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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Left Needs to be Careful What it Wishes for in NewsCorp Scandal

It's been assumed for quite some time now that Rupert Murdoch's son, James Murdoch, is the heir apparent to the empire. At 80, Rupert's ability to lead the corporation is indeed increasingly finite. A disturbing reality prior to this scandal is the cozy relationship between James and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the same prince whose check was rejected by Rudy Guiliani in the days after 9/11. Increasingly, this scandal seems to be getting closer to James than it is to Rupert. The epicenter for the phone hacking scandal is in the UK.

In an article that appeared in the Guardian, significant doubt was raised about James Murdoch's ability to survive the scandal. Via The Guardian:
"The whole thing has been an absolute crisis management disaster," says the former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell. Max Clifford, another old hand at averting PR catastrophes, reflected an increasingly common view when he told this paper on Monday: "I get the feeling James Murdoch is out of his depth."
Last year, Diana West relayed another interesting quote from Alastair Campbell, who wrote about a visit James made to 10 Downing Street:
The elder “Murdoch was at one point putting the traditional very right-wing view on Israel and the Middle East peace process and James said that he was ‘talking f- nonsense.’ [Rupert] Murdoch said he didn’t see what the Palestinians’ problem was and James said that it was that they were kicked out of their f- homes and had nowhere to f- live,” Mr. Campbell recorded, adding that the News Corp. chairman was “very pro-Israel, very pro-Reagan.” ...
It would seem that the younger Murdoch may have a bit of a problem with anti-Semitism, which leads back to Saudi prince Talal, who appeared on Charlie Rose's show in January of 2010.

Here is an excerpt of bin Talal's interview with Charlie Rose:
CHARLIE ROSE: Is James Murdoch the successor to Rupert?

ALWALEED BIN TALAL: James is now managing Europe and Asia. And I don`t believe he appointed him yet, but frankly speaking, if he doesn`t appoint him, I`ll be the first one to nominate him to be the successor of Mr. Rupert Murdoch, god forbid if something happens to him.

CHARLIE ROSE: So he`s your candidate?

ALWALEED BIN TALAL: There`s no doubt, because I know him, I have full confidence in him, full trust in him, and he`s capable. He`s really Rupert Murdoch in the making, and he`s almost there now.

CHARLIE ROSE: That`s some kind endorsement coming from you.

ALWALEED BIN TALAL: No doubt. And I told Mr. Murdoch, if you don`t nominate him, I`ll nominate him, because, at the end of the day, Rupert Murdoch`s company is the only global company that covers over five continents.
There is growing sentiment that as this scandal explodes, James Murdoch could be one of its biggest casualties. In addition to Saudi Prince Talal standing to lose a substantial amount of wealth as the second largest shareholder at NewsCorp, he may have invested quite a bit into a future scenario in which James Murdoch takes over for Rupert.

There also seems to be a paper trail that allegedly includes cheques signed by James Murdoch that went to buying the silence of critics.

The Telegraph has more.

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