The prospect of a telephone call from Rupert Murdoch is enough to turn even the most battle-hardened politician, journalist, or globe-trotting businessman into a useless, quivering wreck.
Imagine, then, the lifetime of potential misery that must result from being expected to exchange small-talk with the plutocratic newspaper baron – still, after all these years, many-a-pundit's "most powerful man on Earth" – on an almost daily basis.
That is the fate that has befallen the 26 individuals listed below, whose numbers turn out to have been installed on the speed-dial buttons of Murdoch's personal office telephone.
Their names have come to light thanks to Murdoch's generous donation of his recently-used "blower" (above) to the Newseum, a massive new museum of the modern media which opened last week in Washington DC.
The phone offers us the ultimate media "power list": there are few greater claims to a seat at Mr Murdoch's high table (aside, perhaps, from being one of his 'top friends' on MySpace, the mogul's global social networking site) than being considered of sufficient importance to be contactable with just one poke of his index finger, in a scene reminiscent of our main picture.
So, what of the lucky 26? On speed dial, of course, is James Murdoch, Rupert's cool-headed heir-apparent and head of News Corporation's European and Asian operations, together with his more volatile elder son Lachlan, and London-based daughter Elisabeth, now an international broadcasting player herself. Rupert's third and current wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, is the only other female to feature.
More interesting, to Kremlinologists of the 77-year-old's global empire, are the non-familial entries. There are the giants of Planet Murdoch, such as Peter Chernin, the president and chief operating officer of News Corp, Jim Giannopoulos, the president of 20th Century Fox Films, and Tom Rothman, the chairman and CEO, of Fox Filmed Entertainment.
There, too, is Les Hinton, the Liverpool-born former chairman of News International (owners of The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and the News of the World), who was recently asked by Murdoch to become CEO of Dow Jones, which owns The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Politicians, however, are invisible. A "David Hill" is listed but it is an American broadcasting executive, rather than the former Downing Street communications chief. Murdoch has a hotline to Australian-born Robert Thomson, editor of The Times when this speed dial list is believed to have been compiled in 2005, now publisher of the WSJ. But though Col Allan, editor of the mass tabloid New York Post, is there, his British equivalent, Rebekah Wade, the editor of The Sun, is notable only by her absence.
*Roger Ailes: President, Fox News Channel
*Col Allan: Editor, New York Post
*David Hill: President of Direct TV
*Tarak Ben Anmar: Tunisian financier/movie producer
*Mark Booth: CEO, BSkyB
*Chase Carey (both in Los Angeles and New York): President-CEO, DirecTV
*Peter Chernin: President-Chief Operating Officer, News Corp
*Preston Beckman: Executive Vice-President for strategic planning, Fox
*David Devoe, Chief Financial Officer, News Corp.
*Jim Giannopoulos: President, 20th Century Fox Films
*Gary Ginsberg: Executive Vice-President, News Corp.
*Les Hinton: Chairman, News International; now CEO, Dow Jones
*James Murdoch (twice)
*Lawrence "Lon" Jacobs: Senior Executive Vice President/Group General Counsel, News Corp
*Mark Jung: former CEO of IGN
*Peter Levinsohn, former Fox President of Digital Media, current head of Fox Interactive Media
*Jon Nesvig: President of Sales, Fox Broadcasting
*Tom Rothman: Co-Chairman, Fox Filmed Entertainment
*Ross Levinsohn: former President, Fox Interactive Media
*Peter Liguori: President, Fox Broadcasting Company
*Robert Thomson: Publisher, Wall Street Journal; former editor, The Times
*Wendi Deng Murdoch
*Tony Vinciquerra: President-CEO, Fox Networks Group
*Jeremy Phillips: SVP, Office of the Chairman, News CorpReuse content