James Fallows: The Age of Murdoch
Amidst the mass media revolutions of the past fifty years, Rupert Murdoch has harnessed, expanded, and then consolidated the numerous media outlets and businesses he controls into one powerful entity: News Corp. James Fallows, writer for the Atlantic, has had first hand accounts of the changes in media the past few decades. Along the way he has observed Murdoch’s reactions. In the article, “The Age of Murdoch,” Fallows writes with an admiring tone towards the media giant, and his decisions, while providing an analysis of how the media has changed from a public service to a business like all others. Researching Fallows, the Atlantic, and the issues discussed within the article gives confidence in the validity of the information entailed.
Educated at Harvard College and Oxford University, James Fallows boasts an impressive history. He has worked as a writer for Washington Monthly and Texas Monthly. Primarily, he has written for the Atlantic since the late 1970’s. To quote the Atlantic’s profile of Fallows, “he has reported extensively from outside the United States, and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter.” Within the magazine, Fallows is known for his fascination with technology and frequent columns on the topic. A self-proclaimed Democrat and liberal, Fallows also contributes to NPR’s Morning Edition, and just recently began reporting for All Things Considered. He has received the National Book Award for Nonfiction, as well as the National Magazine Award. (http://www.theatlantic.com/james-fallows/)
In “The Age of Murdoch,” Fallows appears to take the side of Rupert Murdoch in the debate over whether government, specifically the Federal Communications Commission, should regulate or deregulate the communication industry. He shows agreement with the viewpoint, “the news business is basically the same as other businesses” by writing, “the Murdoch version has now won, and Murdoch deserves to move from “controversial” to “visionary” status.”(Fallows, 2003)
“The Age of Murdoch” appeared in the Atlantic in 2003. This was the only time it was published by the magazine or elsewhere. The Atlantic itself, much like the communication industry, has undergone changes. In 2007 its name officially changed from the Atlantic Monthly, to the Atlantic after ceasing to produce twelve times a year. Now, the Atlantic only publishes ten times per year. Its current owner is David Bradley, and current editor-in-chief is James Bennet. Although it is publicly believed to be a leftist news source, Fallows writes in a very straightforward manner in “The Age of Murdoch.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Atlantic)
Since it is a single article published only once almost ten years ago, the reviews and response to “The Age of Murdoch” are rather limited. Fallows does not present many opinions in the article, but rather focuses on reporting what, how, and why changes happened in media regulation in 2002 along with the effects and reaction of Rupert Murdoch.
Overall, “The Age of Murdoch” is a well-written account of media deregulation and the important figures in the industry. Bias and personal opinion seem to be put aside by Fallows. A reader can certainly be confident in the details within the article, as Fallows has been shown to be a professional, credible source.