Fox News parent company, the 'Enemies list' and an Ethics free zone

Rove says Obama has 'enemies list'
President George W. Bush's former senior adviser went as far as to suggest that Obama was using President Richard Nixon's tactics and having an "enemies list."

You know, I looked at this story, and couldn't for the life of me figure out, after all the terrible things which the Fox News network, especially Karl Rove, say about Democrats, the Obama administration and the man himself, why a line as lame as 'he has a secret enemies list' would even be considered a worthy, creative talking point.
I mean after all isn't the Obama administration going to create death panels, bring in Sharia law, turn the country to communofascisocialism or something like that. Whilst also only having a birth certificate for some foreign country called Hawaii?

You want to know why? I think it has something to do with his employer... Rupert Murdoch being accused of exactly that...

If you are unaware, Fox News major stakeholders are it's 80 year old chief, Rupert Murdoch, born in Australia but naturalized as an American at age 54 so he could own US media assets, and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

As well as maintaining an influence in the US through it's Fox News and Tea Party franchise, News Limited, parent of Fox, has virtually locked up the Newspaper, magazine, cable News markets in Australia.

One of their major title's with a readership of around 1.5 million in a market of 5 million, is the Melbourne Herald Sun.
Back in November of 2008, this paper replaced it's editor, Bruce Guthrie with the parting not being very amicable.

31 March 2010
Brave or foolish, Guthrie to go toe-to-toe with News Limited
It is a truth universally acknowledged that only the very brave or the very foolish buy a battle with News Limited. That company takes no prisoners. It fights to win.

Guthrie, Crikey readers will remember, is suing News Limited for $2.7 million, claiming that he was sacked in a “capricious, unfair and unreasonable” fashion on November 10, 2008, by News Limited CEO John Hartigan.

To cut a long story as short as possible Bruce Guthrie claimed his retrenchment was as a result of something the paper had run about the Victorian police comissioner at the time who was a good friend of Rupert Murdoch's sister.

Guthrie v News: the truth hurts, as more dirt is dished
Guthrie said Blunden had confronted him in his office before a lunch date to air objections to the story from Rupert Murdoch’s sister, and then-News chairwoman, Janet Calvert-Jones. But Blunden denied ever uttering the phrases attributed to him by Guthrie that “Janet’s not happy” and “Janet thinks we’ve been too hard on Christine”.

Of course the court case was accompanied by a litany of nasty character attacks by the most effective character assassination/swift boating media enterprise that has ever existed :

O’Bryan accused Hartigan of a “gratuitous, unfair, unjustified attack” against his former employee in the court, which has been hearing evidence from both sides over the past week.

At the end of the day, this is where things ended up :

Friday, 14 May 2010
Guthrie wins out, judge slams Harto & Blunden
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Kaye has issued a stinging ruling in former Herald Sun editor Bruce Guthrie’s landmark unfair dismissal case against News Limited, awarding Guthrie $580,808 plus costs that could send his total payout to over $1 million and slamming the News Ltd witnesses’ testimony in the process.

Read more here : Bruce Guthrie

So once again, News Limited was deemed to be behaving innapropriately if not unethically, as they do quite often it seems nowadays.

There was of course when they showed a scene from the Untouchables of people being beat with baseball bats to intimidate a competitor :

IVONIA, Mich. (AP) -- News Corp. subsidiary News America Marketing has agreed to pay rival Valassis Communications Inc. $500 million to settle antitrust charges.

Valassis accused News America of threatening customers with price hikes for not offering exclusivity in marketing deals.

In a statement Saturday, News Corp. said it did not want to risk presenting the case to a jury in Michigan federal court, where it was scheduled for trial Tuesday. "it was in the best interests of the company and its stockholders to agree to a settlement."

The $1.5 billion suit contained the juicy tidbit that News America used a video of the baseball bat beating scene from The Untouchables as an illustration of its corporate strategy.....

An appeal was denied in December 2009 :
Valassis lawsuit reward stays, News Corp motion denied

There was also the case where a second set of accounting books were being used so a sporting team was able to dodge salary caps. Because of a smallish population of 22 million people, our national football team codes often put a total limit in dollars, which can be paid to players, thus making the competition more competitive. Individual players can still be paid a lot of money, it just means the team has less to spend on the other players.
Mr Murdoch started a Football coverage war back in the mid-1990's against an existing National League, by starting his own league and poaching the very best players, it's stars, by offering outrageously inflated salaries.

Super League war
The Super League war is the common name given to the corporate dispute that was fought in and out of court during the mid-1990s between the Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation-backed Super League (Australia) and the Kerry Packer and Optus Vision-backed Australian Rugby League organisations over broadcasting rights for, and ultimately control of the top-level professional rugby league football competition of Australasia.

So Mr Murdoch ended up owning the cable transmission rights, owning a large chunk of the league he broke up, but also bought one of the teams called Melbourne Storm. Kind of seems like there could be a risk of a conflict of interest wouldn't you think :

The buck stops with News Ltd in the Melbourne Storm scandal
Never before has a company the size of New Corporation — which owns 100% of Melbourne Storm and 50% of the entire National Rugby League competition — been involved in a sporting scandal of this magnitude.

Following claims by a whistleblower that the club was keeping a second set of books, the NRL conducted an investigation in late 2009 and early 2010. After initially denying the claims, Storm officials confessed on 22 April 2010 that the club had committed serious and systematic breaches of the salary cap for the last five years by running a well-organized dual contract and bookkeeping system which left the NRL ignorant of $3.17 million in payments made to players outside of the salary cap, including $550,000 in 2007, $965,000 in 2009 and $1.03 million in 2010.

The club was incredibly successful, I guess that's what happens when the rules are only being honored by some.

The club won the minor premiership three times in a row from 2006–2008 and contested each grand final from 2006 to 2009, winning in 2007 and 2009, although these titles were later stripped for salary cap breaches. They were named the NRL Team of the Decade for the 2000s.

And who can forget this :

A phone-hacking scheme involving British royals and reporters working for one of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid newspapers went far beyond what was previously disclosed and prosecuted, according toThe New York Times.

According to the N.Y. Times, reporters working under Coulson targeted hundreds of victims — from Princes Harry and William to government and police officials and numerous celebrities, including soccer star David Beckham and his wife.

There has also been a bit reported on the temper of the Murdoch clan when things don't quite go the way they'd like.

Rupert Murdoch's Biographer :
"Rupert responded in a way that is to me beyond reason, beyond scale, beyond what civilised men do. He attacked my family."

His son James, who runs News Limited in the UK which owns about 40% of the press there

James Murdoch at the Independent: 'like a scene out of Dodge City'
The episode left experienced journalists shocked. "They strode in like a scene out of Dodge City," said one. "Murdoch scanned the room, you could almost hear him saying 'Where is he?'"

Hopefully I have set up the context of what we are dealing with in this benign charge from Karl Rove, which no doubt will be this weeks talking point on Fox News.

When Murdoch aggressively targeted the Football League, there were naturally some who were not too pleased about seeing the team they had supported for their entire lives, disbanded for commercial interests. One of these was an outspoken journalist called Andrew Denton.

So it comes as no surprise with the personalization of the attacks on his former editor, that he chose to write a book, and surprise, surprise, this vindictive, punitive organization has a black list :

October 9, 2010
Nudge nudge, don't mention Denton
TELEVISION producer and on-air personality Andrew Denton is on a secret News Limited blacklist of public figures who are not welcome in Rupert Murdoch's national newspaper, The Australian, according to a book being launched this week.

Former Herald Sun editor-in-chief Bruce Guthrie, in his book Man Bites Murdoch, says he first got wind of the Murdoch blacklist when he was editor of the Weekend Australian Magazine in 2005 and Denton was profiled in a regular segment ''Ten things you didn't know about … ''

Guthrie says the deputy editor, Graham Erbacher, approached him and half-whispered: ''You know that Denton is persona non grata around here.'' Guthrie asked why. ''It all goes back to Super League,'' Erbacher replied.

Remember when Karl Rove came up with this unimaginative 'secret enemies list?' - not 48 hours later

Karl Rove: Spinning a 2010 'Enemies List'....on "Fox News Sunday

Some people think this may be a co-incidence, I do not.

Of course, with this book by Bruce Guthrie being released in the next week, by an unhappy former employee, no doubt Mr Murdoch does not want this in the headlines. So what to do one would ask? How about get an ex-employee to create a non-troversy to cover for his ex-boss?

Well it just so happens that Murdoch's News Limited in Australia is a highly partisan right wing media outlet which has been trying to destroy the Australian governing party and replace it with a party headed by an ex-employee, Tony Abbott.

Abbott began public life as a journalist for The Bulletin, an influential news magazine, and The Australian Newspaper.

The Australian is published by News Limited, an asset of News Corporation, that also owns the sole or most popular metropolitan daily in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin.

I wrote about the shenanigans of News Limited in September of 2009
An Aussie Visiting America - Adrenalin Media

and of course when the ex-News employee Tony Abbott engineered a takeover, with News Ltd's help, of the opposition party to become leader
Has the Australian Opposition Party devolved to "Lord of the Flies"? Updated. Abbott wins

Of course the policy which was destroyed was the one which would have meant Australia introduced a carbon reduction scheme right before Copenhagen. Ever wonder if all these things are related? I sure do.

Particularly when you read that a 'News' organization has stated outright it is out to destroy a legitimate political party.

The Australian announces that it wants to “destroy” the Greens
Until today, I’d never seen a national broadsheet with pretensions to fair and balanced reporting actually admit that it wasn’t just biased against a party supported by 14% of the country, it wanted to “destroy” it. But that’s just what The Australian did in its editorial today:

So what does a loyal ex-employee do to distract attention away from the news on News Limited which they know is coming the following weekend? This :

Action man Abbott's jet lag excuse makes mockery of election marathon
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has blamed jet lag for passing up Prime Minister Julia Gillard's invitation to visit Australian troops in Afghanistan.

OK looks like a pretty bad Faux Pas, but these guys know how to manipulate the media, so of course there was more to come following the weekend and of course The Australian and Tony Abbott were playing the Australian press like a fiddle :

TONY Abbott says he told Julia Gillard at a meeting on September 22 that he had booked a visit to the Australian troops in Afghanistan.

In what he has called an "act of low bastardry", he says she failed to reveal this information as a corrosive argument ran unchecked as to which political party was more supportive of the troops.

So this is what we have -
Dismissed employee wins unfair dismissal case against News Ltd
Discloses in book extracts over the weekend that News Ltd runs a black-list and names a high profile personality who has been targeted
A non-troversy is required, News Ltd's ex-employee, now opposition leader seems to stumble and offer an 'own goal' by making a statement about Jetlag preventing him from visiting Australia's troops in favor of visiting UK Tories for a Political conference
Rove claims Obama has an enemies list
Tony Abbott attacks the government claiming political bastardry over headlines he himself was completely responsible for

Abbott’s jetlag excuse – more than it seems?
Both of Abbott’s would-be defenders have inflicted more damage on the Liberal leader than any of his own words. But why on earth would they do this? Was this a case of standard attack politics – divert attention from one’s own problems by creating an issue out of nothing? Were they just caught on the hop, and unable to come up with anything more substantial?

But the real thing which troubles me most about all of this, is the choice of headline The Australian newspaper chose to run for this latest disrespectful attack on the highest office in the land and it's associated photo :
Tony Abbott takes aim at Julia Gillard over Afghan trip 'bastardry'

Remind you of anyone saying anything which was intended to infer an action which is unacceptable, is acceptable?
How about another News Limited, Fox News contributor who is also a politician :
Palin to Dr. Laura: "Don't retreat... reload" after "1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist"

Take it as you will, but my question is what was the message this headline and associated photo meant to convey?

Sure has taken the heat off the claims News Ltd isn't all it's cracked up to be. In fact I doubt there are too many Australian's who'd even know or care about their unethical behavior.

There is one more thing which has me convinced we are dealing with an entity here, which is verging on the edge of being completely out of control, the thing which ties all these common lines of attack together :

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp launches global service to link all its outlets NewsCore system will make content from all company's TV stations, papers and sites instantly available to the rest
The service, called NewsCore, will operate like a global wire service for all the company's newspapers, TV networks and websites. News Corp is describing the venture as a "21st-century multi-media information service that will draw on the worldwide news and sports resources within News Corporation and make them available to other News properties everywhere".

Does News Ltd = Big Brother

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Great Interview with Bruce Guthrie

Video and transcript

Man bites Murdoch

And I suddenly realised after being a victimiser after all these years as a journalist that it feels pretty uncomfortable to be in the spotlight and to be a victim.

He worked for the same company that owns Fox News. Says a lot, no?