Sons of Rupert Murdoch Get Expanded Roles

Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch at an event on March 11 in Beverly Hills, Calif.Getty Images

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch elevated his two sons, Lachlan and James, to senior roles within 21st Century Fox Inc., FOXA -1.35% signaling both are likely to play a role in the long-term future of the Murdoch family-controlled entertainment company.
21st Century Fox named Lachlan Murdoch, 42 years old, as nonexecutive co-chairman, alongside his father, who is chairman and chief executive.
The company simultaneously promoted James Murdoch, 41, to be co-chief operating officer, alongside current COO and president Chase Carey. James Murdoch, who was previously deputy COO and chairman and CEO, International, will continue to report to Mr. Carey.

Lachlan Murdoch on Wednesday also was named nonexecutive co-chairman at News CorpNWSA -1.90% the print media concern that separated from 21st Century Fox last June and retained the old name of the original conglomerate. News Corp owns The Wall Street Journal.
The appointments come a couple of weeks after the elder Mr. Murdoch turned 83. Mr. Murdoch and his family have effective control of both News Corp and 21st Century Fox, through voting stakes of 39.4% in each company.
The appointments return Lachlan Murdoch to a more formal role at the family's business empire nine years after he quit his executive role at News Corp. and relocated to Sydney, Australia. But the near term practical significance may be greater for his brother James, reinforcing his operational role within 21st Century Fox.
21st Century Fox said Fox Networks Group, which includes Fox broadcast network, FX and Fox Sports, would now report to James Murdoch. He will also have "direct responsibility" for the development of 21st Century Fox's interests in "the pay-television Sky and Star services in Europe and Asia," the company said.
In recent years James Murdoch came under criticism, including from the U.K. communications regulator, for his handling of phone-hacking allegations at News Corp's U.K. newspaper unit, where he was executive chairman. While James and his father faced questioning by a U.K. parliamentary committee, neither has been accused of any wrongdoing.
A spokesperson for 21st Century Fox, speaking on behalf of James Murdoch, declined to comment.
The day-to-day impact of Lachlan Murdoch's appointment is less clear. He was already a director of both 21st Century Fox and News Corp.
21st Century Fox said he would split his time between Sydney and New York.
The appointment suggests he will be more engaged with the Murdoch family's business empire, which encompasses television networks, a film studio, cable channels and newspapers around the world.
21st Century Fox said Lachlan Murdoch "will work closely with senior management and the rest of the 21st Century Fox board in developing global strategies and guiding the overall corporate agenda."
Under Australian regulations, Lachlan Murdoch was required to step down from the board of Australian broadcaster Ten Network Holdings Ltd. TEN.AU -1.85% to become nonexecutive co-chairman at News Corp and 21st Century Fox, according to a person familiar with the matter. He owns about 9% of Ten Network.
21st Century Fox is in the process of negotiating the renewal of Mr. Carey's contract, which expires this June. A spokesperson for 21st Century Fox said the company was "confident" the new contract "will be completed shortly."
Mr. Carey wasn't available for comment on the contract talks.
—Amol Sharma
contributed to this article.
Write to Peter Evans at peter.evans@wsj.com

Perry: ‘Time for a Little Rebellion’

By Andrew Johnson

Texas governor Rick Perry broke through as a serious presidential hopeful Friday with a spirited speech to a cheering crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Perry brought the audience to its feet with a call to bring the successful conservative policies of red state governors to the national level.

Perry took jabs at targets including New York, California, and the Department of Education, noting that common-sense governance has been absent not only from blue states but from Washington, D.C.

“It’s time for a little rebellion on the battlefield of ideas,” the Texas governor said, paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson.

“We don’t have to accept recent history — we just need to change the presidency,” Perry continued. “We must elect the right kind of leaders to represent us to Washington.”

While left-leaning states face worsening economies, Perry pointed to the progress in Republican-led states such as South Carolina, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Florida.

“Let’s take a red state. Shoot, let’s take Texas,” Perry said to cheers and laugher, before using his favorite U-Haul example: It costs more to rent a truck to go from San Francisco to Austin than vice versa.

A fired-up CPAC crowd cheered as Perry told them they deserved better than the Obama administration’s recent foreign-policy failures and ongoing economic woes. The longest-serving governor in Texas history even took a shot at the U.S. Postal Service: “Deliver the mail, do it on time and, heck, do it on Saturdays.”

“My fellow conservatives, the future of this nation is upon you — it belongs to you,” he shouted over roaring applause.

2014 will be 'Year of God'

On March 2, 2014, Drudge Report editor and Washington Times columnist, Joseph Curl, wrote of how the strain of five years of worrying under the leadership of President Obama have knocked Americans to their knees in prayer. Curl predicted,"2014 is going to be the year of God." He thinks,"Maybe, it's about time."
According to Peggy Noonan, Matt Drudge, Curl's employer, revealed the best thing about 2013 was: "It's the year I discovered prayer. It changed my life."
Curl donned his columnist hat, writing of how the seeds of insecurity and despair sown by Obama are now bearing a rare fruit, Hollywood "God movies."
"God is making a comeback, and so are the Bible, faith, and religion," explained Curl, in his article, speculating that many of the problems the Drudge Report has headlined in the last five years are a possible reason.
The economy is worse, not better. All those 20-somethings whom millions of Americans have been putting through college the past half-decade are moving back home. Obamacare is turning into Obamascare; no one feels safe, secure anymore. [There is] not much hope for 'hope and change.'
Curl found some comfort in the faith movies and films, current and in the working, that reflects a Hollywood investment as people move towards God because "people are looking for some sort of meaning" because "Obama hasn't panned out." He also gave a nod towards "Duck Dynasty," using a photo of Willie Robertson for the news photo going with his analysis while stopping short of crediting the popular Robertson family with sparking a grudging acknowledgment of godliness in entertainment.
His report mentioned some films which have already caused controversial Drudge Report headlines, plus others which may cause their own share of outrage in time:
Curl isn't the only Drudge Report editor to negatively tie religion and the Obama administration together. Charles Hurt, who is by far the firebrand of the Drudge Report trio, which includes founder Matt Drudge and Joseph Curl, took on Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative, undeniably a title considered by some to be a shameless play on biblical scriptures.
According to the White House, Obama plans to work with businesses, foundations and others for the specific benefits of his black brothers, "to make sure that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential."
Hurt suggested Obama was arrogant and his initiative was "lunacy," for daring to ignore the plight of all American brothers, including Republican brothers, to focus only on his black brothers. Additionally, Hurt suggested it was the height of hypocrisy for Obama to sermonize to others, to launch a "goofy federal program to help our brothers," when Obama's own half-brother was living in the slums of Kenya, struggling with an alcohol and drug addiction, even as Obama spoke.
Hurt also pointed to a well-publicized Drudge headline about a coalition of black pastors who have launched a petition drive to get a million signatures to have Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. removed from office for pushing a gay-marriage agenda on states. Apparently, Hurt feels if those pastors think the Obama administration has been faithful to either their religious brothers or the Bible, there wouldn't be a need for a petition drive.
Matt Drudge, the news headline guru of the Drudge Report, arguably shares Curl's view that God's popularity is rising leaving Hollywood little choice but to gather under the revival tent . In August, Drudgequipped on Twitter, "'Duck Dynasty' now country's top TV show!! God and guns and fishing? Everyone keeps their clothes on? I'm confused..."

'Noah' Banned in Several Middle Eastern Countries

by Pamela McClintock

Censor boards in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have informed Paramount they will not release the Biblical epic, which begins its global rollout later this month.

Darren Aronofsky's Noah -- inspired by the Biblical story of Noah's ark -- is starting to come under fire in the Middle East for contradicting Islamic law by portraying a prophet.
On Thursday, censorship boards in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates informed Paramount they will not allow the release of the film. Similar rulings are expected in Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait, according to Paramount insiders.
In Egypt, the leading Sunni Muslim institute Al-Azhar issued a statement on Thursday condemning the Paramount movie, saying it should be banned in that country.
“Al-Azhar renews its rejection to the screening of any production that characterizes Allah’s prophets and messengers and the companions of the Prophet [Muhammad],” the statement read. “Therefore, Al-Azhar announces the prohibition of the upcoming film about the Allah’s messenger Noah -- peace be upon him.”
Al-Azhar said any such film is “contrary to faith and to the fundamentals of the Islamic Sharia [law]," adding that such movies antagonize the "feelings of the faithful."
Paramount insiders say the studio knew going in that Noah could face issues in Muslim countries.
Noah is tentatively scheduled to open in Egypt on March 26, two days before its launch in the U.S., where it also has come under fire from some church leaders for its dark portrayal of Noah, played byRussell Crowe.
In a gesture of goodwill toward religious groups, Paramount agreed last week to alter the marketing materials for Noah to make clear that it is a creative rather than a literal adaptation of the Bible story.
Noah also stars Anthony HopkinsEmma WatsonJennifer ConnellyDouglas Booth,Logan Lerman and Ray Winstone.