Fox News is far from the only American division of News Corp. to be pressed into service, checkbook in hand, when Murdoch’s interests—financial at least as much as ideological—are at stake. One classic example occurred in 1995, after the Federal Communications Commission questioned whether Murdoch had misled it in 1985, when News Corp., then based in Australia, secured Fox broadcast licenses despite a federal law limiting foreign ownership of local stations to 25 percent. The matter died soon after the News Corp. book division HarperCollins offered the then–Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, a $4.5 million advance.
As David Carr recently wrote in his Times column, a Murdoch division in the newspaper-advertisement-insert business, News America Marketing, was accused of hacking into a rival company’s password-protected computer system, stealing proprietary information and then spreading “malicious information” about that competitor. Embarrassing testimony in the ensuing federal trial in New Jersey was abruptly shut down when News Corp. paid out a $29.5 million settlement and then bought outright the tiny company that had brought the case. Rather remarkably, News America Marketing alone has shelled out roughly two-thirds of a billion dollars—nearly the domestic gross of Avatar—to settle similarly ugly suits under its chief executive, Paul Carlucci.
We *still* don't read The Sun in Liverpool -- twenty years after that newspaper pissed all over our grieving victims. You can't give the damn thing away here -- and believe me, they've tried.
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