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And it was of course Murdoch who imported it. Murdoch had watched enviously as his younger rival, Ted Turner, built his own cable news network, CNN. Bush, started their conservative competitor, Fox News, which catered to those Americans whose political preferences had gone unaddressed on television news. Another political favor was crucial. Giuliani — another future Trump adviser and a lion in the pages of The Post — publicly pressured the cable company as the two sides moved toward an eventual deal. A round-the-clock network with a virtual monopoly on conservative TV news, Fox conferred on Murdoch a whole new sort of influence that was enhanced by politically polarizing events like the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the post-Sept.
A study found that the introduction of the network on a particular cable system pushed local voters to the right: the Fox News Effect, as it became known.
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In a Pew Research poll, a majority of self-described conservatives said it was the only news network they trusted. Fifty years and an untold number of deals after taking possession of The News of Adelaide, Murdoch had arrived at the pinnacle of global influence.
But as he turned 75, and then 80, Murdoch, too, had declined to lay out a plan for the future of his empire. Initially he favored Lachlan, installing him as the general manager of one of his Australian newspaper chains at age 22 and overseeing his rise to the post of deputy chief operating officer of News Corp by age James, then the chief executive of British Sky Broadcasting — formerly Sky Television, later shortened to Sky — took over the mantle of heir apparent. But by the summer of , Murdoch, now 84, had changed his mind: James was out, and Lachlan was once again next in line.
James would report to him.
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James was livid. The two brothers and their father had explicitly discussed succession not even two years earlier. James was supposed to take over, and Lachlan would never assume more than a symbolic role. As James saw it, he had not only been promised the job; he had earned it. Angry and appalled, James threatened to quit, heading straight from lunch to the airport for a flight to Indonesia.
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Years ago, he was the family rebel, piercing his ears, dyeing his hair and having a light bulb tattooed on his right arm. As an undergraduate at Harvard, James flirted with becoming a medieval historian and joined the staff of The Harvard Lampoon before dropping out in to follow the Grateful Dead and start an independent hip-hop label, Rawkus Records, whose artists included Talib Kweli and Mos Def.
A year later, his father bought Rawkus and brought James into News Corp, ending his short-lived foray outside the family business. The constant sparring grew tiresome for Murdoch, who worried that Kathryn had too much influence over his younger son. He would often suggest to James that the two of them just go out to dinner alone when they needed to discuss something, according to a person close to Murdoch. A self-described political centrist, James saw the network as one of the biggest obstacles to his efforts to diversify and expand the company.
Lachlan identified closely with that charismatic founder. His father stuck to clay pigeons.