James Murdoch, News Corp.’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer, will appear before Parliament for a second time Thursday to answer questions about the phone hacking scandal that has rocked his father Rupert’s vast media empire.
If the last few weeks of press are any indication, Murdoch’s status at the company is in jeopardy.
There was the New York Times piece on a rift between Rupert and James and the uncertainty surrounding the octogenarian Chairman and CEO’s succession plan.
Also Read: Will Another Murdoch Ever Run News Corp.?
There was the Vanity Fair article on the turmoil roiling the entire family, prompting family therapy sessions.
There was the New York Magazine story on Elisabeth Murdoch’s role and the possibility she is positioning herself to supplant James as the next in line.
The list goes on.
Since James first appeared before Parliament besides his father in July, a long trail of evidence has emerged suggesting James was not truthful in his testimony.
At the time, Murdoch said he was unaware of the extent of hacking, repeating what many said before him – they thought it was the act of one rogue reporter, royal editor Clive Goodman.
But a pair of Murdoch’s former employees soon emerged, saying that Murdoch had seen the infamous “for Neville” email, which demonstrated that hacking was widespread at the News of the World, the now-defunct British tabloid at the center of the scandal.
Their testimony, along with the near-constant stream of new allegations and victims, led Parliament to recall Murdoch.
Since then, troves of internal documents have been released suggesting that senior people at News International, News Corp.'s U.K. publishing division, were aware of the extent of hacking.
James’s potential involvement in all of this is bound to be a subject of discussion on Thursday. In his post as Chairman CEO of News Corp. Europe & Asia, he oversaw News International.
He is all but certain to survive the testimony without losing his job — as he did News Corp.'s recent shareholder's meeting — but all the blows are taking their toll on his status and reputation within the company.