CNN and The New York Times are about to take on a political and journalistic competitor: They are collaborating on a documentary series on Rupert Murdoch, according to Bloomberg.
The unannounced project will be overseen by Jonathan Mahler and Jim Rutenberg, writers of a New York Times Magazine article on the Murdoch media empire, reports Bloomberg, quoting an anonymous source.
MediaPost was unable to independently confirm the report at press time.
Assuming it is true, the question is whether Murdoch will still be in power when the series is launched in the expected time frame of 2022. He reportedly will celebrate his 90th birthday on Thursday.
The Murdoch camp could no doubt raise issues of fairness, depending on how the docu-series is framed.
Commentary in the Murdoch properties, from The Wall Street Journal to Fox and the New York Post, is conservative, often far-right. In contrast, The Times has a liberal bent in editorials, and CNN has been up front about its antipathy to the Trump administration.
Last week, Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son, the man widely viewed as a possible heir apparent, appeared at a Morgan Stanley conference. Murdoch said the Biden administration is good for his company’s business, and that its job is to be in “the loyal opposition,” as a center-right media entity.
He added that MSNBC had prospered by taking on the role of loyal opposition during the Trump administration, a contention the cabler might contest.
MSNBC responded: "Our role, and the role of any legitimate news organization -- whether it includes an 'opinion section' or not -- is to hold power to account, regardless of party,” according to CNN.
Given the political context and Murdoch’s swashbuckling career, starting in Australia when he was 21, it should be a colorful series.