Rupert Murdoch on Fox News talking about the iPad and Steve Jobs (2 minutes in)
Reuters points us to a section of Walter Isaacson’s ‘Steve Jobs’ bio detailing the relationship between Jobs and New Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch. News Corp. is behind the iPad-only publication, The Daily, which Jobs was originally supposed to introduce with Murdoch on stage prior to taking medical leave before the app’s February 2nd launch.
Isaacson writes about a conversation between the two men following New Corp.’s annual management retreat in June 2010 where Jobs tells Murdoch he’s “blowing it with Fox News” while calling it a “destructive force in our society”.
“The axis today is not liberal and conservative, the axis is constructive-destructive, and you’ve cast your lot with the destructive people. Fox has become an incredibly destructive force in our society. You can be better, and this is going to be your legacy if you’re not careful.”
During the conversation, Jobs apparently asked Murdoch to create a video reel consisting of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity shows, to which Murdoch agreed. Jobs later revealed to Isaacson plans to have a similar reel made by Jon Stewart’s Daily Show team, a show known for calling out Fox News frequently. Isaacson quotes Murdoch, prior to Steve’s passing, as saying, “I’d be happy to see it, but he hasn’t sent it to me”.
Jobs told Isaacson he believed Murdoch didn’t like the direction Fox News had gone saying, “Rupert’s a builder, not a tearer-downer, he said. I’ve had some meetings with James, and I think he agrees with me. I can just tell.” Although, Isaacson quotes Murdoch as shrugging off Jobs’ complaints saying “He’s got sort of a left-wing view on this”.
Jobs also apparently talked very critically about newspapers in technology during the dinner with Murdoch, telling Isaacson “He told us we were going to find it hard to get things right, because you’re in New York, and anyone who’s any good at tech works in Silicon Valley”. This prompted Wall Street Journal Digital Network president Gordon McLeod, who was also at the dinner, to say to Jobs, “Thanks, it was a wonderful evening, but you probably just cost me my job.” Murdoch then recalls to Isaacson, “It ended up being true,” as McLeod lost his job three months later.
A more recent account details when Murdoch personally delivered the initial design of The Daily app to Apple in Cupertino, “Jobs hated it”, writes Isaacson, prompting Steve to ask Murdoch to have Apple designers help (something we know Steve has been known to do). Eventually Jobs decided on a new design created by Murdoch’s team:
“Apple designers had a crack at it, Murdoch recalled, and our folks went back and had another crack, and ten days later we went back and showed them both, and he actually liked our team’s version better. It stunned us.”