“What are you fucking playing at?” Those were reportedly the opening words from Rupert Murdoch’s son James Murdoch to The Independent editor in chief Simon Kelner.The young chairman and CEO of News Corporation Europe and Asia stormed into the rival newspaper’s newsroom yesterday after the UK paper printed a series of promotional ads telling readers: “Rupert Murdoch won’t decide this election. You will.”
The FT reports that Murdoch arrived with a small entourage behind him, including Rebekah Brooks, CEO of News International. She publishes News Corp’s The Times and The Sun. A copy of the newly redesigned Independent was in Murdoch’s hands.
Witnesses described the scene to the Guardian as if James was hunting for his mafia hit. “It was so bizarre. He came in all menace. You know the sort of thing: ‘The boss has heard what you have been saying about him. He doesn’t like it.'”
After the editors had heated conversations in Kelner’s office for 20 minutes, Murdoch left the scene in a huff, according to reports.
Both The Sun and News of the World are supporting David Cameron, the Conservative party candidate for prime minister.
As Newser’s Micheal Wolff reminds us, Rupert is fiercely protective of his tabloids’ influence in elections.
From Newser: One of the most famous headlines of his career appeared in the Sun after the Conservative victory in Britain 1992: “It’s The Sun Wot Won It.” Murdoch is still stewing over an ill-timed and inept endorsement of John McCain over Barack Obama (again, against his better judgment—Murdoch likes Obama and was convinced to back McCain by Roger Ailes and New York Post editor Col Allen).
James doesn’t want another John McCain incident. Although he is power grabbing News Corp. from his dad, he wants to please him. He also wants to win, a characteristic that runs in Murdoch blood.
We wonder how James would be reacting to all this New York Times vs. Wall Street Journal hubbub if (/when) he takes over News Corp. from Rupert.
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