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 Crikey.com.au 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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    alternatives(), Aug 26th, 2014 @ 1:16pm

    If only there was a news corp tied production

    that had a graphic of someone pointing and saying Ha-Ha!

    My that would be grand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 26th, 2014 @ 1:17pm

    Couldn't happen to a better outfit

    News Corp. is nothing but bottom-feeding scum. It's pleasant to see them squealing when they get a dose of their own medicine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Couldn't happen to a better outfit

    If only FNC's finances were as rotten

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 1:48pm

    hasn't taken long to realise what News Corps boss is like, has it? wants all the top stories except when it involves themselves

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 2:38pm

    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!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 26th, 2014 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re:

    When did News Corp engage in actual news reporting? I missed that phase.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    tracyanne, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 3:07pm

    News Corporation

    It's just a name... not a description.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 3:20pm

    Re: News Corporation

    Remember, FOX News won a lawsuit over the ability to lie to its viewers because it is 'entertaininmemt'. They still deserve all the 1st Amendment rights, but they (and the rest of cable news) needs to be exposed for the frauds they are

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Kronomex, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 3:47pm

    It's the old adage: Do as I say, not as I do. I have a feeling that once Murdoch kicks the bucket News Corp and Fox will start tearing themselves apart. He won't, by me at least, be missed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 4:35pm

    Fair and Balanced ... lol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2014 @ 5:18pm

    Re:

    they don't use the slogan 'fair and balanced' here in Oz, with +70% of the media it would be moking themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    MrTroy (profile), Aug 26th, 2014 @ 11:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The Australian (mentioned in the article) is a decent newspaper, in fairness. Obviously not a decent business model, but the news reporting is good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 12:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It isn't bad when it stays away from topics it cares about (cigarette plain packaging, for example), and if you don't mind the rather pro-Liberal bias.

    At least it is better than the Fin Review for not making stuff up that it wishes were true.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    MrTroy (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 1:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It isn't bad when it stays away from topics it cares about (cigarette plain packaging, for example), and if you don't mind the rather pro-Liberal bias.

    Isn't identifying the bias part of the requirement of reading any news source? :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Stuart, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 12:15pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 27th, 2014 @ 1:03pm

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

    Wow, I couldn't come up with a comment that was more disconnected from reality if I tried! Good job!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    tracyanne, Aug 27th, 2014 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Pro Liberal Bias

    For our US friends, that is the same as a Pro Republican Bias.

    In Australian politics, when one is referring to Liberals, one is referring the to Liberal/National Coalition, a conservative right of centre party, and our current government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 6:56am

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

    Shame we can't get a "too stupid to feed themselves" button.

    We really need user-customisable buttons.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 28th, 2014 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Pro Liberal Bias

    Ah, thank you for explaining this. The reference to "liberal" confused me massively.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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