News Corp. Sends Angry Lawyers In When Other Publications Use Leaked Documents To Report On Its Failing Businesses

from the despite-doing-the-same-to-others... dept

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has a rather long and somewhat sordid history of obtaining confidential information and publishing it. But apparently when someone else does that to News Corp., the company declares war. The Australian website Crikey got its hands on some internal News Corp. documents showing how badly its Australian newspapers were performing. The financial results were disastrous. Apparently, News Corp. didn’t take the story particularly well and sent in its angry lawyers:

In a letter to general counsels at Fairfax Media, Seven West Media, APN News & Media, the ABC, SBS, Nine Entertainment Co and Ten Network Holdings, Ian Philip, chief general counsel at News Corp Australia, wrote: ?It has come to the attention of News Limited that has today published documents and information which is highly confidential and commercially sensitive to News.

?In particular, Crikey has published in full News Corps’ Weekly Operating Statement for a week ending 30 June 2013, as well as a number of articles referring to the contents of the Weekly Operating Statement.

?The disclosure of this document is entirely unauthorised, and News is taking the necessary and appropriate action against Crikey (including considering all available legal avenues).

?News will also take appropriate action against any other entity or individual who publishes the Weekly Operating Statement and/or its contents, including by referring to or summarising its contents.

Soon after this, Crikey and News Corp. “reached a legal agreement” whereby Crikey agreed to take down and “destroy” the document, but with no gag order or injunction on its reporting over what was in the document.

Of course, the really amazing part in all of this is just how hypocritical News Corp. is in trying to suppress the leak. Others have pointed out that News Corp. has a history of doing exactly the sort of thing it’s now complaining about:

Media academic Associate Professor David McKnight, who has authored a book about Mr Murdoch, says News Corp is being “extraordinarily hypocritical”.

“Coming from a media company that frequently publishes leaks, you really only have to imagine what News Corp would do if they had their hands on an equivalent document on Fairfax’s internal operations, it would have been spread all over the front page with half a dozen gloating articles inside,” he said.

“I can’t imagine that News Corp would go ahead with the suggestion that there would be legal action, I mean it would just be the most extraordinary hypocrisy.”

And, in fact, another publication (part of Fairfax) notes that News Corp. has indeed done exactly that to Fairfax in the past:

News Corp titles in the past have published the odd article based on internal Fairfax Media documents (not more than 20 or so in the last year). And nothing could be more scrupulous than their concern for the public good when The Australian published outdated salaries of senior ABC journalists.

Oh, and that same report notes that News Corp.’s own reporters, in publishing the salaries of ABC journalists, had mocked them as “overpaid.” But the internal report that Crikey published showed that not only is News Corp.’s The Australian losing a ton of money, its employees are paid even more than those ABC journalists.

And those ABC journalists are now having fun with this, highlighting a number of recent News Corp. stories that rely on leaked documents. Here are just a few:

Last month, The Advertiser obtained leaked documents …

? The Advertiser, 25th February, 2014

The deal is outlined in a document obtained exclusively by The Daily Telegraph.

? The Daily Telegraph, 22nd July, 2013

The Weekend Australian can also reveal that a highly confidential report, prepared by global management consulting firm Bain & Company, recommends ruthless strategies to slash costs.

? The Australian, 10th May, 2014

And, of course, this effort to suppress the news has only drummed up that much more attention for just how poorly Murdoch’s Australian news business is doing, increasing the length of the news cycle.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: news corp

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “News Corp. Sends Angry Lawyers In When Other Publications Use Leaked Documents To Report On Its Failing Businesses”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Stuart says:

Re: Re: Couldn't happen to a better outfit

There is a reason Fox News does so well.
It is not the reason that many liberals believe. We know this because the most outrageous stuff comes in from MSNBC and their ratings are horrible.
The reason is simply this. Conservatives are interested in news. Liberals on the other hand if they have any intreset at all in news it is the entertainment kind. Not political, business or world news.
So Fox, being of a more conservative slant gets many more people watching. The people who like MSNBC more than Fox are busy at the club or watching the Simpsons.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

News Corp has turned from reporting on news to making news, to prolonging news about themself. The trust needed in the paper is gone when the making news starts and that makes it not worth reading. Now they are sabotaging the attention they get from other sources. They have become proof that media organisations can be media whores too.

It is getting more and more difficult not to call them people. Media organisations are people too!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...