Tag Archive: News Corp

Jul 19 2011

“Bury Your Mistakes”

The problem with Rupert Murdoch’s “philosophy” is that eventually something starts to “smell” really bad and they start digging. The more they dig, the more bodies they find. Like peeling an onion.

David Carr, “Media Equation” columnist for The New York Times, taks with Rachel Maddow about the News Corps record of unethical bullying and illegal business behavior and looks ahead to Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks testifying before British Parliament Tuesday.

There is a possibility that Ms. Brooks may not testify because of her arrest on Sunday.

Troubles That Money Can’t Dispel

By David Carr

“Bury your mistakes,” Rupert Murdoch is fond of saying. But some mistakes don’t stay buried, no matter how much money you throw at them.

Time and again in the United States and elsewhere, Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation has used blunt force spending to skate past judgment, agreeing to payments to settle legal cases and, undoubtedly more important, silence its critics. In the case of News America Marketing, its obscure but profitable in-store and newspaper insert marketing business, the News Corporation has paid out about $655 million to make embarrassing charges of corporate espionage and anticompetitive behavior go away.

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Litigation can have an annealing effect on companies, forcing them to re-examine the way they do business. But as it was, the full extent and villainy of the hacking was never known because the News Corporation paid serious money to make sure it stayed that way.

And the money the company reportedly paid out to hacking victims is chicken feed compared with what it has spent trying to paper over the tactics of News America in a series of lawsuits filed by smaller competitors in the United States.

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In 2009, a federal case in New Jersey brought by a company called Floorgraphics went to trial, accusing News America of, wait for it, hacking its way into Floorgraphics’s password protected computer system.

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The complaint stated that the breach was traced to an I.P. address registered to News America and that after the break-in, Floorgraphics lost contracts from Safeway, Winn-Dixie and Piggly Wiggly.

Much of the lawsuit was based on the testimony of Robert Emmel, a former News America executive who had become a whistle-blower. After a few days of testimony, the News Corporation had heard enough. It settled with Floorgraphics for $29.5 million and then, days later, bought it, even though it reportedly had sales of less than $1 million.

Murdoch’s tactics are not a secret. In an article from Forbes written in 2005, Peter Lattman described the business practices by Paul V. Carlucci, then head of the marketing division of News America:

Paul V. Carlucci takes no prisoners. The head of a marketing division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Carlucci once rallied his sales force by showing a film clip from The

Untouchables
in which Al Capone beats a man to death with a baseball bat.

I wonder if Mr. Carlucci is friends with Carl Palladino the former NY State gubernatorial candidate with a penchant for solving problems with a baseball bat?

Jul 17 2011

Brits Arrest Brooks In Murdoch Wiretap Scandal

The British are not looking kindly on Rupert Murdoch’s wiretap scandal that erupted over two weeks ago. Murdoch, who is the chairman and CEO of News Corporation, shut down the tabloid, News of the World, when it was revealed that they had hacked the cell phone and erased messages of a missing girl who was later found dead. Rather than just fire the executive, Rebekah Brooks who allowed the phone hacking, he fired over 130 people in an attempt to protect his “protégé”. Ms Brooks who resigned Friday from Murdoch’s operations, was arrested “by appointment” in London on Sunday.

Brooks was due to give evidence before MPs on the culture select committee on Tuesday.

An arrest by appointment on a Sunday by police is unusual.

In a statement the Met said: “The MPS [Metropolitan police service] has this afternoon, Sunday 17 July, arrested a female in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking.

“At approximately 12.00 a 43-year-old woman was arrested by appointment at a London police station by officers from Operation Weeting [phone hacking investigation] together with officers from Operation Elveden [bribing of police officers investigation]. She is currently in custody.

“She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

The scandal has also embroiled the UK police who have been accused of being too close to News Corps, not scrutinizing the complaints and bribe taking.

The scandal has embroiled Britain’s police, who are accused of being too close to News Corp, of accepting cash from the now defunct News of the World tabloid that was at the heart of the scandal, and from other newspapers, and of not doing enough to investigate phone-hacking allegations that surfaced as far as back as 2005.

Britain’s senior police chief Paul Stephenson came under renewed pressure late on Saturday after it emerged he had stayed at a luxury spa at which Neil Wallis, a former News of the World deputy editor, was a public relations adviser.

A police statement said Stephenson did not know of Wallis’s connection with the spa, and his stay was paid for by the spa’s managing director, a family friend with no links to his professional life.

Stephenson already had come under fire after his force said Wallis, who has been arrested over the phone-hacking scandal and is free on bail, had been hired as a consultant by the police.

The investigation has spread to the US. The FBI is now investigating possible phone hacking of 9/11 survivors cell phone.

It also precipitated the resignation of Les Hinton, head of News Corp’s Dow Jones & Co, who was chief executive of News International and Ms Brooke’s boss at the time of the hacking and brought even further scrutiny of the tight knit board of directors.

And how is Fox News handling this? heh

More predictably, support has also come from News Corp’s right-leaning cable channel Fox News, where there has been a reluctance to devote as much time to the story as other outlets, especially the left-leaning MSNBC network. A recent episode of the show Fox and Friends featured a media consultant, Robert Dilenschneider, who said that the scandal was being overplayed and Murdoch had “done all the right things”.