Apple co-founder and tech illuminato Steve Jobs, who continues to make headline news after his death, criticized Fox News and its owner Rupert Murdoch for being a destructive force in American society.
Jobs and Murdoch worked together on The Daily, an iPad-only news magazine launched in February. According to Walter Issacson's new authorized biography on Jobs, the Apple chief lectured Murdoch on the politicization of the Fox News network. A passage in the book details the conversation:
“You’re blowing it with Fox News,” Jobs said. “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.”
The two agreed to have their staff watch Fox News for one week and then compile highlight reels of the Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck programs to prove their respective points. That never actually happened, but Murdoch told Issacson that he welcomed the game.
“He was very blunt and critical of what newspapers were doing in technology,” Murdoch says of Jobs in the book. “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.”
Murdoch invited Jobs to speak at the News Corp. summer management retreat in June 2010. At the Murdoch ranch in Carmel, Calif., Wall Street Journal executive Gordon McLeod got into a heated discussion with Jobs, and was later fired for it, according to Gawker.
Jobs, who many said at the time was arrogant and mean, had a sometimes rocky relationship with the media. Nonetheless, he apparently wanted to help take the New York Times into the future, and met with the paper's top staff to guide them in app development. According to Issacson, Jobs recommended the New York Times app sell for $5 at most so that it could reach as many users as possible.
The book Steve Jobs was released earlier this week, and instantly shot to No. 1 on the Amazon Kindle bestseller list and on Amazon.com. Sony has already purchased the movie rights to the book and Jobs' life story.