It just never stops:
Eagerly await the next round of hand-wringing from other NewsCorp outlets about the lack of civility in today’s discourse.
Betcha didn’t know NewsCorp has launched a gay wedding magazine, didja? They have, because if there’s one thing that Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp loves more than conservative propaganda, it’s money, and when New York legalized marriage equality this year, guess who was first in line to cash in on the predicted economic boom? Yup, you guessed it! Surprise, surprise.
But NewsCorp’s skip down the gay-aisle hasn’t been without its stumbles. Their clumsy entree into the world of marriage equality has elicited snorts of derision from GLBT activists and media. And taking a look at articles like “Wedding Night Advice From A Heterosexual,” one can easily see why:
Here’s a taste:
Because gays weren’t allowed to marry in New York until recently, you no doubt have a raft of questions about how to properly consummate a wedding.
Seriously? Gay people need wedding night advice from straight people because the law changed? Can you be a little more condescending, please? The whole thing is just beyond silly; I’ll let you read it for yourself, but sage advice like
New York State’s legal embrace means its time to show your partner that you are now connected to each other in the most physical, intimate, way.
just left me scratching my head. But what do I know.
That advice was written by “Wedding Pride” co-editor Gersh Kuntzman — I know, the name made me chuckle too, but it’s not an alias, the guy actually works for NewsCorp’s New York Post. Not surprisingly, as On Top Magazine revealed, the New York Post wrote an opinion piece last June in opposition to marriage equality, calling it “a matter of conscience,” and saying,
Since the dawn of human history, marriage has been defined as the union between one man and one woman, the point being procreation — that is, raising children in a stable, nurturing environment.
That’s actually not true. Since the dawn of human history, marriage has more often been defined as the union between one man and many women, and the point has never been procreation. It has always been an economic transaction. But I digress.
So very interesting that the “heteroseuxal” offering “homosexuals” wedding night advice works for the paper that wrote an editorial opposing marriage equality. Can you say awkward?
As Equality Matters so rightly points out, the most awkward thing of all is NewsCorp’s tortured pretense:
The real problem is the internal inconsistency when it comes to News Corp.’s relationship with the LGBT community. With Wedding Pride, the company can make a profit by appearing as an ally to LGBT people – interested in their stories, their futures, and their rights. At the same time, the company uses Fox News to demonize and belittle every effort by the community to become more fully equal.
If none of this makes any sense to you, it helps to remember that conservative outfits like NewsCorp really have no principles save the profit one. If something looks like it will make them a buck, then expect them to support it. Usually such issues are clear-cut but sometimes things get a little iffy. NewsCorp can usually be trusted to unflinchingly embrace the mouth-breathers and bigots who make up the conservative base. On some issues, however — GLBT equality and green initiatives, for example — the conservative position is actually at odds with what benefits NewsCorp’s bottom line. So NewsCorp is left trying to find some wiggle room in that corner it has backed itself into.
It’s not pretty. It’s just sad.
So I asked why we shouldn’t assume there wasn’t hacking at any of Rupert Murdoch’s U.S. holdings — say, the New York Post — and lo and behold, it turns out they were accused of doing just that, settling two lawsuits just before they went to trial:
In 2009, a federal case in New Jersey brought by a company called Floorgraphics went to trial, accusing News America of, wait for it, hacking its way into Floorgraphics’s password protected computer system.
The complaint summed up the ethos of News America nicely, saying it had “illegally accessed plaintiff’s computer system and obtained proprietary information” and “disseminated false, misleading and malicious information about the plaintiff.”
The complaint stated that the breach was traced to an I.P. address registered to News America and that after the break-in, Floorgraphics lost contracts from Safeway, Winn-Dixie and Piggly Wiggly.
Much of the lawsuit was based on the testimony of Robert Emmel, a former News America executive who had become a whistle-blower. After a few days of testimony, the News Corporation had heard enough. It settled with Floorgraphics for $29.5 million and then, days later, bought it, even though it reportedly had sales of less than $1 million.
But the problems continued, and keeping a lid on News America turned out to be a busy and expensive exercise. At the beginning of this year, it paid out $125 million to Insignia Systems to settle allegations of anticompetitive behavior and violations of antitrust laws. And in the most costly payout, it spent half a billion dollars in 2010 on another settlement, just days before the case was scheduled to go to trial. The plaintiff, Valassis Communications, had already won a $300 million verdict in Michigan, but dropped the lawsuit in exchange for $500 million and an agreement to cooperate on certain ventures going forward.
And who was the head of News America at this time? None other than Paul V. Carlucci: the man who is today publisher of the New York Post.
As the FBI begins its investigation of NewsCorp’s alleged hacking of 9/11 families, Murdoch’s UK newspaper chief and former NOTW editor Rebekah Brooks resigns. If anyone deserves the Keyboard Cat treatment, it’s Brooks. Without further ado:
And Les Hinton is out too,
sez the Twittahz says the Wall Street Journal, it’s official…. James Murdoch next? And what about Piers Morgan over at CNN? He’ll have to go just so CNN can appear to be the most trusted name in news, of course.
I have a couple questions about the Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal, which has taken an even nastier turn.
Is there any reason to think they’re not doing this here, too?
I mean, is there something different about phones and voicemail in the UK vs the US? Are there some different legal issues at play? You know, we have missing white women and trials that capture national attention here. We have a tabloid culture here. Is there any reason to think the
New York Daily News New York Post didn’t (or wouldn’t) hack into the phone messages of New York’s “cop rape trial” victim? Anthony Weiner’s wife? Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s accuser? Not to mention all of the celebrities who have already received settlements from NewsCorp for having their privacy violated?
Was all of this really the doing of just one “overzealous staffer,” Rebekah Brooks?
And is there some reason the U.S. media has done such precious little coverage of this scandal? It’s not as if Murdoch doesn’t have huge U.S. media holdings, it’s not like it’s not a publicly traded company and investors might want to know about a major scandal affecting its share price. Is there a reason we’ve heard so little in the MSM about it?
Inquiring minds want to know.
I did not know that Les Hinton, CEO of the Dow Jones Co. which publishes the Wall Street Journal,
was executive chairman of Murdoch’s newspapers in Britain at the time when the alleged rampant hacking attacks took place.
Also, Hinton oversaw the initial News Corp. investigation into the allegations and found no evidence of widespread wrongdoing within the company. It’s an investigation that, in light of recent developments, now looks to have been incompetent at best, and a fraud at worst.
This makes the rest of the mainstream media’s silence on this story all the more puzzling and, frankly, suspicious. How much longer are you guys going to keep covering for the people who routinely trash your profession?
Let’s hope this isn’t the end of the story.
Oh, woops. They’re just rebranding, not really closing.
As if we needed further proof that a key requirement to being a prominent conservative is acute paranoia, Roger Ailes gives us a shining example:
In 2008, Roger Ailes purchased the Putnam County News and Recorder in rustic Putnam County, New York to start feathering his retirement nest. The idea was that he and Elizabeth would retire to their 9,000-square-foot redoubt in nearby Garrison, N.Y., and Roger would live out his days as the gentleman publisher of a sleepy small-town newspaper. (He bought another paper, the Putnam County Courier, a year later.)
But it was not to be. Ailes—who installed Elizabeth as the day-to-day manager of the papers while he finishes his tenure at Fox News Channel—has run the papers with the singularly paranoid and abusive management style he brings to all his projects, resulting in the defection of his hand-picked editor and two top reporters earlier this month after Ailes told them he’d had them followed, and their private conversations surveilled, to catch them saying mean things about him. The spying followed years of intense weirdness between the editor and the Aileses, who once asked him to personally stop a break-in at their home and who implied that, after Roger’s death, he’d be expected to replace him in their marriage.
Go read the whole piece because, believe it or not, it gets weirder.
Though Ailes’ alleged surveillance is bizarre, it’s worth noting that NewsCorp is in trouble in the U.K. over a phone hacking scandal. Not quite the same as the Ailes story — these were NewsCorp’s News Of The World editors hacking the voicemail of celebrities so they could gather tabloid dirt. Ailes appears to have been indulging in a private sociopathy. But still, what is with the conservative jones for playing spy?
I don’t think this from the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol is a random piece of conservative opinion:
But hysteria is not a sign of health. When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.
Bill Kristol is one of those intellectually dishonest neocons of whom I’ve said, repeatedly, that he’s been wrong about everything since forever. I happen to think if Bill Kristol had an original thought it would die of loneliness, by which I mean, he doesn’t come up with these ideas by himself. I think some serious seeds are being planted within the Republican Party to shove Beck out the door.
Why? Well, I have long suspected Glenn Beck would become a liability for conservatives, sooner rather than later. He was a very useful tool in rallying the partisan base for the midterms, but a presidential election requires an appeal to more mainstream voters. That requires a less divisive approach and in that regard, Beck is a liability.
Last week I saw this item about Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who has a 7% stake in NewsCorp. Al-Waleed bin Talal is the billionaire Saudi financier who is nephew to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. I guess he’s been able to overlook all of the Muslim-bashing Beck and other FOX News folks have been engaged in all these years. But now it appears he’s getting a little nervous about his investment. In the U.K. a Murdoch-owned British tabloid is embroiled in a major phone-hacking scandal which took down the Prime Minister’s director of communications and threatens a major deal to acquire BSkyB; Stateside, Beck’s increasingly unhinged rantings offend American rabbis and tarnish the NewsCorp brand:
Those familiar with bin Talal, who has given tens of millions of dollars to charities seeking to bridge gaps between western and Islamic communities, say he will have been dismayed by any whiff of controversy threatening his business interests.
“He is an incredibly intelligent man and deeply honourable; you can only speculate about what he must be thinking now,” said an acquaintance.
Coming at a time when News Corp wants regulatory approval to take over British satellite broadcaster BSkyB, both the phone-hacking scandal and the row with the rabbis are damaging not only to the company’s reputation but its bottom line.
Worryingly for Murdoch, who is used to his investors taking a back seat, the prince is a far from passive backer. As a sizable investor in bombed-out banking giant Citigroup, bin Talal has been vocal in calling for its management to improve the firm’s fortunes, warning its chief executive last year that the “honeymoon was over”.
I have to think that Beck is far too big a liability for both Republicans’ political aspirations and Murdoch’s business aspirations to hang around much longer. It will be interesting to see if I’m right.
I also find it curious that the U.S. media has done so little coverage of Rupert Murdoch’s UK woes, considering what a navel-gazing bunch our American media is. Anderson Cooper gets bonked on the head and it’s headline news from coast to coast. And you know darn well if MSNBC were in this kind of trouble, FOX would be all over it.
Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if Beck’s fortunes took a sudden turn south. And when that happens, I’m sure liberals will get the blame — some cockamamie story will be concocted to allow conservatives to continue to demonize the left and keep the anger and rancor alive.