Proving he is far from Roman Roy on HBO’s Emmy-nominated media dynasty series, Rupert Murdoch’s youngest son on Wednesday circumspectly handled a slew of questions about his family and the new ground he’s staking out for himself. However, Murdoch did say he was “disappointed to see” longtime FNC anchor Shepard Smith leave the cable newser suddenly this month.
Clarifying that viewers have “to be careful not to go down rabbit holes” and “there’s plenty of stuff on Fox News I disagree with,” the former News Corp CEO ignored his previous statement that he doesn’t watch the Suzanne Scott-run outlet. He also added he found it “frustrating see how news organizations preach to the choir in these opinion shows.”
The longtime protector of his controversial and sharp-elbowed father then pivoted into a familiar role of pushing the spotlight off Fox and asserted that “I think you have to look at talk radio too and the reaction of general partisanship in the country.”
Half-jokingly calling his exit from the family business the “second scene of the first act, Murdoch sat with Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones in Beverly Hills for a chat that could have gone all Kendall but stayed away from the mines his host tried repeatedly to drag him into.
With the formal $71.3 billion acquisition by Disney of most of Fox earlier this year, Murdoch took his billions from the deal and set up venture firm Lupa Systems. On Wednesday, he claimed that he didn’t leave because he didn’t get a big job at Disney. He also said he “really wasn’t” interested in being Bob Iger’s successor at the House of Mouse. “The outside world wants you to fight in some corporate dog fight and that was no fun,” he stated, with no specific names — like his now Fox-ruling brother Lachlan — called out.
Having made initial investments in Vice Media and others via Lupa, Murdoch deflected any notion of return to the family fold. Long assumed to be the most liberal member of the clan, Murdoch even more openly spoke out in support of Pete Buttigieg’s Democratic candidacy and presidential aspirations. Noting that the low-polling South Bend, Indiana mayor “has composure, the character to handle some of the challenges,” Murdoch emphasized to the well-coiffed crowd that he believes a larger shift politically and culturally in America is in the offing.
“The generation that has been making decisions for a while now really hasn’t delivered,” he said.
In indirect response to the inevitable Succession question before it was asked by Jones, Murdoch unveiled his love of what he has seen so far of Season 2 of Fleabag, but “there are some shows you know you are never going to watch.”