Murdochs…not so much humbled as rumbled

Personal malfeasance suits in the States hold the key to Newscorp’s global future

There’s a bit of me – not very big, admittedly – that fantasises about Rupert Murdoch pulling the strings of global investment, in a last desperate bid to keep off the front pages by launching the greatest Weapon of Mass Distraction in history….and at the same time boosting the circulation of all his news media back to profitability.It would be a Class A Murdochian scheme.

Across the global Newscorp network, Roop’s agents are drugging Merkel, lacing Sarkozy’s coke with LSD, and feeding nonsense into George Osborne’s brain implant. In the Black Room at Newscorp’s US headquarters, sad little geniuses are selling German bonds, buying 8-track futures, feeding the Athens Government mind-numbing valium, and bunging Jean-Claude Trichet bribes in brown paper bags…a million bucks a week for Tricky, if he just keeps raising the EU interest rate. Thus is the world economy destroyed….but Newscorp remains a Murdoch company. A fitting end for one so humble.

As it happens, the world’s leaders are managing to be three steps off the game without any help from the Australian cultural attache, and talking of games, it looks like the Murdoch family’s may be up.

Newscorp is in big, big trouble in the US. There are two developments here – the near-Mafia style monopolistic racketeering in the News America subsidiary, and – over the last ten days – the decision by a group of the Great and Good to sue James and Rupert Murdoch personally for actions opposed to the good name and governance of the Company. In Merrie Olde Mammon UKplc, you can get away with that and suffer little more than banishment to a life of executive directorships, but in the States this is heavy sh*t, man.

I’m pleased to tell you now that contagion (up there right now as my 2011 Bollocks-Word of the Year) has spread to the Digger’s former nationality, where a huge superannuation industry group is urging members who are News Corporation investors to vote against the re-election of James and Lachlan Murdoch to the global media empire’s board. The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) says the sons of media baron Rupert Murdoch and other long-standing board members must be replaced with “credible, skilled outside directors” in the wake of the UK phone hacking scandal. As opposed, I assume they mean, to incompetent and mendacious criminals as is the case at the moment.

The ACSI not only has the Murdoch family in its sights; it has recommended its investors vote against the return of four other board members, including executive David De Voe, at the upcoming annual meeting.

ACSI chief executive Ann Byrne says the current board members are not the best for the company.”Such an arrangement does not reflect good corporate governance practice and fails to provide safeguards to ensure that the company is run in the best interests of its shareholders,” she said, adding this little thrust of the ice-pick: “All boards should comprise a majority of independent non-executive directors who are sufficiently motivated and equipped to fulfil the function of independent scrutiny of the company’s activities.”

She’s a game girl Anne, but her feet are firmly on the ground:

“In our view, the whole board is responsible for failures of oversight, however we regard it as impractical to recommend against the election of the whole board,” she said. It must give one a warm feeling to know that the only reason you’re staying in your job is that every one of your colleagues is an equally outsized jerk. Sadly, the other reason is that the Devil’s spawn own 40% of the the shares.

This could very quickly change, however, if the US and UK actions against Rupert or James became criminal in nature. In the case of Son of Digger, that’s a pretty safe bet, even given the Metropolitan Police being involved. For in Australia you can have not just your role but your stock control removed if found guilty of such malfeasance.

And a propos of not very much, why is Quentin Letts such an odious, smartarsed, deeply unloveable berk? I watched his ‘sketch’ about the Labour Conference on the Daily Bollotics yesterday, and it wasn’t so much a sketch as the daubings of an infant destined for a long career in refuse disposal.

How do these people get employed? Ah, hang on a ticky there: he writes for the Dacre Wail. Now I remember.

There is new silliness at The Big Top.