Saturday, June 15, 2024

Murdoch Divorce: Silence in the British Press as Usually Aggressive Tabloids Back Off


What is that sound you hear coming from the British press concerning the fourth divorce of Rupert Murdoch? Blaring headlines about infidelity, crazy drinking, wild over spending?

Nope, the sound you hear is silence.

I was interviewed for a big piece that was supposed to run on Sunday in a British paper. I’ve just received notice that it’s been “spiked.” The tabloids, even the ones not owned by Murdoch, are scared of libel laws and retribution from the 91 year old liver spotted addled purveyor of tripe. No one wants to start trouble.

Here in New York, the Post, of course, won’t say a word. And the Daily News, well, it’s not the old Daily News. They don’t even have a newsroom and no one is running it anyway. The New York Observer has been whittled down to a website for people who find it by accident. This is a low point in New York media. (And what happened to the revived Village Voice. Did it ever come back?)

Maybe Graydon Carter’s Air Mail will do something. His old magazine, Vanity Fair, is moribund. New York Magazine? If only. The National Enquirer? Are they still in business?

This is what I hear about the Murdoch divorce. Friends were genuinely surprised by the news. It’s unlikely anyone’s cheating. It’s more likely this is a real world version of “Succession,” which is a send up of the Murdochs anyway. The four elder children didn’t want Jerry Hall involved in their father’s eventual estate when he died. So why not pay her out now, and off she goes? So what if Rupert is lonely? They’ll find someone for him. Hall is quiet because she did better than her prenup would have allowed, and now she’s done with elder care. She’s 65, maybe she signed a deal not to write a book for 10 years.

But my oh my. If this were a normal high profile couple there would have been a week of front pages. And now all we have are tumbleweeds.

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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