I’m sure there’s a downside, but it is kind of awesome that Rupert Murdoch is trying to buy Newsday. There are very few genuinely ambitious 77 year olds out there. Of course Rupert’s politics, to the extent they can be intuited from what appears on Fox News, are pretty dreadful. But as I remember from my Postie days, he’s super smart, able to process the implications of business choices far faster than most top executives. And fearless. Years ago he knew nothing about the internet, at one point asking me about my little AOL account. “Can you track a stock portfolio on it?” Yes sir, you can. Now he owns, what, MySpace and who knows what else.
If he can finesse the purchase of Newsday, he will own three of five New York City papers, and three of the nation’s top ten. This could well seem an unhealthy concentration of editorial control in the hands of one person. But even Rupert won’t live forever. That raises the interesting question–who will inherit the Murdoch properties? The betting favorite is his son James, now the head of News Corps European and Asian divisions.
James seems a bit of a rebel, a Harvard drop-out with interest in film who started a rap music label in the 1990’s. Judging from this very concerned story in New York Sun, he at least at one time had very un-Rupert like views on the Mideast. During a 2002 dinner with his father and Tony Blair, James reportedly said his father’s Mideast views were were “f——- nonsense” . When Rupert said he didn’t see what the Palestinians problem was, James said “‘it was that they were kicked out of their f—— homes and had nowhere to f——- live.'”
This is, to say the least, a different view of the Israel-Palestine situation than that now presented in the Journal’s or NY Post’s editorial pages. Personal and family ownership of the media can have curious and unanticipated consequences.