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Response to hrmjustin (Reply #2)

Sun May 26, 2013, 06:56 PM

4. Behind the Resignation of Murdoch's Top Lawyer: $656M in Defeats

By Jim Edwards

Behind the Resignation of Murdoch's Top Lawyer: $656M in Defeats

News Corp. (NWS) senior evp/general counsel Lawrence "Lon" Jacobs resigned June 8, a move the New York Times linked to the celebrity phone hacking scandal at owner Rupert Murdoch's London tabloids. But there's a case to be made that it's the supermarket antitrust fiasco wot done it, as Murdoch paper The Sun might have put it.

The phonetap affair has, at most, cost News £40 million in legal fees and settlements to people such as actress Sienna Miller.

By contrast, Jacobs' resignation came just two days after a judge signed off on the last of three massive antitrust cases involving News America Marketing, Murdoch's grocery coupon empire. Those settlements have cost News $656 million to date -- more than the company's profits from the movie Avatar, at one point. And it came on the same day that News was handed a defeat on all counts in a federal appeals court case aimed at silencing a former whistleblower whose information provided the basis for those cases in the first place.

During his tenure, Jacobs supervised this trifecta of failure:
$125 million: To tiny Insignia Systems (ISIG), which accused NAM of anticompetitive practices.
$500 million: To Valassis (VCI), which accused NAM of forcing clients to choose its services or face price rises if they gave business to Valassis.
$29.5 million: To Floorgraphics Inc., which alleged NAM hacked into its computer systems (sound familiar?) to steal competitive information.
Jacobs' staff fought all three cases with the same counterproductive strategy: fight, fight, fight, no matter how ridiculous or trivial the position, up until the last minute, when defeat seemed certain. At that point, from the weakest possible bargaining position, News caved and settled.

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Rupert Murdoch Has Gamed American Politics Every Bit as Thoroughly as Britain's

John Nichols on July 16, 2011

Australian-born billionaire Rupert Murdoch has manipulated not just the news but the news landscape of the United States for decades. He has done so by pressuring the Federal Communications Commission and Congress to alter the laws of the land and regulatory standards in order to give his media conglomerate an unfair advantage in “competition” with more locally focused, more engaged and more responsible media.

It’s an old story: while Murdoch’s Fox News hosts prattle on and on about their enthusiasm for the free market, they work for a firm that seeks to game the system so Murdoch’s “properties” are best positioned to monopolize the discourse.

Now, with Murdoch’s News Corp. empire in crisis—collapsing bit by bit under the weight of a steady stream of allegations about illegal phone hacking and influence peddling in Britain—there is an odd disconnect occurring in much of the major media of the United States. While there is some acknowledgement that Murdoch has interests in the United States (including not just his Fox News channel but the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post), the suggestion is that Murdoch was more manipulative, more influential, more controlling in Britain than here.

But that’s a fantasy. Just as Murdoch has had far too much control over politics and politicians in Britain during periods of conservative dominance—be it under an actual Tory such as former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major and current Prime Minister David Cameron or under a faux Tory such as former Prime Minister Tony Blair—he has had far too much control in the States. And that control, while ideological to some extent, is focused mainly on improving the bottom line for his media properties by securing for them unfair legal and regulatory advantages.

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