The long-running saga of the Murdoch family’s push into the UK media has ended in two unexpected acts of clarity from the empire’s octogenarian media magnate, Rupert Murdoch.
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First, there was a quick reply to the damning report into the hacking scandal by select committee members. Murdoch simply emailed a terse statement that didn’t mention the committee, and wasn’t too constrained by a section stating that he “is perceived as having failed to be straight with parliament”.
He later sent a polite letter to the culture secretary, Karen Bradley, complaining that the MPs’ behaviour had embarrassed his children.
And now, the launch of a book that has caused the Murdochs even more dismay. The New York Times has made clear that Murdoch thinks former editor of the Times, James, ran the paper like a dictatorship. “He had very narrow views, and he stuck to those views to the death,” Murdoch writes in Resume, a memoir.
The story of Murdoch’s attempt to take over BSkyB without the backing of the plurality regulator was chronicled in the Leveson inquiry. His attempt to buy the Sky News channel was opposed by James. James took over the papers in 2007 and shut the Sky News channel that year. Last year he was cleared in the Leveson report.
James Murdoch, the younger son of Rupert, has been widely criticized in the book, despite the praise for his more recent stewardship of the News Corp empire in the US and his oversight of Sky. James has expressed deep disappointment over the behaviour of one of his former Australian business associates. As James writes: “I was never personally involved in exactly why the press company failed to produce its taxes in compliance with Australian laws. Instead, I was left to wonder whether it was a political decision or simply a lack of competence on the part of my colleagues.”