CNN’s ‘The Murdochs’ is a realistic ‘succession’ – and it’s no less exciting

He may be the most powerful media mogul in the world. His influence on world affairs is invaluable. In a new documentary series, Roger StoneOf all the people, they call him “the most ruthless businessman in the history of the world.” However, for the past four years at least, millions have been obsessed with his most obvious (and somewhat surprising) weakness: 91-year-old Rupert Murdoch seems unable to settle on an heir to control the empire he’s been building for the past. Seven decades.

The reason for this obsession, of course, is HBO’s cultural hegemony.”Succession‘, at least among the gossipers. Its creator, Jesse Armstrong, made sure to keep his show off the Murdoch family, claiming that these marvelously retarded ones were inspired by Many modern dynasties.

By contrast, the upcoming seven-part documentary “The Murdochs: Empire of Influence,” which appeared Sunday on CNN with a two-hour premiere, models themselves publicly after Drama sweeping Emmy. Will the future of Fox News – arguably the most important center of the mainstream conservative movement – be led by the eldest son and opponent of Lachlan Roger Ailes? his younger brother James, the ambitious but politically more moderate; Or their older sister Elizabeth, who is considered to be the most recognizable as Robert himself?

“The Murdochs” (Mur-doc?) features the horse racing between the three adult siblings, who share a mother-in-law to Anna Turf, Robert’s second wife. In a notable shift from “succession,” though, the Murdoch dynasty does not appear to be fatally inept, as the younger members of the royal family are. Facing one another, they proved themselves to be the sons of their father, in both business acumen and moral flexibility. But at varying points, they each try to distinguish themselves from their father, and much suspense lies in the way Robert plans to bring them back under his influence.

But the Murdochs don’t need the Roy family. The series is great enough on its own. Although the visuals are mostly drawn from old interviews, archival materials, and stock photos (replete with memories), they are so masterfully edited and divided with talking heads that you don’t feel the absence of people who chose not to participate. A lively summary of Robert’s unlikely career, the document alternates between action-packed anecdotes and insightful analyzes of the magnate’s MOs, as his champion for low-key tastes and Making deals with politicians Preparing to give him future services. More than once, he dumped his flesh and blood under the bus for the child he probably cherished most: his work.

“The Murdochs” feels like the product of CNN’s latest chapter in more ways than one. The documentaries were originally produced for their previous broadcast service, CNN Plus, who was killed Less than a month after launch. It’s also an unabashed tour of the scandals that have plagued the family – the kind that’s hard to imagine under the network’s current system, which has been indicated intent To move right after the Trump years.

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But the document is fair, even balanced. First, there is a lot of grudgingly admiring Robert’s business acumen. In the 1980s, deciding that the biggest competition for his newspapers was not newspaper competitors but television, so he set out to found a fourth television network—a feat no one in America had attempted in 30 years. At the time, no one thought that Fox would survive. Likewise, a horrific relative’s call for a kidnapping in London had tragic consequences – the one that implicated Anna and the headline “They took the wrong wife!” – He can’t help but generate sympathy for the family.

Despite this, Murdoch’s film is equally compelling about the ruthlessness of its namesake. The oldest assaults, like the time Robert alleged shooting engineering From more than 5,000 workers in the trade union newsroom in London in one fell swoop with the help of Margaret Thatcher, again worth a visit, as are the full accounts of recent disgrace, such as outrage UK phone hacking scandal Mid-first decade of the twenty-first century and early first decade of the twenty-first century.

For someone like Robert, “Mama[de] His family is the company, the business and his family,” in the words of one commentator, things became significantly more complicated for his potential successors when Robert left Anna and married Wendy Deng in 1999, with whom he has two more children. (Since the series premiere in March Robert has divorced his last wife, Jerry Hall).

Subsequent chapters wrestle with Fox News and Robert A volatile relationship with Donald Trump more familiar. But if there are fewer revelations, the perilous rivalry between siblings is keeping the momentum going. The document never gives a full sense of how lifelong efforts to persuade their father affect the children’s relationships with one another—by the way, a certain force of “succession.” These later installments finally give us some clue, as the Murdochs, like much of the Republican elite, seem to diverge in response to the rise of Trump — Lachlan Further to the right, James toward the center.

In the end, Robert appears to have found a solution to the dilemma that has haunted him for decades – one that ensures he will never have to choose among his children, while inviting them to see the best among them. But the document is perhaps best viewed not as a reflection of one man’s hesitation about his legacy, but as our collective distraction from the enormity of that terrible legacy.

Murdoch: Empire of Influence (1 hour) Premieres with episodes 1 and 2 on Sunday at 9 p.m. on CNN. New episodes aired weekly.

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