Political Scene: Murdoch’s Spouting Dam


How does Rupert Murdoch feel today? “I’m imagining he feels, just based on the daily breaking stories, like he’s watching a dam with holes spouting out, and he doesn’t have enough fingers to close it,” Ken Auletta says on this week’s Political Scene podcast. The phone-hacking scandal has already forced News Corp. to shutter the News of the World and withdraw its bid for British Sky Broadcasting, and will likely gain further steam when Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks appear before Parliament next week. Auletta, who is joined on the podcast by John Cassidy and Lauren Collins, calls the developments a threat to the Murdoch family’s “whole notion of political invincibility.”

But by Murdoch’s telling, Auletta says, that pariah status is nothing new.

He went to Oxford, yet he calls himself an outsider. He’s a billionaire, yet he calls himself an outsider. He’s a maker of Presidents and Prime Ministers, yet he calls himself an outsider. It’s one of the curious things about him that he’s fuelled by this sense that he is an outcast, he is an outsider, he’s not a member of the establishment … but, God, you can’t be more inside than Rupert Murdoch in British, or Australian, or, today, in American politics.