If you find yourself at a loose end today and want to read 20,000 words worth of dynastic drama, you’re in luck: the New York Times Magazine has dropped a vast account of the drama, tensions and backstabbing behind Rupert Murdoch‘s companies and the future of his media empire.
There’s a lot to unpack here – much of which isn’t particularly new to those who are across the Murdoch story and its roots in Australia – but there’s still some juicy tidbits, including the (sometimes assumed) revelation that Rupert’s fall on a yacht last year nearly killed him:
Murdoch had fallen a couple of other times in recent years, once on the stairs while exiting a stage, another time on a carpet in a San Francisco hotel. The family prevented word from getting out on both occasions, but the incidents were concerning. This one seemed far more serious. Murdoch was stretchered off the Sarissa and flown to a hospital in Los Angeles. The doctors quickly spotted broken vertebrae, which required immediate surgery, as well as a spinal hematoma, increasing the risk of paralysis or even death. Hall called his adult children in a panic, urging them to come to California prepared to make peace with their father.
The piece took six months to write and involved interviews with 150 people.
The general vibe of the investigation is that there are deep tensions running through Murdoch’s family around what is going to happen when he inevitably dies, with his heir-apparent Lachlan Murdoch depicted as an extreme right-wing crusader who wants to keep his father’s political mission going, whereas his other son James is more moderate.
The death of the 88-year-old media king would, according to the NYT, “very possibly reorder the political landscape across the English-speaking world.”
Anyway, it’s definitely worth a read. At the very least it’s basically like a new and real season of Succession.