Saturday, May 18, 2024

Still Imitating “Godfather II,” James Murdoch, aka Michael Corleone, Helps Family Go Legit


You do remember that in one of the greatest epics ever made, The Godfather Part 2, Michael Corleone is trying to make his crime family go legit. They’re going to leave New York and the Mafia, and own Las Vegas casinos, and never mention Sonny or the bridge again. No one will remember the murders, the mayhem, or any of the terrible crimes committed by the Corleones in the bad old days.

So, too, comes James Murdoch, the Michael of the Murdochs. Rupert Murdoch vs. Don Corleone? There’s a resemblance, certainly. Now the Murdochs got rid of 20th Century Fox, cashed in their chips, and “retired” Murdoch from Twitter and active public life.

But there was Rupert yesterday, reportedly meeting with Attorney General Barr, Donald Trump’s henchman. Hours later Fox News– which the Murdochs held onto– carried another moronic Trump rally. But this time they didn’t cut away, as in the recent past. Our own Attorney General made sure of it. (Things are now so much worse than Nixon, John Mitchell, etc.)

James, meantime, has taken his money from the 20th Century Fox sale and started an investment fund. This is the same James who was at the center of the hacking scandal with his father and Rebecca¬† a few years ago in London. You remember the hacking scandal, yes? Phones of celebrities and private people were hacked into by Murdoch employees, and “scoops” were unveiled in News of the World. The paper is gone now, a lot of people were fired, and James– er, Michael– moved to the US full time to become a media mogul.

So Lupa Systems– Lupa being wolf as opposed to Fox– the fund, has just bought into Vice Media. It’s the latest move in James’s bid to have the Murdochs go legit. A few months ago, he bought into the Tribeca Film Festival; we’ll be seeing James, all new and improved, at the opening next April. He’s also reportedly bought into a comic book company run by ex-Marvelites. What’s next? Vanity Fair? Conde Nast will sell it to him, believe me, or welcome him as an investor.

Of course, Michael Corleone’s story ends badly in Part 2. He has his brother, Fredo, killed (is that Lachlan?). His ex wife hates him. If you believe in Part 3, things just get worse. (I pretend Part 3 doesn’t exist.)

We’re only a matter of months before the NY Times has a serious piece on James. In today’s story about the Vice Media purchase, no mention was made of the hacking scandal. Some PR genius has done their job well.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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