According to Sarah Ellison's new Vanity Fair story on the Murdoch clan, available in pdf form here, Rupert Murdoch's children hired a family counselor to help them work through the delicate issue of which one of them will wrestle News Corporation from their father's cold, dead embrace.

It's not easy being a Murdoch. Poor James had been the frontrunner to take over for dad one day, but now he's busy lying to parliament and destroying the newspapers that his father cherishes, so he may be on the outs. In fact, Ellison reports, Rupert briefly told James to take a leave of absence as the phone hacking charges piled up around them, but he swiftly reversed himself. His older brother Lachlan, having gotten out of the family business years ago after realizing that his father is a poisonous undermining tyrant, sits laughing at the mess from Australia, where he lives a nice laid-back life. And sister Elisabeth, who just got a $673 million allowance bump from papa's shareholders for her production company Shine, won't stop sniping about James' leadership even though she's too scared to take the job herself. They need help:

The siblings had been in family counseling with a psychologist over the issue of succession. They told James that if they worked together as siblings they could help him and their father have a better relationship, and that together the kids could hold Rupert to account to be a mentor to James and not undermine him, as he had done with Lachlan so many years before.

Can you imagine Rupert's disappointment at learning that his children had hired some poofter shrink to work out their issues? He spends years raising them to solve problems via ruthless backstabbing and outmaneuvering, and they decide to talk things out? Shame.

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