News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch issued an apology following a Tweet in which he wondered aloud why the “Jewish owned press” seemed so anti-Israel. Earlier, he had criticized the Associated Press and CNN – neither of which is “Jewish owned” – for what he saw as their bias in covering the Israel-Gaza conflict. Some speculated that Murdoch may have been referring to The New York Times, which is run by the Sulzberger family, who is Jewish.
After receiving feedback alerting him to the fact that phrases like “Jewish owned press” carry a negative connotation, Murdoch apologized in a letter to the Anti-Defamation League and a phone call to director Abraham H. Foxman. Murdoch called the tweet “awkward and inappropriate,” according to a statement from the organization. The ADL announced on Nov. 19 that it has accepted his apology.
Murdoch’s News Corp. owns both the Fox News Channel and the New York Post. He is a staunch supporter of Israel and Jewish causes, making the misunderstanding regarding his use of the phrase “Jewish owned press” all the more troubling.
Following Murdoch’s apology, ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman issued a statement in which he said, “After speaking with Mr. Murdoch, it is clear that he deeply regretted posting his remark on Twitter and understands how his reference to ‘Jewish owned media’ could play into the age-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about ‘Jewish control’ of the news media. We appreciate his effort to apologize, and to make clear that his remarks were an attempt to defend Israel made at a time when the Jewish state is under direct assault, and were not intended to hurt or to offend.”
According to the 2011 list of Forbes’ richest Americans, Murdoch, 81, is the 38th richest person in the U.S. and the 106th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $8.3 billion. This summer he announced plans to split News Corp.’s publishing and broadcast divisions into two publicly traded companies. Not a stranger to controversy, Murdoch received a lot of bad publicity over the 2011 phone-hacking scandal at his News of the World tabloid in the United Kingdom.