The problem with Rupert Murdoch’s “philosophy” is that eventually something starts to “smell” really bad and they start digging. The more they dig, the more bodies they find. Like peeling an onion.
David Carr, “Media Equation” columnist for The New York Times, taks with Rachel Maddow about the News Corps record of unethical bullying and illegal business behavior and looks ahead to Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks testifying before British Parliament Tuesday.
There is a possibility that Ms. Brooks may not testify because of her arrest on Sunday.
Troubles That Money Can’t Dispel
By David Carr
“Bury your mistakes,” Rupert Murdoch is fond of saying. But some mistakes don’t stay buried, no matter how much money you throw at them.
Time and again in the United States and elsewhere, Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation has used blunt force spending to skate past judgment, agreeing to payments to settle legal cases and, undoubtedly more important, silence its critics. In the case of News America Marketing, its obscure but profitable in-store and newspaper insert marketing business, the News Corporation has paid out about $655 million to make embarrassing charges of corporate espionage and anticompetitive behavior go away.
Litigation can have an annealing effect on companies, forcing them to re-examine the way they do business. But as it was, the full extent and villainy of the hacking was never known because the News Corporation paid serious money to make sure it stayed that way.
And the money the company reportedly paid out to hacking victims is chicken feed compared with what it has spent trying to paper over the tactics of News America in a series of lawsuits filed by smaller competitors in the United States.
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 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.
Murdoch’s tactics are not a secret. In an article from Forbes written in 2005, Peter Lattman described the business practices by Paul V. Carlucci, then head of the marketing division of News America:
Paul V. Carlucci takes no prisoners. The head of a marketing division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Carlucci once rallied his sales force by showing a film clip from The
Untouchables in which Al Capone beats a man to death with a baseball bat.
I wonder if Mr. Carlucci is friends with Carl Palladino the former NY State gubernatorial candidate with a penchant for solving problems with a baseball bat?