Fawlty Towers or FT? There is little honour amongst national newspapers
So the newspapers finally have their scalp and James Murdoch has quit his role as chairman of BSKYB after a blizzard of negative publicity from rival newspaper publishers, as well as other media.
No doubt the champagne corks would have been quietly popping yesterday at a number of national newspapers at the news of Murdoch’s decsion to stand down as chairman of the pay-TV broadcaster, before their thoughts turned to the more pressing concern as to how make money out of the bloody internet and ensure their own survival.
For what it’s worth, I think Murodch Junior, who is still only 39, might regroup in the US, before making another charge for the top of News Corp.
He is still young enough and should News Corp end up being a TV/film/internet business, shedded of its newspapers, then his CV to run such a business will match up to most.
The press coverage that Murdoch junior and his father Rupert have been dealt out during and since the phone hacking scandal has been at times I would argue gratuitous.
There is little honour among journalists, and what honour there is goes out the window when the Murdochs are concerned.
Yes, the Murdoch saga has been a big story but wall-to-wall, round-the-clock coverage? No.
Part of the reason this story has had such legs is that competitors want to wound the Murdoch national newspaper titles-The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun- as much as possible, partly as retribution for their long-standing dominance in the market.
In short, hurting Murdoch’s titles can only help prolong their own survival as printed entities.
The war between the newspapers has even taken to that most modern of media, Twitter, the social network which Rupert Murdoch has taken to like a duck to water.
On January 31 this year, Murdoch hit back at the competitors, tweeting “FT Financial Times or Fawlty Towers? Sun on Sunday story today 100 per cent wrong.”
The FT, to be fair, has broken a number of big stories around the scandal but for a serious newspaper to be likened to a comedy series has got to hurt.
The FT has kept up its relentless coverage of what it sees as the biggest story in town.
This week, on Monday April 2, its Companies & Markets section led with this “Two independent directors at British Sky
Broadcasting are set to leave as the pay –TV company any embark on an overhaul of its board that could weaken its unanimous backing of James Murdoch as chairman”.
A story, clearly. But front page?
The other papers have also dedicated yards and yards of print coverage to the Murdochs during the scandal. Some of it fair, some of it not.
But you can count on one thing, Rupert will not let it detract from how he wants to run his empire or his market leading newspapers for that matter.