Monday, July 18, 2011

Here's the story they're reading on the 11th Floor

The shark who's been circling USA Today -- Rupert Murdoch -- is witnessing a full meltdown of his News Corp. empire.

This morning, Prime Minister David Cameron called an emergency session of Parliament for Wednesday, a day after Murdoch, his son James, and former top lieutenant Rebekah Brooks are to testify to a government inquiry into a phone-hacking scandal engulfing News Corp.

Yesterday, the industry was shocked when Brooks, the former chief executive of Murdoch's News International, was arrested on suspicion of illegally intercepting phone calls and bribing the police. Soon after, Britain's top police official quit, saying "the ongoing speculation and accusations" against his department had made it difficult for him to do his job.

In the U.S., The New York Times has been leading the news charge. The Wall Street Journal is limping behind. And USA Today's Money section has another gripping, page-turner of a Q&A by Maria Bartiromo.

Related: the Poynter Institute recalls America’s phone-hacking scandal at The Cincinnati Enquirer.


  1. jimbo, how clueless are you (again)?? this has nothing to do with Murdoch movie studios, American TV holdings, Ottaway division, etc. HARDLY a meltdown of his full empire, as you put it... and you were a business reporter? I see why USA Today accepted your request for a buyout.

  2. News Corp.'s shares were down 6% today in trading on the Australian exchange at Sydney. This is after they fell nearly 13% here in the U.S. since the scandal moved into high gear two weeks ago. Stockholders have amended an earlier lawsuit to reflect the hacking case.

    And if Murdoch or his son are forced out?

  3. 7:10 You gotta be kidding. It has everything to do with the United States. The British have vastly different libel laws than us, and they have a different history that has resulted in court decisions restricting what the papers can say. The government there can even impose restrictions on what papers can print.
    We don't have those sort of restrictions, largely as a result of the First Amendment which Gannett used to champion. Or at least I thought so. But now it appears to me it has become more of a control mechanism and a way of keeping real news stories out of the paper. This is an outrage, it is un-American, and it is something that violates the basic ethics of being a newspaper. We were created to kick ass and take name. You don't have to like what we write, but we don't give a damn what you read or not. There's nothing wrong with what the reporters have been doing. They are trained for this task. There's nothing really wrong with editors, who do their job fact-checking and double-checking. But there certainly is something wrong when it's top down instructions handed down to reporters on what they can write or what they can't.

  4. P.S. In case you haven't noticed that Murdoch owns TV stations here, please look up News Corp on the Internet. The FCC is supposed to be a suspicious sort and out to root out monoplies because we have anti-trust laws (Teddy Roosvelt, I think, certainly the Progressive Era). So do you not think they will look at Murdoch's TV holdings? Plus a story you may have missed appeared Friday in which it was disclosed the FBI has entered the case. If you want to get on the wrong side of this governent, just look at what happened to Osama bin Ladin and piss off a bureaucrat some time.

  5. Also (and this is meant to be helpful), USAT editors please note: Rupert Murdoch does not "own" NWS. His family controls the company via trusts that, combined with individual holdings, own about 40% of the outstanding shares.

  6. From a Wall Street Journal story today:

    "The New York-based media conglomerate is looking for outside reinforcements in investor relations, policy relations and public relations to help handle the impact of the scandal domestically, according to people familiar with the matter.

    "Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey is expected to return to New York on Monday to help manage the fallout in the financial community, even as other members of News Corp.'s inner circle navigate a critical appearance before a parliamentary committee in Britain, where they will be grilled about alleged hacking as well as its earlier investigation."

  7. If this has nothing to do with the states, why did Murdoch abandon his Australian citizenship which helped him buy those London titles, then become a U..S. citizen?
    If you have time this week, watch those House of Commons committee hearings. The questioning is classic English theater and withering. Wish we had politicians who could get a witness to cower like they do.

  8. Shares in NWS are now down 4.5%.

  9. Standard & Poor's said late today it may downgrade ratings of News Corp. because of increased risks from the media company's phone hacking scandal. S&P has a BBB+ corporate credit rating on News Corp. Both U.K. and U.S. authorities are investigating whether certain News Corp. journalists hacked into individuals' phones. News Corp. owns Dow Jones, the publisher of MarketWatch.

  10. 7:07 here... just watch....News Corp. will be much more successful long term than Gannett. Much better financials, much more diversified holdings, better vision. American Idol on its own generates more money than three quarters of Gannett. Murdoch may step aside -- maybe -- but the company isnt in danger. Not even close. Even if it pays out billions to make this go away, it's very stable. As usual Jimbo, your short term analysis plays to emotion, not fact. Hut go ahead, keep posting your stock updates in an effort to prove your manhood.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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