Following the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, Rupert Murdoch said his greatest regret was that he had let his father down. Popular history views Sir Keith Murdoch (1885 - 1952) as a fearless war correspondent, author of a brave, censor-evading letter that led to the evacuation of the Anzac force from Gallipoli; and a principled journalist and dedicated family man who left a single provincial newspaper to Rupert on his death. This benign reputation is unsurprising: the two previously published biographies of Keith were Murdoch family commissions. But is there another side to the story of Keith's success and the origins of News Corporation? Before Rupert is an unflinching prequel to the saga of the Murdoch family's rise to power. Historian Tom Roberts draws on an unparalleled range of interviews, correspondence and archival sources to trace the genesis of the family's involvement with the newspaper industry and their influence. Before Rupert explores how Keith Murdoch ruthlessly navigated a network of connections and exploited the hidden intersection of press and power to gain ultimate control over Australia's media and political landscapes. With controversial revelations - of secret engagements, World War I propaganda operations, and the sensationalising of a schoolgirl's murder leading to the execution of an innocent man - this book shows how by Rupert's birth a pattern for the ruthless exercise of power through an expanding media chain had been set, a course that is still followed to this day.
Tom DC Roberts is a media historian and biographer with a passion for uncovering the stories to be found in forgotten and overlooked archives. His PhD studies at Macquarie University also instilled a fascination for the insights biography provides as a form, as well as the issues it raises as a practice. "Before Rupert "is Tom s first book and draws on four years of ground-breaking research undertaken around the world into the life and legacy of Sir Keith Murdoch."