baron ever.
Only a fool will write him off and he is still capable of striking out.