August 19, 2011

What If Rupert Murdoch Had Been Captain of the Titanic?

Filed under: Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 7:11 am


July 20, 2011

The Day of the Low Crust: Notes on the Demise of the Murdoch Media Empire

Fox’s new reality TV series “Murdoch & Son” premiered July 19th with a 2-hour debut featuring the ‘Old Man’ Rupert Murdoch testifying (but not under oath) and answering questions with his son James before a committee of the British Parliament. While there were occasional moments of hilarity, such as Rupe — a billionaire known for micromanaging his global media empire to the extent that he has fired low-level employees in remote outposts for minor offenses — claiming he had no idea what the top officers of his corporation were up to because, well, he was just so busy doing something else. James himself made impassioned, if preposterous, pleas of his boneheaded ignorance of crimes committed before his very eyes, but he couldn’t match Dad on the giggle-meter. The question is, will audiences believe this kind of broad farce that seems more scripted than real, and Rupert’s declarations that he’s been humbled, and that he is happy to accept the blame as long as there aren’t any consequences? Moreover, will anyone buy Rupe’s logic that, after confessing he was blind to everything happening in his organization, including large payouts for lawsuits involving illegal hacking and arrests of prominent reporters, he is just the man to put things right? That requires a brand of faith available only to those who also worship a Flying Spaghetti Monster as creator of the universe.

Following “Murdoch & Son” we were greeted by the one-hour kick-off of “Rebekah with a ‘K’,” a reality-pod nod to the classic Mary Tyler Moore/His Girl Friday ‘woman in a screwball newsroom’ genre. The plot: henna-haired post-feminist Rebekah Brooks finally lands the editor’s job at one of the world’s largest-circulation newspapers but, once she’s achieved her ambition, her underlings hilariously sabotage her future as they engage in wrongdoing behind her back. Forced to resign and ultimately arrested for their criminal behavior, Rebekah fights back in the only way she knows how — by alluding she was unfit for her high-powered position by dint of her extraordinary obliviousness and neglect. In this writer’s opinion, Fox made a blunder by unveiling this show in the same ‘testifying before Parliament’ format as “Murdoch & Son,” and it shows a real lack of imagination that the producers saddled her with the same sort of incredible excuses used by Rupert and James. Still, the contents of a laptop computer, some personal papers, and a cell phone ‘accidentally’ disposed of in a trash bin near Rebekah’s house and traced to her husband may render enough surprises in future episodes to keep viewers coming back.


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