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Friday, December 07, 2007 

Not a relinquishing of control.

Nick Robinson surmises that today's game of musical chairs in the Murdoch empire means even more bad news for poor old Gordon. According to Robinson, son of the Dirty Digger James doesn't hold the same level of apathy towards Cameron as his father does, meaning that with his ascension it becomes ever more likely that the 40% of the newspaper market that News International controls will be supporting the Tories.

Not so. Anyone who believes that Murdoch's standing aside means that he's taking himself out of the situation entirely in favour of his son hasn't been paying much attention to how Murdoch runs his newspapers. For decades his stance has long been to stay in the shadows, claiming that he doesn't interfere, while doing just that and also levering such control over his editors that they don't have to be corrected: they know instinctively what their boss expects. Installing James Murdoch as the new head of News Corp in Europe and Asia is a logical move by Murdoch as he seeks to swiftly impose his values upon the Wall Street Journal, which is why his most trusted lieutenants in the shape of Times editor Robert Thomson and executive chairman of News International Les Hinton are going with him, to ensure that the resistance shown by some of the hacks on the American paper will be swiftly crushed. The only real surprise is that he hasn't gone even further with his nepotism and swiftly promoted his gorgeous pouting wife Wendi Deng, currently head of MySpace China, to head News Corp in Asia, instead conservatively giving James both jobs.

Murdoch's concentration on America certainly won't stop him from personally deciding who to support at the next election. In the words of Andrew Neil, who knows a thing or two about how Murdoch operates, all that he's done is change the monkey. The organ grinder is still firmly in place.

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