Wendi and Rupert Murdoch. Why didn’t Wendi and Tony tell Rupert they met up without him at his California ranch? WikiCommons
Why would Rupert Murdoch’s wife, Wendi Deng, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair spend two overnights (at least) together at one of Rupert’s mansions? Were they talking philosophy? Did Blair just happen to show up at the executive jet lounge when Wendi’s retinue was passing through? Or, was it just an innocent coincidence and not a sure sign that the Deng and Blair were having mad sex, as it were?
The Mail reports, Sunday 11/24, and you decide.
Here’s a piece of extremely wicked irony from the Mail article. After describing how the two met “off the record” on multiple occasions and Rupert’s feud with Blair, the Mail said:
“They also stayed overnight at Mr Murdoch’s home in Los Angeles and met in London and New York, the Mail on Sunday said. There is no suggestion of impropriety by Mr Blair or Miss Deng. ” The Mail Nov 24
There doesn’t need to be a suggestion. It’s all very clear. Read More
Great Britain’s three political parties just made a deal to provide a degree of regulation for the British press. The deal produces a Royal Charter that establishes a press regulator at arms-length from the government plus a regulation regime that the major media companies can join.
The charter is an outgrowth of the Leveson Commission established to get to the bottom of the press abuses in the phone hacking scandal that resurfaced in 2011. Thousands of crime victims, celebrities, and lower profile citizens had their phone hacked by the press and private detectives working for the Murdoch papers and other media outlets. The London Metropolitan Police (the Met) colluded with the Murdoch papers both by ignoring obvious criminal behavior and by using police resources to track and snoop on the news targets of the tabloids.
Why would a news organization join the voluntary regulatory regime if it’s voluntary? Good question. It’s not exactly voluntary. Let’s say The Mirror tabloid failed to join the regulatory organization. Any court cases brought against that paper/company would be subject to extraordinary damages compared to a media outlet that committed the very same transgression but happened to be part of the self-regulatory regime.
Bob Woodward has a tape of a Fox intermediary telling General David Petraeus that he should refuse Obama’s nomination as CIA head and instead run for president on the GOP ticket. The go-between told Petraeus that Ailes would be his effective campaign manager with the full weight of Fox News behind him, and that the “big boss” Rupert Murdoch would bankroll the bid. Petraeus turned down the offer.
Ailes is trying to pass it all off as a joke he was making. No-one believes him. As Steve M points out, “Fox runs the GOP as much as anyone does. Every candidate this year except Huntsman and Paul set out to run a Fox campaign (and you see the result). This will be true for the foreseeable future.”
Juan Cole adds: “the Petraeus tape demonstrates that politics in the United States is now done in ways not much different from Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy. I.e. it is a playground for corrupt billionaires.”
News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch is said to be in early talks to buy the L.A. Times and the Chicago Tribune from Tribune Co.
Los Angeles Times, By Meg James, October 19
With Tribune Co. expected to emerge from bankruptcy soon, News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is looking to acquire two of its trophy properties — the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.
Tribune Co.’s debt holders — two investment firms and a bank — will become majority owners of the company after it exits bankruptcy, which could happen by year’s end. News Corp. executives have had preliminary talks with these debt holders about acquiring the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, according to two ranking News Corp. executives and others familiar with the situation.
These people cautioned that talks are in the early stages, and that a deal is by no means certain. Other potential buyers have expressed interest.
Murdoch heads the world’s largest news company, which includes the Wall Street Journal and the Times of London.
Also, Huffington Post: Why Is the Obama FCC Plotting a Massive Giveaway to Rupert Murdoch?
Word is that Murdoch now covets the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune — the bankrupt-but-still-dominant newspapers (and websites) in the second- and third-largest media markets, where Murdoch already own TV stations.
Under current media ownership limits, he can’t buy them. It’s illegal… unless the Federal Communications Commission changes the rules.
But according to numerous reports, that’s exactly what FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski plans to do. He’s circulating an order at the FCC to lift the longstanding ban on one company owning both daily newspapers and TV stations in any of the 20 largest media markets.
The NY Times reports that UK prosecutors are gearing up for serious criminal charges in the long-running Murdoch newspaper scandal.
In a dramatic new turn in the scandals swirling around Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper outpost, prosecutors said on Tuesday that two former top executives will be charged with paying bribes of up to $160,000 to public officials in addition to several earlier charges against them.
The Crown Prosecution Service identified the onetime aides as Rebekah Brooks, 44, and Andy Coulson, 44, both of whom have had close personal or professional ties to Prime Minister David Cameron. The British leader hired Mr. Coulson as his director of communications while in opposition and kept him on after coming to power in the 2010 elections.
On Tuesday, Mr. Coulson, 44, a former editor of The News of the World tabloid, denied two counts relating to periods before he joined Mr. Cameron’s staff in 2007, and said he would fight them in court.
Ms. Brooks, who faced a single charge of conspiring with another journalist to pay $160,000 over seven years to a defense ministry official, was a neighbor and personal friend of Mr. Cameron.
…The charge of bribing a defense ministry official is potentially the most serious of all those drawn up by prosecutors in the scandal that has enveloped the Murdoch empire in Britain.
Under a new bribery act passed by the British parliament in 2010, described by British legal experts as one of the toughest statutes of its kind anywhere, the maximum penalty for bribing a public official is 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine, but the statute also provides for much lesser penalties.
Rupert Murdoch has insulated himself from these flunkies with golden payoffs, but it beggars imagination that he didn’t know what was going on – indeed, that he wasn’t the instigator. Unfortunately, his vast wealth and political connections give him a buffer against justice.
The UK’s ITV News:
Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was formally charged with phone hacking today and will appear in court next month, Scotland Yard said.
Brooks, who is 44, answered bail at Lewisham police station tonight and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on September 3.
Six others journalists from the News of the World, including David Cameron’s former spin doctor Andy Coulson, have been officially charged and will appear at the same court on August 16.
The seven stand accused of one general charge of alleged phone hacking between October 2000 and August 2006 that could affect as many as 600 victims.
Brooks, of Churchill, Oxford, and Coulson face specific charges of illegally accessing the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
There’s going to be a lot of stuff comes out at these trials – more about NI staff corrupting senior British police officers, for example. I hope US authorities are going to be paying attention.
Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper is a reliably conservative tabloid politically, despite it’s ever-popular paparazzi photo articles of female celebrities scantily clad in public places. More hawkish, more Colonel Blimp-ish, more conservative than the current Prime Minister, certainly. That’s the only reason I can imagine why the Mail has been trashing Cameron’s public-private partnership with Goldman Sachs to run the London Olympics so asiduously lately. It’s not as if the editors or readers of the mail would normally give a flying fig about the plight of Chinese and Cambodian sweatshop workers making souvenirs and London Olympic branded garments for big businesses, or about immigrant cleaners forced to live in sqalid conditions while working as cleaners at the games.
Cameron has made himself unpopular with the kind of conservative represented by the Mail’s editors by suggesting things like state-approved gay marriages and by being staunchy pro-Europe, refusing referendums on the UK’s role in Europe that would actually be playtime for bigots and nationalists.
In the power vacuum created by Murdoch’s scandalous woes, the Mail sees itself as the successor king-maker tabloid to The Sun. There may well be a Conservative leadership challenge coming from the right when the Con-Lib coalition inevitably falls apart. The Daily Mail will be there with bells on, pushing a tea-partyish agenda that just as in the U.S. is just smoke and mirrors by hardline rightwingers assuming a facade of populism. In the meantime the Olymics will be just one issue where it will gleefully look like it gives a flying fuck, as long as the scandals it reports will show Cameron’s government in a bad light by association.
Two of Rupert Murdoch’s former editors, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, are being charged with conspiring to hack the phone of the missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
In all seven senior News of the World journalists are being charged with conspiring to intercept the voicemails of a total of 600 victims, the Crown Prosecution announced today.
Glenn Mulcaire, the paper’s private detective, will also face charges in relation four victims including the former Home Secretary Charles Clarke and TV cook Delia Smith.
They are the first charges for phone hacking to be brought for six years, since 2006 when the News of the World royal editor, Clive Goodman, was prosecuted for hacking the phones of three royal aides.
This is where it started
Milly Dowler phone hacking: former editor in spotlight
Police investigation turns to events on Rebekah Brooks’ watch to find out who at News International knew about abuses
Tweeted by Nico Hines, US reporter for the Times of London: “Rupert Murdoch has resigned as director of News International and The Times”. According to Neal Mann of the WSJ, a news International internal email to staff says the resignation is “part of the preparation of the business for the upcoming restructure into two companies”. Obviously, Rupert couldn’t convince any of his offspring to head the new company. Either that or the N.I. board finally decided Rupert was too hot to handle.
More after the jump.
By Michael Collins
News Corporation is facing an investor rebellion in Great Britain that parallels a similar rebellion occurring in the United States. (Image)
“A consortium of 18 heavyweight investors is calling for Mr Murdoch to stand down as chairman in the interests of good corporate governance and be replaced by an independent figure who is seen to be acting in the best interests of shareholders.” The Independent, July 20
The investors have filed a resolution to remove Murdoch from power at the October News Corp shareholders meeting. The resolution will accompany those already filed by large investors in the United States.
What upsets the 18? Murdoch and his family have too much control. That control serves the family well, but not the shareholders. Specifically, recent scandals have hurt News Corp performance. Read More
Eighteen shareholders sign letter calling for the media mogul to step down ahead of annual meeting later in the year
Major shareholders have renewed their push for media mogul Rupert Murdoch to resign as News Corp chairman at the company’s annual meeting later this year.
Eighteen major shareholders including Connecticut’s state pension fund and the UK’s Legal & General have now signed a letter calling for Murdoch to step down from the company he has spent 60 years creating.
News Corp has been rocked by revelations of widespread phone hacking at its UK newspaper subsidiary. Earlier this year a UK parliamentary committee said Murdoch was “not a fit person” to run an international business.
“We believe it is important for News Corporation to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance in order to protect the value of our investment. Given the recent reputational, legal and regulatory risks brought about by allegations of phone hacking and payments to police officers by News Corporation subsidiaries in the UK and subsequent investigations in the UK and the US, we believe the board is in need of independent leadership,” the shareholders wrote to Murdoch. Read More
The thing about Rupert Murdoch is that he loves power more than money – which is why he’s always been more interested in his loss-making newspaper empire and the political leverage it provides than the rest of his vast, money-making entertainment conglomerate. In the Guardian, Michael Wolff comments on the announcement that News International may spin it’s newspapers off into a new company to be controlled by the Murdoch Family Trust.
The bad news just keeps getting worse for the Murdoch news empire and British PM David Cameron, now inextricably linked together in the ongoing phone hacking scandal by Cameron’s employement of one arrested Murdoch executive, Andy Coulson, and close friendship with another, Rebekah Brooks.
Coulson, formerly News of the World editor and Cameron’s communications director, has now been detained by Scottish police on suspicion of perjury in connection with the conviction of a Scottish Socialist MSP (on perjury charges, ironically) in 2010. This in addition to his arrest by London cops.
At what point will Congress take an interest, do you think? I’d personally be utterly amazed if News International’s phone-hacking and dirty dealing malaise was confined to its British subsiduaries. Do congresscritters truly not worry that their conversations might have been hacked by Murdoch’s mafia, or do they already know they were and are keeping silent because Murdoch has their dirt?
By Michael Collins
(Washington, 2/30/2012) At the end of Monday’s Leveson Inquiry with Tony Blair on the stand, Lord Justice Leveson sent the credibility of the effort’s summary findings straight to Hell. After Blair’s pressured presentation and an interruption by a protester who called Blair a war criminal, Leveson began an odd exchange with the former Prime Minister. It began with this request to Blair:
Lord Justice Leveson:
2 So whatever assistance you can give, who have
3 thought about how you change things for the future, I’d
4 be very interested. Let me give you some potential
5 issues. (May 28 transcript page 38)
If things had ended there, this could be seen as a modest invitation, one Leveson might have offered any number of witnesses as a general courtesy. But the justice was not finished. He outlined specific issues covering five pages of transcript.
This was no a casual request. We witnessed the supposedly objective judge of press excesses recruiting a former politician who had just spent several hours intermittently bemoaning to Queen’s Counsel (QC) Robert Jay just how difficult it was for him to deal with the press. Read More