Murdoch Son Gambles His Future in Phone Hacking Scandal

And News Corp hasn't reacted very aggressively
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2011 7:54 AM CDT
James Murdoch looks on during the Digital Life Design conference at HVB Forum on January 25, 2011 in Munich, Germany.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Like father, like son: If the phone-hacking scandal that shuttered the News of the World could take down Rupert Murdoch, it could just as easily spell the downfall of son James Murdoch, reports the New York Times in a look at the son who's angling to take over the family dynasty. James Murdoch led the charge to close the NotW, notes the Times, and could emerge from the scandal as News Corp's knight in shining armor—or the pampered son who botched the handling of the gravest crisis to hit his father's empire. “He has a very binary personality,” says one UK media watcher. “Love or hate."

The younger Murdoch's decision to close the NotW came seemingly overnight, but was in fact four months in the making, and was as much a cost-cutting measure as an effort to stem the scandal, insiders say. More pragmatic and less tabloid-fond than his father, James Murdoch is above all attempting to save News Corp's bid to take over BSkyB, which could seal the company's future. “This is a grand gesture,” says another watcher. “It’s trying to demonstrate that James is running a very different business—that things will change in the future.”

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