James Murdoch’s resignation from News International is perhaps a rather effective way of killing two birds with one stone.
In the ever continuing midst of last summer’s phone hacking scandal, the reputation of the company has failed to recover. It’s been just six months since the closure of leading title News of the World and daily hearings at the Leveson Inquiry never fail to keep the flame of accusations alive. It was only this week that speculations arose about the launch date of Murdoch’s new titles the Sun on Sunday; hurried to get on the shelves before a spate of high profile witnesses.
It perhaps seemed to some inevitable that someone would have to get the boot. And as today’s massive headline’s flash across news sites everywhere, you’d almost be forgiven for thinking the Murdochs have done just that. Yet of course if things were that simple, there would never have been phone hackings in the first place.
In a statement released today News International stressed the decision came after Mr Murdoch’s relocation to New York. He’ll still be working within the company, focusing instead on international business and pay to view TV. In fact he’ll also be keeping his role at the company’s parent group, News Corporation, arguably the more prestigious of his two positions.
When the Murdoch’s last appeared giving evidence together, the distinct impression was that James Murdoch was the one holding the ship together. Mr Murdoch Senior was portrayed by the media as unsure and forgetful, possibly a victim of old age; hardly a figure the public would want to condemn too harshly.
In stepping down from his UK role James Murdoch takes himself out of the limelight; he continues on working with News Corporation whilst giving the impression he’s standing down. Rupert Murdoch gets to stay exactly where he is without too much pressure. In fact it seems things are going rather well for the Murdochs.