ink-stained wretches

Rupert Murdoch and Robert Thomson: A Tale of the Tape

Murdoch and Thomson

Photo: Getty Images

You saw this coming a mile away: Robert Thomson, Rupert Murdoch’s right-hand man, will be running the newsroom at Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal after torturing old-line Journal believer Marcus Brauchli out of his managing editorship. What does Rupert see in Thomson? Not surprisingly, himself! With apologies to Murdoch’s Post, let’s go to the tape:

THOMSON: March 11, 1961
MURDOCH: March 11, 1931

Big Break:
THOMSON: Errand boy at the Herald, a Melbourne paper once edited by Sir Keith Arthur Murdoch.
MURDOCH: Working for News Limited, the media company owned by his father, Sir
Keith Arthur Murdoch.

Maternal Relations:
THOMSON: According to the Canberra Times, he “visits his mum in Melbourne’s St. Kilda once a year, with wife and kids in tow.”
MURDOCH: Frequently heads home to Melbourne to visit his mum, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch — most recently for her 99th birthday on February 8.

Marital Relations:
THOMSON: Married to Wang Ping, the daughter of a general in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
MURDOCH: Married to Wendi Deng, the daughter of a worker in the Chinese People’s Machinery Works.

Other Chinese Interests:
THOMSON: Co-author of The Chinese Army: An Illustrated History From The Long March to Tiananmen Square.
MURDOCH: Took BBC News off his Chinese TV network.

Fashion Statement:
THOMSON: Leather jackets when younger; retro, quasi-new-wave skinny ties today.
MURDOCH: No tie ever since Wendi, 38 years his junior, gave him a makeover.

Finance Statement:
THOMSON: Converted the Financial Times’ “How to Spend It” insert into posh luxury magazine.
MURDOCH: Spent $44 million on Fifth Avenue triplex.

Seinfeldian Shrinkage:
THOMSON: Shrunk Times of London from broadsheet to tabloid.
MURDOCH: Shrunk New York Post cover price from 50 cents to a quarter in attempt to drive Daily News into the ground.

Telling Pronouncement:
THOMSON: “There is a larger degree of energy and inventiveness among British newspapers, and a certain smugness and self-defeating self-satisfaction among too many U.S. newspapers.”
MURDOCH: “I’m Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire tyrant.” [Murdoch playing himself on The Simpsons].

Vacation Destination:
THOMSON: The Murdoch family ranch in California.
MURDOCH: The Murdoch family ranch in California.

Ruthlessness Quotient:
THOMSON: Threw his “good friend” (according to a Journal flack) Marcus Brauchli overboard at the WSJ at Rupert’s behest.
MURDOCH: From Clay Felker to Harry Evans to Hillary Clinton — and possibly even with his own son, Lachlan — he’s loyal till it makes more sense for him not to be.

Rupert Murdoch and Robert Thomson: A Tale of the Tape