Sunday 17 November 2019

Murdoch's daughter lobbied for brother to go

Ian Burrell in London

Elisabeth Murdoch has admitted that she lobbied for her brother James to be demoted at the family's News Corp media empire over his handling of the phone-hacking scandal, a day after she publicly criticised him over his approach to business.

Ms Murdoch (44) told delegates at the Edinburgh International Television Festival that she had lobbied "within closed doors" for James to stand down from his role as executive chairman of News International. She agreed that she had been "quite forceful" in insisting that James should "take a step back".

She also lobbied for News International's chief executive and her friend, Rebekah Brooks, to resign.

The latest comments, during a question and answer session at the festival, follow Ms Murdoch's criticisms of her brother during her James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture on Thursday night.

That attack was widely seen as an attempt to distance herself from James and to position herself for a bigger role within News Corp, where James is deputy chief operating officer and had until recently been widely seen as the heir to their 81-year-old father Rupert.

James Murdoch delivered the MacTaggart Lecture in 2009, when he attacked the ambition of the BBC and to claim that profit was the only guarantor of independence in business.

His sister rebutted the theory -- saying it was a "recipe for disaster" -- and went out of her way to praise the leadership of the BBC.

Although she described James as an "incredibly able" media executive yesterday, the fact she pushed for him to stand down gives an indication of her position within the family and News Corp.

But Ms Murdoch, who returned to the family business in May, yesterday explicitly rejected the notion that she wanted to run News Corp. "I really harbour no ambition for the top job," she said.

She also used her MacTaggart speech to express her admiration for her father and spoke of the pain at watching him give evidence to British MPs.

"I love him. We have a normal father-daughter relationship." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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