James Murdoch, Rebellious Scion (NYTimes Oct 10, 2020)

Increasingly uncomfortable with News Corp’s politics and profit motives, Rupert’s younger son chose chickens and sheep over Fox, and insists he doesn’t watch ‘Succession.’

WASHINGTON — As we sat down to lunch in my garden, I mentioned to James Murdoch that I’ve been reading a lot of classical plays lately and a popular theme is the rancorous battle between two brothers over a kingdom.

“But these plays end in cannibalism and civil war, so at least your family hasn’t gone there yet,” I said brightly.

Above his mask and behind his Kingsman glasses, Mr. Murdoch’s brown eyes widened with alarm.

The issue of dynastic succession — the real one and the one in “Succession,” the Emmy-winning HBO drama that is inspired by the Murdochs — was definitely on the menu, along with fried calamari.

Mr. Murdoch, 47, resigned from the board of News Corp this summer with an elliptical statement, saying he was leaving “due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions.”

Rupert Murdoch’s youngest child with his second wife, Anna, is loath to get into the epic family drama that found its climax in the 15 months between pushing a deal to sell 21st Century Fox to Disney and ankling the family business he once hoped to lead.

But in his briskly analytical way, over lunch and a subsequent phone call, he tried to explain why he “pulled the rip cord,” as he put it, after deepening estrangement with his father and brother and growing discomfort over the toxicity of Fox News and other conservative News Corp properties.

To read the full interview please see here.

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Maureen Dowd, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and author of three New York Times best sellers, became an Op-Ed columnist in 1995. In August 2014, she also became a writer for The Times Magazine.

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