Decades before Fox News altered the media landscape, Linda Ronstadt, a star known more for her melodies than her media critiques, delivered a powerful warning. In a 1983 Australian TV interview — 13 years before the launch of Fox News — she spoke out against Rupert Murdoch's sensationalist newspapers with astoundingly accurate foresight:
It's amazing to me that people read, you know, stuff in People Magazine or the National Enquirer. Your press down there is really — I mean, you gave us Rupert Murdoch… Thanks a lot, you guys. Take him back. We don't need him here… He's very responsible, too, you know. I mean, you see these screaming headlines in his newspapers about politics or about a shooting or killing that are only made to inflame, you know, terror and horror. It just drives me crazy. It's just It's plain old, irresponsible. That's all it is, you know. It's bad for journalism. It's bad for journalism. It's bad for the responsible journalists that are out there.
Decades later, Ronstadt's words resonate with eerie accuracy. Her criticism of Murdoch's approach – sensationalism over substance, fear over fact — seems almost prophetic. It wasn't just about bad journalism; it was a warning about how Murdoch intended to steer the course of history through lurid, fearmongering disinfotainment.
Linda Rondstadt on Australian TV in 1983:— The Intellectualist (@highbrow_nobrow) November 16, 2023
"Australia gave us Rupert Murdoch. Thanks a lot, you guys. Take him back!