Dial M for Murdoch

Forget Cowboys & Aliens and blast away Captain America.  Green Lantern, your green is fading.  I’ve given up looking for Casey Anthony, and Lindsay Lohan’s house arrest is so boring, I’d rather listen to Speaker of the House John Boehner talk about raising the debt ceiling. Oh yeah, we’re still in trillions of dollars of debt right?  None of it holds a candle to the greatest summer blockbuster of 2011.  I’m speaking of course of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation phone hacking scandal.

If I had to pitch this story to HBO as a mini-series I’d call it, “Murdochalypse: King Lear meets Citizen Kane.”  Who could resist?  After all, this story has it all: an aging patriarch who’s empire is slowly crumbling.  His heirs, James, Elisabeth, and Lochlan, jockey for control, all while stepmother Wendi waits in the wings to left hook any usurpers.  Allegations fly in the media of Murdoch’s News of the World hacking phones of 9/11 victims, celebrities, and a thirteen year-old girl!  When Murdoch is called on trial by Parliament he looks dumbfounded on how he even got there.  He calls the hearings “the most humble day of my life.”  Enter the Fool, stand up comedian Jonathan May-Bowles who (almost) pies Murdoch in the face during his hearing.  After being arrested and charged, May-Bowles parrots Murdoch calling the arrest “the most humble day of my life.”  This isn’t a media circus, this is a media extravaganza, and it’s just the first act.

How will the tragedy of Murdoch end?  As pointed out by other journalists, Parliament is on hold, and James Murdoch may be arrested for his complicity in the NOTW scandal.  The US Justice Department is preparing an investigation into the 9/11 hackings, and Piers Morgan’s testimony has recently been called into question.  Michael Wolff, writer for AdWeek, offered a prophesy of doom, “Rupert, the Houdini of so many business escapes, isn’t, obviously, the master of this one.”  Is Murdoch King Lear?  Does he call his three heirs to his side to ask which one loves him most?  Will he walk among the heath of the Hamptons, slowly losing his mind, as he looks for the remains of News Corp. that slipped through his fingers?  Or will Murdoch’s end come with a simple sigh, “Kanga,” he’ll say, as a stuffed kangaroo slips from his grasp onto the teak floor, in a dramatic close-up shot à la Charles Foster Kane.

If I’m being overly dramatic you’ll have to excuse me.  I haven’t been this excited about a news story in quite some time.  The actor in me is coming out and I wish I would’ve capitalized on this for the Philly Fringe Festival.  Alas!  On a final note, Horizon Media CEO Bill Koenigsberg called the scandal, “the sexy story of the month.”  I’d have to agree.  This summer I’ll be engrossed in the juicy details of the phone hackings and the Tragedy of Rupert Murdoch.

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