Sunday, February 12, 2012

#MurdochMafia : The Rise And Fall Of James Murdoch

by Michael Wolff

The unlikely heir apparent to Rupert's empire, the family's black sheep was still embraced by eager execs as 'the real deal'. But before he could be crowned, the hacking scandal broke, Sky caved in and his powerbase disintegrated. These humiliations are only the beginning, says GQ's man in the court of News Corp

The last time I saw James Murdoch in person - some time after my biography of his father had ruffled Murdoch family feathers, and quite before he became one of the most besieged figures in

Britain - was in an uncomfortable passageway in the Minetta Tavern, the hot restaurant in Greenwich Village, New York. I had the lesser table in the passageway and James, coming from the better room and followed by a small retinue, was stalled directly in front of me. "It's you," he said, when acknowledging me became unavoidable. "F***."

With flickering eyes and enlarging neck vein, he seemed to be calculating whether to let me have it. "James, this is my son, Steven," I said, in an effort to deflect his anger and, just in case, to throw my 6'2" 18-year-old between us. James, a father, too, composed himself, extended his hand to Steven and dutifully became charming.

As it happens, James holds a particular place in my son's heart, because once, in the dotcom Nineties, James had been asked about my criticism of the internet strategy that he, in his mid-twenties, had been charged with leading at News Corp and had (in GQ's pages, as it happens) characterised me, much to my then seven-year-old son's delight, as an "obnoxious d***head", which my son now merrily reminded him of.

"I don't think I said that," said James, the annoyance again more