From Business Spectator:
The abrupt change in News Corp’s tactics as [it] tries to bring some semblance of control to the maelstrom it is experiencing in the UK hints at a longer-term problem for Rupert Murdoch and his succession plans.
On Wednesday News withdrew its undertaking to spin off Sky News from BSkyB enabling the UK government to refer its proposed bid for the pay television operator to its Competition Commission and ensuring that any final decision on the bid would be deferred for at least six months and probably closer to a year.
That appeared designed to avoid any immediate decision on the bid within an atmosphere of extreme hostility towards News and therefore to preserve the potential for another tilt at BSkYB once the heat eventually dies down.
Within 25 hours or so, however, the tactics had changed and News Corp’s deputy chairman, president and chief operating officer, Chase Carey, announced that the group no longer intended to make an offer for the 61 per cent of BSkyB it doesn’t already own.
That change of strategy was made doubly interesting by a report in the New York Times that claimed (citing three sources with knowledge of the discussions who declined to be identified because they were revealing confidential company deliberations”) that James Murdoch had argued that News should press ahead and seek regulatory approval for the deal.
It was instructive that it was Carey, and not Rupert Murdoch or James, who announced that the bid was being abandoned. James is, after all, executive chairman of News International, the entity responsible for News’ European and Asian businesses and the driving force behind the original proposal to bid for the rest of the pay TV service. Until yesterday, it was James who was making the announcements and apologies.
According to the New York Times, Rupert and Carey over-ruled him on the BSkyB strategy and consulted him only after the decision was all but final.
Only three and a half months ago, James was appointed deputy chief operating officer of News Corp. The move to New York was a clear signal by Rupert that James was his intended successor.
James’ major claim to that position of heir apparent is his role in running News International and the bid for BSkyB that, until the phone hacking scandal exploded, was on the verge of gaining UK government approval.
The bid is in tatters, The News of the World has been closed, News International’s reputation is in tatters and News Corp is engaged is a desperate attempt to control the damage and the threat that it might infect its other businesses.
There are already those in the US encouraging inquiries into the activities of News Corp’s UK papers in the US and the allegations that the phones of victims of 9/11 were hacked, as well as the potential for alleged payments to UK police being deemed criminal offences under US laws against corrupt payments to foreign officials.
There is no doubt the hacking scandal and the way it has been managed has damaged James’ reputation, although there is equally no suggestion that he condoned it or was involved with it – he only became executive chairman of News International in late 2007, after-the-event. He hasn’t, however, distinguished himself in dealing with the mounting allegations or the crisis.
Regardless, the affair will damage external perceptions of his credentials to succeed Rupert. That might not worry Rupert or James – the $US5 billion buy-back announced yesterday could, as has been noted elsewhere, be used to help secure the family’s control over News’ voting capital and decision-making – but the potential for internal opposition might be more disconcerting.
News Corp’s US executive ranks are peopled by tough, aggressive and ambitious executives. The role James now occupies was once held by his older brother, Lachlan, who resigned the position and left the company in 2005 after losing out in a collision with the powerful head of Fox TV, Roger Ailes.
James’ links with the carnage in the UK and the damage that has caused to News and its ambitions have made him vulnerable and created an opening for any within News who see him as baggage for the corporation or as a roadblock to their own personal ambitions.
From the BBC:
MPs are meeting to decide whether to summon News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks to answer questions on the phone-hacking scandal.
The Commons media committee also wants to question News Corporation’s Rupert and James Murdoch but cannot force them to appear as they are not UK citizens.
Meanwhile, a 60-year-old man has been arrested over phone hacking.
The man was taken for questioning at a police station in west London on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications as part of Operation Weeting – the police investigation into mobile interceptions by News International – a Scotland Yard spokesman said.
In a statement, the MPs said that serious questions had arisen about the evidence Mrs Brooks and Andy Coulson, both of them former News of the World editors, gave at a previous hearing in 2003.
The News of the World was shut down last week amid the mounting scandal over the alleged hacking of phones belonging to crime victims, politicians and celebrities.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke out in the Commons on Wednesday against alleged law-breaking on an “industrial scale” at News International. He also said there had not been private deals with the company when he was in Downing Street.
Meanwhile, Democratic senator Jay Rockefeller said US authorities should consider whether journalists working for News Corp had broken US law.
Mr Rockefeller, who chairs the Senate’s commerce committee, expressed concern that phone hacking may have extended to American targets, including victims of 9/11, although he presented no evidence.
More congressmen, including the first major Republican, Peter King, called for a federal investigation into News Corp’s actions.
Others included senators Frank Lautenberg, Robert Menendez and Barbara Boxer.
Rupert Murdoch’s American assets include the Wall Street Journal and Fox News.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced the terms of an independent inquiry into the hacking affair, which he said would examine the practices of the press.
23 responses to “In the Name of the Motherfu…I mean, Father”
I love the graphic on the bottom. Oh please hit the fan, please! I hope it’s one of those situations where they start digging and the deeper they go, the more shit they find. We know Rupie’s empire is corrupt and rotten. Hopefully this is the hole that sinks the entire ship.
I’m also lovin’ the WTF at the bottom. 😆
thank you for weeding out all my little jokes. it’s what makes making posters fun. 🙂
i wish i could say that i made the fan and the poop (the pic, not the actual poop), but i found them online and stuck them together.
uncle rupie’s ship won’t disappear underwater completely, but the captain is forever disgraced. i wonder if he’ll visit rebekah and jamey-wamey in jail.
What a bunch of low-lifes. It just gets uglier and uglier. (That’s not even counting Rupert’s horse’s ass mug).
if it was fiction, nobody would believe it. this is like one of those late-night soaps with the evil patriarch, the scheming kids, the kids who will do anything for daddy to love them, the business shenanigans, the consiglieres, etc.
That’s the first time I hear one of the journalists of the Watergate saying a scandal is worthy to be compared to it.
a lot of people are comparing it to watergate. i’ve been toying with the idea of photoshopping uncle rupie getting on a helicopter with his fingers signalling v for victory.
I hate to say this, but he will survive as this will blow over. Although there are good items in the WSJ, I don’t watch FOX News or regularly read his other outlets. Love the graphic too!
he’ll survive, but his finances will take a hit, and his dreams of any of his offspring taking over the reins is gone. the old shitbag will be regarded with disdain and disgust, and he’ll know it, no matter how many toadies he surrounds himself with.
Unfortunately, as the various parties take shots at News International, they keep hitting targets other than Uncle Rupie – or he keeps using others as human shields. When the stuff DOES hit the fan (with any luck, in both the US and UK at the same time), I hope he’s run out of people to hide behind. Otherwise, he’ll just keep chucking employees to the lions and escape scot-free.
(Did anybody keep track of how many metaphors I tortured in that paragraph? 😀 )
yes, John, and extremely well done!
does it really matter who winds up being the target? no matter who is charged or goes to jail, they’ll be representatives of uncle rupie in the eyes of the public. if he thought he’d leave a splendid legacy behind, he’s shit out of luck. he’s too old to start over. the game’s over, and he lost.
I love the smell of karma in the evening.
I don’t think Ruppie will be getting out of this one. I bet ten to one that they’ll find even worse stuff once they go looking.
i think they haven’t even scratched the surface of the pile of shit that this is, mad. the more they dig, the more shit sprouts will spring up. it’s a giant shit garden, and unfortunately for uncle rupie, there have been too many farmers, and at least one of them is gonna flap his/her lips.
Your hope that this would spread to this side of the pond seems about to come true. The FBI is looking into allegations that News Corp. hacked into 9-11 victims phones. Even if that doesn’t pan out, the payments to police and Scotland Yard officials could put the company at risk for being prosecuted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices act. U.S. companies being caught paying bribes overseas is a big no-no!
i don’t know about anyone else, but i’m going to invest in a raincoat. the shit is going to be flying everywhere!
it’s too bad they can’t all be prosecuted under rico. i’d love for them to lose all their assets and go to jail.
Krugman seems to share your opinion.
“At this point it’s starting to look as if News Corp is better viewed as a criminal enterprise than as a media organization.”
there ya go! gmta! more importantly, i was watching the colbert report tonight, and stephen called uncle rupie uncle rupie! i knew he was always a secret raisinette! 😉
Several comments have said he will survive. Look at him. Days? Months? Will he go overboard like that rogue publisher in the 80s that went missing on the liner? For a good laugh, check the link at yesterdays NewsCorpse listing of the Hugh Laurie/Stephen Fry parody of “It’s a wonderful life” of what the world would be if Evil Rupert was never born.
will he survive? his little protege didn’t. i just read that she resigned. i saw the laurie/fry parody earlier today. i loved it. let me see if i can find it and post it here. here it is…
the red head has left the building.
and i hope the door hit her in the ass on her way out.