Harvey Weinstein, who produces thought provoking films, called Rupert Murdoch a great innovator for taking the Wall Street Journal in an age when all newspaper circulation has been spiraling downward and making it “the greatest newspaper in the nation.”
When Murdoch visited the paper the first day, Weinstein said, every employee was polite and quiet. “Is this a newsroom?” the new boss asked. “Looks more like a morgue.”
“Boy, has he changed that!” Weinstein said.
Weinstein spoke at an Anti-Defamation League dinner honoring Rupert Murdoch on Oct. 13 at the Waldorf-Astoria.
The emcee was Liz Claman, the radiant redheaded anchor at Fox Business Network who looks Irish. But she said she was born to Jewish parents in a small shtetl called Beverly Hills. Her late father, Dr. Morris Claman, immigrated from Russia and became a urologist who served everyone from the indigent to heads of state, including President Ronald Reagan and Israeli President Ephraim Katzir.
Claman commented on the firing of CNN commentator Rick Sanchez after he claimed Jews control the media. “I was offended. Everybody knows that Roger Ailes controls the media.”
Ailes, who’s been working for Murdoch for 14 years, currently as chairman of Fox News Channel, called his boss “the greatest media genius” of the 20th and 21st centuries.
“Rupert truly believes the world can’t end today because it’s already tomorrow in Australia.”
Ailes noted that all the men trapped in that mine in Chile have emerged unscathed. Except one. His wife ran into his girlfriend. “That man is still down there. Clearly he faces death either way.”
In recounting Murdoch’s life, Ailes offered a story about Murdoch’s son, James, who serves as chairman/CEO of the company’s Europe and Asia operations. As a teenager he got his driver’s license and asked Dad to buy him a car.
The elder Murdoch made a deal. “Bring your grades up, stop listening to that music, start reading the Bible and cut your long hair.” James improved his grades, stopped listening to that music and started reading the Bible. He asked again for a car.
“You still have long hair,” Dad said.
“Moses, Samson, Jesus all had long hair.”
“Did you notice they all walked everywhere?”
Abe Foxman, ADL national director for 22 years, presented the global media mogul with the International Leadership Award.
“I can’t say I’ve been chosen by God,” Murdoch said. “I can say I am grateful that I have been chosen by His people for this award.”
Murdoch described a world awash in anti-Semitism. “We live in a world with an ongoing war against the Jews. Some fire rockets, others pursue nuclear weapons. Terrorists target Jews in Israel and abroad, especially Europe. At home anti-Semitism has found a new home in polite society, coming from the left. They believe Israel is the source of all the world’s problems. Their aim is to isolate Israel, delegitimize her and make her a pariah. That’s why we still need the ADL.”
He concluded, “The peace we all want will come when Israel feels secure — not when Washington says so.”
Tim Boxer is editor of 15MinutesMagazine.com.