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Another News Corp. Scandal Rocks Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal

Reported by Ellen - October 12, 2011 -

Believe it or not, there’s a new News Corp. scandal and it has caused the resignation of one of its most senior executives in Europe: Andrew Langhoff, the European managing director of the Journal's parent company, Dow Jones and Co. Langhoff’s resignation comes in the wake of an investigation by The Guardian into a scheme to inflate The Journal’s circulation statistics in Europe. (H/T Think Progress)

It’s a complicated story but in essence it appears that the publisher struck deals to have copies of its paper purchased at a reduced rate and, as part of the return compensation, ran promotional "news" stories about at least one of the companies helping them out. Even worse, when a whistleblower alerted Journal management in New York, they did nothing to stop it.

The Guardian reports:

The Guardian found evidence that the Journal had been channelling money through European companies in order to secretly buy thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate, misleading readers and advertisers about the Journal's true circulation.

The bizarre scheme included a formal, written contract in which the Journal persuaded one company to co-operate by agreeing to publish articles that promoted its activities, a move which led some staff to accuse the paper's management of violating journalistic ethics and jeopardising its treasured reputation for editorial quality.

Internal emails and documents suggest the scam was promoted by Andrew Langhoff, the European managing director of the Journal's parent company, Dow Jones and Co, which was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in July 2007. Langhoff resigned on Tuesday.

The highly controversial activities were organised in London and focused on the Journal's European edition, which circulates in the EU, Russia, and Africa. Senior executives in New York, including Murdoch's right-hand man, Les Hinton, were alerted to the problems last year by an internal whistleblower and apparently chose to take no action. The whistleblower was then made redundant.

You may recall that the man who was the Chief Executive of Dow Jones at the time was Les Hinton - whose role in the phone hacking scandal cost him his job last summer. Phone hacking didn't just happen under Hinton's watch during his previous gig, as chairman of News Corp.’s UK publishing umbrella, News International, there are serious questions as to whether he may have helped to cover it up.

You can’t help but wonder where – or if – the corruption ends at News Corp. and how much more of it infected its operations in the United States. If you haven’t already, please consider signing Free Press’ petition to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa asking him to investigate News Corp. and hold the Murdochs accountable.

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