There is something excruciatingly little-boyish about Rupert Murdoch's 37-year-old son, James, who runs his father's companies in Europe and Asia. Seldom have I seen an adult so intently trying to mimic his father. On top of that, it's competitive--he doesn't just want to please, he wants to outdo. If it's something James thinks Rupert would say, he says it in even more absolute terms (and his father is nothing if not an absolutist).
The other day, Murdoch the younger delivered the McTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival. The speech, in which a media heavy lays down a new position or thesis or view of the world, is always a significant event in the British media year. It also marks James's coming of age. His father gave the McTaggart Lecture a decade ago. James, shortly after he became his father's Internet adviser during the dotcom boom, had given what's called the "alternative" McTaggart, a speech delivered by a media business curiosity (I gave the speech the year after James). James himself pointed out in his talk last week that this was the first time in the history of the McTaggart that an alternative had stepped up to be the main deal. He had, he wanted the world to know, arrived.
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