On this side of the pond, it’s an article of faith among most media types that Rupert Murdoch is a genius whose every move is brilliant. Felix Salmon argues that, in fact, Murdoch has handled the hacking scandal very stupidly so far (I agree):
The News of the World hacking scandal was broken by the Guardian two years ago, and has been getting worse for him ever since; he’s had all the time in the world to do what every crisis-management professional has at the very top of their list: get out in front of the story, take full control of the situation and full responsibility for all mistakes made, and demonstrate in as public and visible a manner as possible that such things can and will never happen again.[…..]
The moral of this story, for anybody observing from the outside, is that it’s very, very bad idea for a company to circle the wagons and try to protect its senior executives when they get into trouble. If a handful of senior heads had rolled two years ago, and if News International had volunteered information about how far over the line the NotW had transgressed, then the newspaper would still be a cash cow for Murdoch. Instead, the closing of the NotW, plus the inevitable launch of the Sun on Sunday, is surely going to cost him a significant nine-figure sum.
Does it matter? When you already have so much money and a J Edgar Hoover-esque file drawer of dirt on all potential enemies?
The plug could be pulled on every single business he owns and he could still burn money to keep warm in a Scandinavian winter.
At his age and resources; nothing matters. Maybe a meteor to the head.
That is to presume that he *can* sacrifice “senior” people without it leading directly to him and his family. I doubt very much that that is true. They are rotecting Brooks because she leads directly to them. And they protected people below her–or the head of the WSJ, because they all have something on each other and there isn’t enough hush money in the world to pay for them actually having to go to prison over this rather than flipping and turning queen’s evidence.
LMAO @ title! I was wondering how long it would take before someone made an A-Team reference. (Although given the nature of the “Murdoch” we’re dealing with, a MacGyver reference might have been more appropriate).
Wasn’t the hacking itself an exercise in stupidity?
I mean, seriously, hacking a regular girl’s phone and messing with it after she’s dead? Why? To make the ratings in his papers go up a bit? Was there really no other plot that could’ve served the same end? And this when you know perfectly well what’ll happen if it’s exposed to the public?
c u n d gulag
Is it too much to ask for him to lose FOX News, too?
That might do more to restore the sanity of this nation than anything short of Aisles and Limbaugh having a mutual suicide pact – by double extra bacon cheeseburgers, super-sized gravy fries, and a jumbo cola.
Crazy? Like a fox!
(sorry for that)
This whole analysis is based on the Murdoch empire just being based on the earning profits, like Murdoch is a legitimate businessman or something. He is not. He is a crook with a sideline in fascist agitprop. Pissing away a profitable enterprise in order to keep the means to corrupt the public good is a sensible sacrifice for him.
hahaha … and on top of the pasting rupert took dropping myspace – purchased for $580m a couple of years ago and sold for $35m last week. rupert’s had a bad couple of weeks…
but in all reality, what kind of depraved, amoral person could listen to messages of desperate family and friends — and fucking delete them! oh right, someone who works for news corp.
Very much doubt that his was the first major league f*ck-up in Ruperts empire, yet so far he’s managed to firewall them all. So why was he to assume that this one was going to be different?
And he was almost right that he would be getting away with it this time as well: All the stuff that is coming out now is nothing new to the Metropolitan police, who have known this shit since 2006. That plus the fact that News International successfully scared off the House of Commons from holding a parliamentary investigation over the stuff reported in the Guardian something like two years ago with the explicit threat that it would backfire on the MPs personally is the real scandal and shows how much of a cancer NI really is. And yet, the Tories still want to hand BSkyB over to Murdoch.
And yeah, the most plausible reason why Rupert can’t dump the redhead is because she knows where the key to the closet with at least some of the skeletons is. That door has to stay firmly closed if the BSkyB transaction is to proceed once the plebs have gotten used to the new normal and have stopped fussing about a right to privacy.
No idea what it would take for Rupert to get into serious trouble with his shareholders. But let’s not forget that he just sold MySpace for 30 Million in shares after he had paid more than 500 Million in cash when he acquired it. I doubt that f*cking up the BSkyB deal on top of that would enhance his position.
News Of The World brings in a pittance compared to the billions of his TV operations, including the potential returns on a successful bid for BSkyB. Hacking off a pinkie to save an arm.
1. Brilliant, wonderfully, intelligent people do stupid things and make stupid decisions all the time. Usually because they think they are so bleeping brilliant and wonderful that it is impossible for them to make a stupid decision. See the U.S., U.K, Irish, and European banking industry in the Oughts. Also see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubris
2. Powerful elites, seeking to protect their money, privileges, and power will often make short term decision to protect themselves (like the Catholic Hierarchy’s decision to cover up child abuse incidents by priest) at the expense of the long term interests of the institution they preside over (in this case News Corp and its shareholders throughout the world).
To use another foreign word that we English speakers have absconded with, I do enjoy this moment of Schadenfreude.
By the way, since I don’t Fox Noise, between the screeds at Media Matters and Jon Stewart, have they mentioned this little kerfuffle at all?
I’m waiting to see what Rush has to say. Has Drudge covered the mess that is the News Corp. yet?
JPL: More importantly i noticed Sullivan finally allowed/forced one of his lackeys/minions/substitutes to post about this. It’s pretty weak beer, so I hope this doesn’t mean we have to cancel our daily minute of Sullivan hate today. After all, the Big Bear himself still hasn’t cancelled his vacation to post on this.
Murdoch père et fils planned to retire the NotW anyway, but doing it now may carry another benefit:
Either way, it has a familiar ring to it…
Its horrible to say such things, but I saw a picture of the decrepit, 80-year old Murdoch on TV, and am pretty sure that not even the best American medicine money can buy is going to keep him with us much longer.
It’s horrible to say people die? sheesh
I am watching Morning Ho and think god Ho hasn’t been on this week. Had to watch it to see what stupid sheet Maria Bartiromo Antoinette and ofcourse she didn’t disappoint. Cut Medicare, Cut ss – that’s where the money is but big bizness says no taxes, oh no, no taxes, tax hikes would mean no new jobs. Where do they get these idiots anyway? Also too, I didn’t know that Coulson was part of Cameron’s team.
But this is what conservatives do! They never take responsibility, admit mistakes, clean up their house and get shit in order. That’s a sign of weakness, you see.
No the conservative way is to double down, dig in your heels, admit no wrongdoing, deny deny deny. And when that fails, play the victim card.
This analysis is all well and good but ONLY if you assume Murdoch is in NO way responsible for the scandalous behavior.
I prefer to assume fascist running dogs guilty until proven otherwise.
bjacques.. From the Guardian
Murdoch’s son authorized out of court payments to victims of hackers, (hush,hush) so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
People should be talking about how the Murdoch/Fox News empire routinely breaks into the phones of crime victims and dead soldiers. Anyone interviewed by Fox News should be asking why they engage in this behavior and whether they’re ashamed of it.
My first thought after reading the post was what aimai said above. They were probably ordered by Murdoch to do the hacking so he’s not going to get rid of them lest they spill the beans.
The U.S. economy added jobs at a slower pace in June than in May, suggesting that the sudden slowdown in the economy might be longer-lasting and more severe than feared. Nonfarm payrolls rose by only 18,000 in June, well below the 125,000 gain expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch.
It makes me sick to hear people saying that Murdoch’s decision to close The News of the World was smart. That was a successful paper (the hacking scandal aside). It was closed because Murdoch didn’t want the scandal to affect the purchase of BSkyB.
Instead of having a scandal that he’s handled poorly hinder that purchase, he just closed a successful business and ended the jobs of countless good employees, while retaining the person who was in charge when the scandal took place. What a fuck.
@JPL Austerity now! Cut the deficit!
We are so fucked! Yes, I’m voting for Obama in 2012 just like I voted for Clinton in 1996 but it would be damn nice to have an actual Democrat standing up for liberal Democratic policies in the White House instead of these Republican-lite presidents in Democratic clothing.
OT but does anyone want to hazard a guess as to why this piece of fearmongering has cropped up just now?
@JPL – Derf will be here any moment to let us know that you are a lying SOB. That the jobs report means nothing and will be revised upward in a few weeks.
Wow, I didn’t realize how fucked up that marriage vow thing the gooper candidates are being asked to sign is:
Innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy? Stolen innocence? Crazy eyes of course signed it.
Tone In DC
OT but does anyone want to hazard a guess as to why this piece of fearmongering has cropped up just now?
One thing about it: fear is very profitable. Somebody has to sell the TSA guys those overpriced x-ray gizmos. Somebody has to make that alternate and unnecessary engine for the F-35 for $12 billion. Somebody has to hire Blackwater/Xe to come to New Orleans in September 2005 and treat the populace there like Supermax inmates. You get the idea.
I think shutting down NOTW is just a ploy by Murdoch. Did you see that the UK government is going to figure out how to regulate the newspapers there:
(That’s from http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2011-07-08-britain-phone-hacking_n.htm )
Murdoch owns the government… what better idea than to limit what the media can do?
I thought I’d read somewhere that the hacking scandal has spread to other Murdoch papers. Has anyone else seen this? I can’t find the link this morning.
The very first bullet point is all about how yes, slavery was bad but ABORTION IS SO MUCH WORSE!
I find it hard to believe that the News of the World was the only part of the Murdock news-intelligence-propaganda empire that used and profited from hacking. Perhaps the reasons for Murdoch’s failure to “get out in front of the story” include the occasional anecdotes that emerge regarding Murdoch’s connections with various intelligence agencies, his persistent lobbying (often perceived as corruption of officials and officeholders), his ruthless attacks on competitors and subordinates, and his unwavering commitment to building an international corporatocracy. Anyone pursuing such a business plan would fine of extralegal intelligence gathering both useful and effective–especially if police and government protection are purchasable. If hacking is a bigger story–maybe the whole story–Murdoch can’t afford (it feels strange saying that!) to get out in front of it.
If those who know are not bought or intimidated, I expect them to add anecdotes of similar hacking and other intelligence activities in other outposts of the Murdoch empire. He leaves his slimy fingerprints on everything he owns, so the News of the World fiasco probably reveals practices that will be discernible throughout his thoroughly compromised news organizations if anyone takes the trouble to look.
This might be the story you’re referring to: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/now-met-police-probes-the-sun-after-union-chief-raises-concerns-2208670.html
To summarize, the British newspaper ‘The independent’ reported on Thursday that the former head of the Fire Brigades Union has requested that Scotland Yard investigate Murdoch’s daily tabloid ‘The Sun’ for possible phone-hacking. The Sun published several inflammatory stories on union officials during strike negotiations in 2009-10, revealing personal details that could only have been discovered by such practices.
I can find no follow-up reports on this allegation in either today’s Independent or Guardian.
On the topic of repugnant media/political tycoons, Silvio Berlusconi, padrone of showgirls and teenage prostitutes, has announced that he will not seek another term as Italian prime minister. Hilariously and of course as a deliberate provocation, he has nominated his Justice minister to succeed him as head of the “center”-right People of Freedom party.
There is no other figure on world stage quite like Berlusconi. His brazenness, his shamelessness, his invulnerability beggars description.
Mark S @ 27 “support human protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy”
Translates to no abortion for rape and incest victims, dontcha know?
Amusingly, if OFCOM rules that News International isn’t fit and proper to take over all of BSkyB, it could also mean that they’re not fit and proper to own *any* of it. Which would be a rather big blow to News Corp as a whole…
Eh? What’s this? I never heard anything about Murdoch being connected to intelligence agencies – I would’ve thought owning the politicians who command them was enough.
The main source of Murdoch’s power especially in Britain has been his ability to influence public opinion. Good luck trying to do that when the public would like nothing better than to disembowel you. I was just reading that a News International executive is suspected by Scotland Yard of ordering half a terabyte of emails to be deleted. There’s no way this story has a good outcome for NI.
Now News International is directly implicated in the cover up of NoW hacking; http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/08/phone-hacking-emails-news-international
Maybe if the public gets upset enough there will be a general boycott of Murdoch products in the UK. Imagine the outrage when the SkyB deal is approved, as it almost certainly will be if Cameron’s influence on Parliament prevails.
My advice: Don’t go looking, but see what surfaces in the coming weeks and months in the responsible media. The prejudices and motivations of the accusers tend to be even more unsavory than the alleged behavior.
Pongo: Charities are turning down free advertising in the final sunday edition from what I read in the Guardian. Even charities that haven’t been asked. As they say, ouch. And Renault pulling all ads from NI papers? continues veddy veddy interesting and veddy veddy not over and tidily done with. GSD I wish I was an artist because that hair of Rupe-bekah has permanently morphed into a perfect Little Miss Arrogance for me.
here’s a British perspective on Murdoch’s problem… and it’s not going away, but growing as his other ‘papers’ are coming under scrutiny… how long before we find out that this was standard operating procedure at most of his ‘news’ enterprises?
Hell, with Roger Ailes heading up FOX, he’s got the US wired…
@ Pongo: Cameron’s going to be having enough problems of his own… he’s apparently got a potential coke problem in addition to his cozy relationship with hiring Murdoch’s former NotW exec as his spokesperson AFTER it was known that he was involved in the phone hacking scandal … check out the first link in my above comment…
Murdoch also owns the Times of London, the official newspaper of the Establishment, even if it is stuck behind a walled garden. Not much chance of a boycott.
One of the best pieces about Murdoch continues to be Ken Auletta’s New Yorker profile from 1995:
Murdoch has only become more powerful since these words were originally written.
you have a reply button?
please tell me how i can get one, too!
I’m sorry, why isn’t every progressive blogger screaming for congressional hearing into whether any US citizens were hacked? You’ve got Rupert Murdock’s nuts in a blender and possibly Faux News itself vulnerable if even one citizen had their privacy invaded and any of that information made it into a Fox report.
Brooks addressed the News of the World staff to tell them they were all being laid off, and at least one of them secretly recorded it! Heh.
Another interesting suggestion: If News Corp and its subsidiaries bribed UK police, which has allegedly been a standard practice for them, then the US can go after the company and its senior executives with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which prohibits US companies from bribing foreign officials.
Murdoch is one of the men behind the men. He has heaps of power here in Aus,owns mahor newspapers all over. Has far too much sway in how things are seen, politically.