Murdoch is going to war. He is mad as hell and isn't going to take it
any more from his enemies who are tarnishing the good name of his
company, News Corp. (NYSE: NWS). No more apologizing for past alleged indiscretions.
The media mogul's declaration of war last week specifically targets
"the lies and libels" of such enemies as "the old toffs and right
wingers" who are stuck in "the last century with their status quo
The high-tech weapon used to launch the all-out attack on the old
toffs and right-wingers was Rupert's Twitter account. He was so incensed
at wrong doing on the part of his enemies, the night of March 26 he
fired a barrage of three Twitter messages on the perceived injustices
with increasing bellicosity. The tweet bombardment ended with a call to arms worthy of a Winston Churchill: "Let's have it on! Choice, freedom of thought and markets, individual personal responsibility."
That doesn't sound like the old blood-sucking vampire capitalist
oligarch who once declared "Monopoly is a bad thing, until you own one."
It showed the new No More Mister Nice Guy is not one of those old
farts who disdain modern weapons of mass distraction like Twitter. For
example, I only tweet when fomenting a social revolution.
What made the Old Ghoul, as he is sometimes fondly called in his
former Mother Country of Australia, go nuclear were the "old toffs and
right-wingers" at the BBC... which must have surprised a lot of
license-holders who always complain the Beeb swings the editorial
cricket bat from the left side of the wicket.
What specifically got his dander up was the BBC running a documentary on its Panorama series, titled Murdoch's TV Pirates
(not to be confused with the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Somali Pirates).
After a four-year investigation by the Australian Financial Review
newspaper, the Panorama documentary accused an arm of News Corp., NSD,
which is in the encryption and smartcard business, of encouraging piracy
against competitors by stealing the codes of pay-TV rivals, passing
them on to disreputable consumers on the Net who could help destroy
competitors in the pay-TV business.
By attacking 20th century monopolies, Rupert seemed to be implying
that he and NewsCorp were paragons of personal responsibility and free
choice for all. "He wanted free pay-TV for all," interpolated the old
toffs and right-wingers at Perdido Street School blog. " Except for his own pay-TV networks, of course. Those you have to pay for."
What a guy.
I can understand why the Old Ghoul is especially agitated these days.
NewsCorp may be facing two criminal investigations over the latest
allegation -- one in Australia, one in Britain. The war against the
media critics might be a feint designed to take investors' minds off the
coming parliamentary report this month on what an MP has called "the
single largest corporate corruption case in this country in 250 years --
phone hacking on an industrial scale, News International employees
bribing the police so widely that Scotland Yard became, in effect, a
subsidiary of News International."
NewsCorp released a statement accusing the BBC of "gross misrepresentation" in alleged stealing of codes. Murdoch's TV Pirates had "presented manipulated and mischaracterized e-mails to produce unfair and baseless accusations."
That is rich: Rupert and NewsCorp complaining about misdemeanors and other crimes of journalism. Hello kettle, meet pot.
To further calm investors, James Murdoch, who had drawn the short
straw in the Who Dunnit UK newspaper cock-up, resigned this week as
chairman of British Sky Broadcasting (LSE: BSY),
a beneficiary of alleged chicanery in the NSD case. That clears the air
in the Augean Stable that is NewsCorp, investors might believe.
If William Shakespeare were a NewsCorp common stockholder, he might
very well be saying now, "The old ghoul doth protest too much,
@Ted Faraone, thank you so much for sharing
your "boots on the ground" impressions of News Corp and Rupert's
management style. Fascinating insights...
I think Rupert's kids, especially James are his Achilles heel.
It's a drama played out everyday around the world--a family
business in transition.
You illuminate an interesting paradox: News Corp needs to be
centrally controlled, but the few competent people who can really do the
job are overextended in trying to do everything themselves.
Rupert struck out with James, and that must hurt.
I think highly of Chase Carey but he and Rupert have their hands full all right!
I see the lashing out from the man at the
helm of News Corp as quite scripted, the kind of targeted bluster you
see on Fox News. A man like Murdoch did not get to the top by
flying off the handle under pressure.
Undoubtedly the home secretary hit a nerve somewhere, but it's
unclear where. As the clip mentions, the reverse-engineering
involved did not break the law.
The complete trust of ITV in Canal-Plus' unhackable smart card could
not fail to remind me of the western democracies reliance on the
Maginot line to hold back the Germans. If there is ever a lesson
to be learned from this tale of espionage it is that network security is
a game of walls and ladders.
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