Ex-Times editor Jill Abramson on Murdoch: 'A mixed legacy'

Jill Abramson
Jill Abramson, former executive editor at the New York Times, spoke during commencement ceremonies for Wake Forest University on May 19, 2014 in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
Chris Keane | Getty Images file
Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch, center, attempted to speak to the media in London, Friday, July 15, 2011.
Kirsty Wigglesworth | AP photo file

As Rupert Murdoch prepares to hand over the CEO job at Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. to his son, James, former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson told MPR News he's leaving "a mixed legacy."

Rupert Murdoch, 84, one of the world's most powerful media barons, remains the chairman and controlling shareholder of the company behind Fox News Channel, Fox broadcast network and the 20th Century Fox movie studio, through a family trust that owns shares. He has been CEO since 1979 and chairman since 1991.

"He was responsible for the rise of a kind of very political, very partisan way of delivering the news both in the creation of Fox News in this country and some of his tabloid newspapers abroad," Abramson said. "He has been a good steward of the Wall Street Journal where I spent 10 years of my career. He's kept the quality of that news report very high I think. He's built an entertainment juggernaut that's one of the most profitable movie, entertainment and news companies in the world. He's been a towering figure in all of those worlds and I imagine it's going to be hard for him to retreat from the spotlight."

Fox News reported the pending move on its website Thursday, attributing the announcement to Rupert Murdoch. CNBC first reported the story based on sources who requested anonymity.

Abramson will be in the Twin Cities next week at a fundraiser for WomenWinning, a group that helps elect to public office women who support abortion rights.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Correction (June 11, 2015): A previous version of this story incorrectly characterized the abortion stance of the group 'WomenWinning.'

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