You can say what you like about Rupert Murdoch, and most people have, but he doesn’t do things halfway. His decision to join Twitter on New Year’s eve has set the Twitterati and blogosphere alight not just because the 80-year old media baron joined but because unlike every other CEO or executive who’s joined Twitter, he’s actually expressed some real opinions — some of which are controversial given who he is. When Reuters asked CEOs at its Global Media Summit last fall most felt tweeting wasn’t for them.
In Murdoch’s first 24 hours he started off relatively gently praising an op-ed on Ron Paul in his Wall Street Journal, extolled the benefits of vacation, praised the founder of original founder of his New York Post and championed two of his Fox studios’ movies ‘The Descendants’ and ‘We bought a Zoo’.
He seemed to stick to some sort of neutral script for his first 24 hours but by Monday (Jan 2nd) he had praised President Obama for being “very courageous – and dead right” for his decision on terrorist detention, taken a poke at Glenn Beck’s old Fox News show and effectively endorsed Republican presidential candidate hopeful Rick Santorum: “Only candidate with genuine big vision for the country”. He also called on the “courageous” Obama to address what Murdoch sees as the United States’ biggest crisis, its education policy.
Murdoch’s tweets have been widely reported and analyzed by everyone from biographer Michael Wolff who said on Twitter he doubts Murdoch was writing them himself to various other Murdoch watchers.
The question is can the notoriously off-message Murdoch keep this up on Twitter without stepping in the proverbial and causing some sort of minor international incident with one of his off-the-cuff tweets. When you control large swathes of big media which impacts on everything from politics to sports whatever you say publicly will be pored over over for hidden meanings.