Elisabeth Murdoch called on television executives to abandon the “profit at all costs” approach her brother James Murdoch adopted at News Corp, delivering a speech that many see as her attempt to distance herself from the Murdoch family scandal.
Murdoch said in her address that profit without purpose will lead to ruin for the media, and that the phone hacking scandal that hurt her father Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp empire is evidence of that, Reuters reported.
“News (Corp) is a company that is currently asking itself some very significant and difficult questions about how some behaviours fell so far short of its values,” Elisabeth Murdoch said at the television industry’s MacTaggart lecture.
Though her words were intended to set her apart from her brothers, it is also being seen as her bid to prove that she could run News Corp more effectively.
“There’s only one way to look at this,” Elisabeth Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff told Reuters. “This is part of a strategic repositioning of Liz Murdoch within the media world, with the business world and within the family.”
Speaking before the assembly of top-ranking executives, she drew applause for saying that one of the biggest lessons of the past year is the need for any organization to discuss, affirm and institutionalize a rigorous set of values based on an explicit statement of purpose.”
Elisabeth Murdoch has been a successful television producer, but was passed over for top posts at News Corp. for brothers Lachlan and James. The company was rocked by scandal last year when it was revealed that journalists at News of the World had hacked the voicemails of a number of people, including crime victims.
Elisabeth Murdoch’s remarks were bold and followed up on comments she made last year that “James and Rebekah [Brooks] f—ed the company,” The Daily Beast reported.
She also used the speech to pick apart her brother’s platform and approach, the report noted. James Murdoch delivered the MacTaggart lecture in 2009, and in doing so ripped the BBC for providing a state-sponsored approach to news. Elisabeth Murdoch instead chose to praise the BBC‘s outgoing director.
Then Elisabeth Murdoch turned for a more direct attack, recalling James Murdoch’s argument that “the only direct and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit.”
“He left something out,” Elisabeth Murdoch said. “Profit without purpose is a recipe for disaster.”