Maureen Dowd, James Murdoch, and Fried Calamari: “It was time to get out of the Faustian deal.”

From a Sunday Styles story by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times headlined “James Murdoch, Rebellious Scion”:

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. . . .

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. . . .

When Rupert, the chairman of the company, decided to run the network himself, the writing was on the wall. Rupert and Mr. Trump stepped up their dangerous tango and James, those who know him say, eventually decided it was time to get out of his Faustian deal. . . .

Mr. Murdoch’s friends describe him as “happy as a clam,” “giddy” and far more relaxed now that he has shaken off the King Lear machinations he has dealt with his whole life, as his father pitted the siblings against each other for the golden crown.


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