Ascension of the Conservative Murdoch Son Ensures New Fox Will Be a Lot Like Old Fox

Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Lachlan Murdoch will be the CEO and chairman of the so-called “new Fox” company that forms after the current iteration sells off much of its entertainment assets to the Walt Disney Company, the company said in a statement Wednesday. Rupert Murdoch will serve as co-chairman with his eldest son, and Fox’s current CFO John Nallen will assume the role of chief operating officer.

The statement made no mention of current 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, an apparent confirmation of prior reports that said he would not be a part of the new Fox. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that James has designs on “starting a venture-capital fund to invest in digital and international media businesses.”

“He views himself as an operator,” a friend of the 45-year-old told the WSJ. “Picking businesses, mentoring business, and running businesses is what he does.”

Once Disney’s $52.4 billion bid for Fox’s Hollywood properties goes through, provided it can fend off Comcast, new Fox will be comprised primarily of TV assets, including the Fox News Channel and Fox Sports. The new company’s focus on news and sports, “Lachlan’s great passions,” according to The New Yorker, made him an obvious choice to lead the new Fox.

His conservative politics, which are reportedly much more in line with his father’s than James’s more progressive leanings, probably didn’t hurt either. While Lachlan and Rupert are generally satisfied with Fox News, James is privately “embarrassed” by it, the Times reports.

James and his progressive-minded wife, Kathryn, have long been embarrassed by certain elements of Fox News, associates said, while Lachlan’s views of the network have been more in line with his father’s. 

That difference came into focus last summer when James sent an email to an anonymous list of recipients that criticized President Trump for his response to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. “I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists,” he wrote. “Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.”

With Lachlan Murdoch’s Ascension, New Fox to Be Like Old Fox