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As The Murdoch Turns: The Week’s Newest News Corp. News

Reported by Aunty Em - September 30, 2011 -

NEW NEWS HACKING NEWS: As News Hounds has been reporting, the Murdoch Empire is still in deep doo doo as revelations in the phone hacking scandal continue to roil both sides of the ocean. Now comes word that News Corp. investors are demanding the removal/firing/dismissal/sacking/ouster/elimination/giving the boot to Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch, son of Rupert and third in line at the beleaguered media conglomeration. According to The Guardian a shareholders’ group has delivered a letter to the Board of Directors which reads, in part, “We question James Murdoch's suitability as a senior executive and potential successor to Rupert Murdoch. As a senior executive at News International it is unclear why he did not initiate in-depth inquiries at an earlier stage and why former colleagues now directly and publicly contradict his stated position that he was unaware that hacking extended beyond [Clive] Goodman [the News of the World's former royal editor].” And, it won’t get any better for the board or shareholders: Parliament plans to recall James and Rupert Murdoch for further questioning, but this time plans to place them both under oath.

However, that’s not the only Newest News Corp. News™ this week:

AUSTRALIAN JUDGE RULES MURDOCH PAPER RACIST: The Hollywood Reporter reports that a “News Corp. Paper Broke Race Laws, Australian Court Rules,” right there in the land down under where Murdoch began his empire. At the end of a class-action lawsuit a judge ruled that the Melbourne Herald Sun and writer Andrew Bolt contravened Australia's Racial Discrimination Act and “offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated” Aborigines with such articles in 2009 as “It's so hip to be black” and “White fellas in the black.” The articles intimated that light-skinned Aboriginals were claiming to be Black for personal gain. Now, if only the judge could look into the comment sections and dog whistles on Fox News dot com and Fox Nation, which have proven to be racist time and time again.

BLAMING IT ALL ON MURDOCH: Britain’s Baron Black of Crossharbour is pointing his finger at Rupert Murdoch for his fall from grace. Baron Black—also known in Canada as “former-Media mogul Conrad Moffat Black” and currently known here in Florida as an “inmate” at the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami—takes quite a few swipes at his former-rival Rupert Murdoch in his new book.

While the name Conrad Black is barely known to most ‘Merkins, Canadians are well aware of Black because at one time he was vying to be Canada’s very own Rupert Murdoch, buying up newspapers and other media operations and making it up to #3 on the World Media Baron Scale. If the Right Wing slant of his papers didn’t anger Canadians, they were certainly moved to resentment when he renounced his Canadian citizenship during a pissing match with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 2001. This came about when British Prime Minister Tony Blair (who never met a media baron he wouldn’t suck up to) advised Queen Elizabeth to give Black a peerage. Chretien, whose Liberal Party was often the target of Black’s newspapers, reminded the Queen that an obscure law, the 1919 Nickle Resolution, prevented Canadians from receiving titular honors from the Sovereign. Because Black held a dual Canadian/British citizenship, he thought it wouldn’t matter. But, it mattered to Chretien, who held firm. In a fit of pique, after exhausting all his legal remedies, Black renounced his Canadian citizenship in order to become Baron Black. Later, after Black was convicted in ‘Merkin courts of some illegal jiggery-pokery, Canadians experienced schadenfreude. Now Black has just published “A Matter of Principal,” his look at the (literal) trials and tribulations which found him wearing prison pinstripes. HuffPo has excerpted a portion of the book, some of which shines a light on Rupert Murdoch:

The press release [announcing my resignation] was on the wires the following Monday morning [after my decision]. In the next 24 hours, the full force of the media hostility to anyone suspected of abusing an executive position -- and to me personally -- came pouring forth in Britain and Canada and a few sections of the United States. Murdoch's newspapers had been stoking up all through the run-up and went straight into joyous orbit. The London Sun began a widely emulated trend by announcing in a headline that I was likely to be sent to prison. Murdoch's New York Post did the same. Most of the newspapers that reprinted and even embellished the extraordinary vitriol of the British press had no idea that part of the anger with me was an ideological divide. Instead, like children wallowing in a mudbath, North American press and television picked up without any pretense of investigation every last vicious canard written in the U.K. newspapers about Hollinger, Barbara [Amiel Black, his wife] and me.

Murdoch had his own motives of course. His New York Post became the outlet for every fictional tale of my enemies and then some enthusiastically invented by the Post itself. One day it would report that I had terrorized a table at the New York restaurant La Goulou after overhearing their table chat. Another time it recounted a negative incident involving Barbara that took place, according to the Post, at a London party when she was, in fact, in New York. The inventions were tabloid gutter, which, after all, has never ceased to be Murdoch's chief stock in trade, in print, and on television.

Black has far more to say about Murdoch. However, read it with a grain of salt; Baron Black of Crossharbour blames everyone but himself for his legal problems and takes no responsibility. Despite that he seems to have captured Murdoch perfectly when he writes, “Murdoch has no friendships, only interests; no nationality emotionally -- the company he has built is his nation. Except Ronald Reagan, and perhaps Tony Blair, he has deserted almost every politician he ever supported, including Paul Keating, Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Jimmy Carter, and Hillary Clinton, to several of whom he owed much.”

SPEAKING OF TABLOIDS AND MURDOCK: Will Mick Jagger be channeling Rupert Murdoch? The Guardian’s Andrew Pulver writes of an upcoming movie called “Tabloid,” with Mick Jagger “playing a Murdoch-esque international media mogul.” According to Deadline, “Tabloid” is an “adult thriller that is being fashioned as a potential starring vehicle for Mick Jagger. Jagger had the idea for the film,” which is being scripted by Josh Olson. Since Jagger has been a target of Brit tabloids for several decades, it will be interesting to see his take on Rupert Murdoch. Note to Mick: Revenge is a dish best served cold, but feel free to dish.