By Gabe Sherman at New York magazine.
Basically, at 79, Murdoch’s still going strong, reinvigorated by a new crusade to kill the arrogant “elite” at the New York Times. And Google.
Meanwhile, “reclusive” son James is quietly working on taking control…
On Saturday, January 9, Rupert Murdoch was on his Boeing 737 returning to New York from a business trip to Los Angeles when he learned that the New York Times had just posted a long profile of Fox News chief Roger Ailes on its website, one that he knew was going to cause a giant headache.
Earlier that morning, Murdoch’s son-in-law Matthew Freud, the London PR executive who’s married to his daughter Elisabeth, had sent an e-mail to Murdoch’s BlackBerry (Murdoch only recently began using e-mail himself). “I’ve given a quote to the New York Times, and you’re probably not going to like it,” Freud wrote.
The quote lived up to its advance billing—and quite a bit more. “I am by no means alone within the family or the company in being ashamed and sickened by Roger Ailes’s horrendous and sustained disregard of the journalistic standards that News Corporation, its founder and every other global media business aspires to,” Freud, the great-grandson of Sigmund, had told the paper. Certainly there was personal animus in the remark; in the left-of-centre London social circles where Freud and Elisabeth operated, Fox is particularly loathed.
But the quote was also a salvo in a battle that had been raging around Murdoch for years. Is Fox News a disreputable cash cow, its reported $700 million in profit something to be tolerated with a held nose? Or is it central to the News Corp. mission? And questions like these lead directly to others: Who is Rupert Murdoch, really? And what does he want now?
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