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Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM PDT

Rupert Murdoch "Regrets"

by Lib Dem FoP

Reposted from Lib Dem FoP by Lib Dem FoP

Those of you following the Murdoch saga will recall there was recently a "hoist with his own petard" moment when a journalist taped him addressing his News International staff in London. He appeared to directly contradict the evidence he gave to the Commons Select Committee looking into the interception of cellphone messages (the number of victims of this intrusion is now in the thousands).

Now Channel 4 News has obtained copies of letters he has sent to two members of the committee after they demanded to know about the discrepancy. C4 has published .pdf copies of the letters on line. They are to John Whittingdale and the Committee chair Kieth Vaz.

Two further blows hit the Murdoch empire today which may well affect profits from News Corps' Sky satellite television operation in the UK.

The first is a decision by the European Court of Justice (which is part of the EU structure and should not be confused with the Court of Human Rights which is part of the wider Council of Europea structure). The Court confirmed a lower chamber decision that two soccer bodies, Fifa and EUFA must sell UK live broadcasting rights for certain tournaments to a broadcaster who will air them free and on terrestrial. These are part of lists of so-called "crown jewels" which are considered of such cultural significance to the country that they must either be aired free to air live or highlights broadcast free later. The first group includes such events as the Olympic games and the soccer World Cup and European Championships.

Obviously this restricts the amount of money a broadcaster can afford to pay for those rights. Commercial stations are dependent on advertising and the BBC is dependent on income from TV licence payers. They do not have the option of subscription income or "pay per view". In turn that limits the cash Fifa and EUFA get from the broadcaster.

Murdoch's business model for Sky depends on subscription and heavily on its live league soccer coverage. That was already being challenged by BT which is to have an IPTV and satellite delivered Sports Channel showing matches that start around noon. Another tranche start around 3pm and those games are still on Sky. BT fiber broadband customers can get a "YouView" hybrid PVR/IPTV box with these football games free for little more than the cost of the broadband and telephone service alone. The court decision means Murdoch cannot blackmail soccer fans who want to watch these international games live into paying the equivalent of $33 a month for a sports "package" of five channels which includes many other sports like cycling that they.

The second blow is the announcement that the meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers will have a report recommending changes to the rules about "offshoring" profits. Although Amazon, Starbuck and Google have been prominent in the outrage about their almost nil tax payments to the UK economy, Sky also has taken similar steps to avoid taxes by collecting the subscriptions from their UK customers using an Irish subsidiary.

As I write the weather in London is hot and sunny with not a cloud in the sky - except for Sky.


From The Daily Mail:

Rupert Murdoch has been challenged by MPs to explain his secretly recorded comments criticising the ‘totally incompetent’ police inquiries into phone hacking and corrupt payments.

The News Corp boss faces a police investigation over the tapes in which he criticises the ‘unbelievable’ treatment of journalists and he suggests he knew about corrupt payments to public officials.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, has given the media tycoon five days to respond to a demand for an explanation.
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From The Telegraph:

Rupert Murdoch could face criminal charges in America after he was secretly filmed telling journalists at his newspapers that bribing police officers for stories was “the culture of Fleet Street”.

US lawyers said that if the admission undermines his testimony to regulators, it could leave the News Corporation chief exposed under Title 18, Section 1001, which makes it illegal to lie to law enforcers.


Breaches of Section 1001 carry a penalty of up to five years in jail.

(For the record, The Telegraph is a conservative-leaning newspaper (64% of readership))

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From Reuters:

British lawmakers said on Tuesday they would recall media mogul Rupert Murdoch to clarify evidence he gave to them last year after he was secretly recorded belittling a police inquiry into alleged crimes committed by journalists on his papers.

Murdoch told staff at his Sun tabloid in a private meeting in March he had been wrong to help the police investigation into illegal tactics which he said the industry had used for decades, comments that sharply contrasted with the profuse public apologies he had given parliament's media committee.

Murdoch, the head of News Corp and 21st Century Fox , had described himself then as humbled and appalled by the revelations of illegality and phone-hacking that forced the closure of his prized News of the World tabloid two years ago.
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Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 05:52 AM PDT

Rupert Murdoch Had A Bad 4th of July

by Dartagnan

Reposted from Dartagnan by ericlewis0

Rupert murdoch photo: Rupert Murdoch murdoch.jpg

Rupert Murdoch is having a bad 4th of July.  It seems that one of his own journalists taped a secret meeting held by Murdoch in the boardroom of his company's London headquarters this past March.  During the meeting, between Murdoch and several of his journalist staff, the man who claimed to have been "humbled" just two years ago in his appearance before the British House of Commons Select Committee was anything but humble:

In the recording, apparently made in March during a meeting with journalists at Mr. Murdoch’s tabloid The Sun, Mr. Murdoch is heard saying of the investigation: “It’s a disgrace. Here we are, two years later, and the cops are totally incompetent.”

“The idea that the cops then started coming after you, kick you out of bed, and your families, at 6 in the morning is unbelievable,” he said, dismissing the investigation as “the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing.”  

This stands in stark contrast to the crocodile tears he shed in July, 2011:
"So, let me be clear in saying: invading people’s privacy by listening to their voicemail is wrong. Paying police officers for information is wrong. They are inconsistent with our codes of conduct and neither has any place, in any part of the company I run.

“But saying sorry is not enough. Things must be put right. No excuses. This is why News International is co-operating fully with the police whose job it is to see that justice is done.

Scores of Murdoch's employees have been arrested in the police investigation of Britain's phone hacking scandal.  On the tape, Murdoch makes it fairly clear that he doesn't care if they're convicted, he'll still "support" them (read: keep them on his payroll):


“I will do everything in my power to give you total support, even if you’re convicted and get six months or whatever,” he said.

“You’re all innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “What you’re asking is: What happens if some of you are proven guilty? What afterward? I’m not allowed to promise you — I will promise you continued health support — but your jobs ... I’ve got to be careful what comes out — but, frankly, I won’t say it, but just trust me.”

The fact that the meeting was surreptitiously recorded and then leaked suggests not all of his journalists are particularly confident about Murdoch's assurances:
Some British media analysts suggested that the fact that Mr. Murdoch’s remarks had been recorded and leaked — potentially turning tabloid eavesdropping tactics against the tycoon himself — showed that not all of the Sun journalists attending the March meeting had been satisfied by his assurance of support.
There's much more on the tape than just Murdoch's whining and promises. According to BusinessDay, he also admits his news organization had been bribing British police and public officials for news tips from the get-go:
According to the transcript, Mr Murdoch tells senior staff at The Sun that he was aware his journalists had been bribing police and public officials from the day he bought its sister paper, the News of the World, in 1969.

‘‘We’re talking about payments for news tips from cops: that’s been going on a hundred years, absolutely. You didn’t instigate it,’’ Mr Murdoch is heard saying on the tape.

Again, from his Select Committee testimony:
Paying police officers for information is wrong. They are inconsistent with our codes of conduct and neither has any place, in any part of the company I run.
The tape was obtained by the British investigative website Exaro News which has already released a transcript, with a 13-minute audio clip now available (subscription).  The Guardian weighed in today:
Rupert Murdoch's grovelling public apology over the phone-hacking scandal was, it pains us to disclose, not genuine. Those soft-focus advertisements, in which Rupert himself evinces his contrition, cannot be taken for good currency.
* * *
Murdoch can be heard cannily identifying with his employees' grievances and deflecting the blame for their sudden misfortunes (a situation for which the internet term "lol" seems to have been invented) on to everyone else: the lawyers, the government, whingeing lefties, and so on. This, in microcosm, is essentially what the Sun does to its readers.

Transcript excerpts Here.

There are excellent links in the comments and also in this Diary from ericlewis0 (which I missed).


Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 07:26 AM PDT

Murdoch: The Court case rumbles closer

by ceebs

Reposted from ceebs by ceebs

The final pre-trial maneuverings have concluded in the News Of the World phone hacking cases. five of the defendents were arguing that if people had already listened to the voicemail messages before they were hacked, then it didn't qualify as phone hacking under the relevent sections of the Regulations of Investigatory Powers act (RIPA).

R v Ian Edmondson, James Weatherup, Rebekah Brooks, Andrew Coulson, Stuart Kuttner :: Crimeline

The appellants made dismissal applications on a ground which raises the true construction of sub-sections 2(1), 2(2) and 2(7) RIPA. Expressed in general terms, the issue turns on when the course of transmission of a voicemail message ends and, in particular, whether a voicemail message which is saved by the recipient on the voicemail facility of a public telecommunications system remains in the course of transmission. The central point taken on behalf of the appellants is that the words “in the course of transmission” in section 1(1) RIPA do not extend to cover voicemail messages once they have been accessed by the intended recipient. The decision of Fulford L.J., endorsed by Saunders J., is that section 2(7) RIPA extends the concept of transmission to include the period when the transmission system stores the communication, in such a manner that enables the intended recipient to have access to it, whether or not it has previously been received by the intended recipient.
The hearing was heald in front of  Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and two other judges who dismissed it almost with contempt, (here's the full case )
"contrary to the submission on behalf of the appellants, the resulting situation is not lacking in legal certainty."
and for that reason refused leave to appeal to the supreme court on this matter.

Now this case has been rumbling on in the background, but all the time unreported due to contempt of court laws.  however the Lord Cheif Justice had this to say today

BBC News - Phone hacking: Go-ahead for Brooks and Coulson cases

Lord Judge allowed the names of the defendants to be reported, saying: "We can see no possible prejudice to the fairness of the forthcoming trial.

"We must not be unrealistic - there can hardly be anyone in the country who does not know to whom this case applies."

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Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 10:03 AM PDT

Murdoch: Action in the US (updated)

by ceebs

For over a Year now, people have been asking when civil court cases would happen in the ongoing Phone Hacking  fun coming from the UK Murdoch enterprise.

People have come to the assumption that if a bunch of soap stars, UK film stars ,and sports stars and their friends and relatives were in reciept of the papers agents attentions, then it only seems logical that the same techniques were applied to the leading lights of Hollywood.

Finally today we hear news of this activity finally rumbling into gear in the US.

Courthouse News Service

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation hacked into the voicemail of Angelina Jolie's stunt double looking for news on Jolie's relationship with Brad Pitt, the body double claims in court.
     Eunice Huthart, of Liverpool, England sued News Corp., NI Group Ltd. fka News International Limited, News Group Newspapers, and John and Jane Does 1-10, in Federal Court. Murdoch is not named as a defendant.
     Huthart claims that nonparty Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who intercepted phone messages for the Murdoch tabloids, hacked her phone in 2004 and 2005. Huthart was working in Los Angeles then as Jolie's stunt double on the movie, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."
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From Private Eye:

IN MARCH Rupert Murdoch met several of the Sun journalists who have been arrested over allegations of paying public officials. The way they were being treated by police, he told them as several tape recorders secreted around the room ran, was “just outrageous…

“I don’t know of anybody that did anything that wasn’t being done across Fleet Street and wasn’t the culture. We’re being picked on, I think... We’re talking about payments for news tips from cops. That’s been going on for a hundred years, absolutely… It was the culture of Fleet Street.”


“I’m sure we’ve made mistakes… We were working under the belief that the police were about to invade the building and take all the computers out and just put us out of business totally… If you want to accuse me of a certain amount of panic, there’s some truth in that. We might have gone too far in protecting ourselves, and you were the victims.”
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Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 07:33 PM PDT

Rupert Murdoch Files For Divorce

by ericlewis0

Reposted from Animal Nuz by ericlewis0


EXCLUSIVE: New Corp chairman/CEO Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from wife Wendi Deng Murdoch, Deadline has learned. The filing was just made this morning in New York State Supreme Court. The couple met in 1997, at a company party in Hong Kong. They married in 1999, less than a month after his divorce from ex-wife Anna Maria Torv Murdoch Mann was finalized. She is perhaps most fondly remembered for standing up for her husband and clocking Jonathan May-Bowles, after he threw a pie at her husband during a highly publicized testimony before a British parliamentary committee in connection with the News International phone hacking scandal. Developing…
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Reposted from Lib Dem FoP by Lib Dem FoP

A (now ex-)police sergeant has been jailed for 10 months for taking the Murdoch shilling in exchange for leaking confidential information. He had previously plead guilty to the charge of "misconduct in public office" and the comparative short sentence reflects that. Following the hearing today, he is the fourth police officer to be jailed as a result of Operation Elveden, the Metropolitan Police's investigation into payments to police from journalists.

In June 2010 Bowes, 30, sold a story to the Sun about a fox attack on a three-year-old at a birthday party, and received £500 from the paper.

He also tried to sell information about the daughter of celebrities Peter Andre and Katie Price...
The sentencing hearing on Thursday heard Bowes emailed the News of the World's news desk in April 2010, giving details about an investigation into Mr Andre and Ms Price, who were separated at the time, after their daughter, Princess Tiaamii, received a slight injury. The investigation by child protection specialists showed that nothing untoward had happened.

On the third occasion, Bowes offered information about the investigation into serial killer Peter Tobin. He said he had details about a clairvoyant member of the public who had contacted police to say there were bodies buried in Brighton.

The person was later contacted by a journalist, but no story was published and Bowes was not paid. However, the psychic said she had lost confidence in the police

Peter Andre is a pop singer who also has a reality TV show on UK's ITV network. Katie Price was an artificially enhanced "glamour" model known as Jordan who frequently appeared topless on "Page 3" of Murdoch's Sun.  


Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 09:11 PM PDT

The twilight of the Murdoch Post

by devtob

Reposted from devtob by ericlewis0

Rupert Murdoch's New York Post has been the most conservative major newspaper in New York state for decades.

The Murdoch Post has been a cheerleader, in its news and editorial pages, for right-wing causes like the Bush wars, hatred of unions, lower taxes for rich people, "traditional marriage," charter schools, fracking, etc.

Though the Murdoch Post obviously appealed to the 27 percent or so of hard-core conservatives (even in NY), its business model never worked. Sure it sold a lot of papers that had ads in them, but the Murdoch Post regularly lost somewhere between $50 million and $100 million a year.

Now that News Corp. has decided to split into a TV/movie/satellite company and a newspaper company next month, the pressure is on to cut costs at money-losing papers.

More below.  

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Wed Jun 05, 2013 at 01:27 PM PDT

Murdoch: Another court day.

by ceebs

After yesterdays Roundup today we had people in court. All the main people who had already been charged  were now at the point in the process where they must Plead. All were there apart from a couple who had been excused and are apparently in at a later date

There was a rash of Not guilty appeals

Rebekah Brooks pleads not guilty to charges related to phone hacking | UK news | The Guardian

Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive, has pleaded not guilty to a series of criminal charges over a nine-year period when she edited the News of the World and the Sun, and latterly ran the newspaper publisher.

She pleaded not guilty to five charges relating to three separate police investigations on Wednesday at Southwark crown court, where she appeared alongside a number of other defendants including her husband, Charlie Brooks, the racehorse trainer and friend of David Cameron.

Brooks pleaded not guilty to one charge relating to an alleged conspiracy to hack phones between October 2000 and August 2006 and not guilty to two further charges relating to an alleged conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office by paying public officials money for stories.

And so at present it still appears that we are due the full Court experience. The date is still scheduled for September, Which means that as yet there are no court delays occuring. The change of Judge hasn't put any crimp in the schedule, which must have improved  things for David Cameron, no longer thinking that the case was going to slide towards the next general election and bring unneccessary attention to his closeness to the accused at such a delicate time.
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