Murdoch's media empire strikes back

Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:36pm EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - An angry Rupert Murdoch on Thursday declared war against "enemies" who have accused his pay-TV operation of sabotaging its rivals, denouncing them as "toffs and right wingers" stuck in the last century.

Separate reports by the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Financial Review newspaper this week said that News Corp's pay-TV smartcard security unit, NDS, had promoted piracy attacks on rivals, including in the United States.

NDS and News Corp had already denied the claims, but on Thursday the media empire mounted a concerted fight back as a corruption scandal that has plagued its UK newspapers began to encroach on its far more lucrative pay-TV business.

"Seems every competitor and enemy piling on with lies and libels. So bad, easy to hit back hard, which preparing," News Corp Chief Executive Murdoch, 81, tweeted.

News Corp, whose global media interests stretch from movies to newspapers that can make or break political careers, has endured an onslaught of negative press since a phone-hacking scandal at its News of the World tabloid blew up last year.

At its height last July, Murdoch told British parliamentarians: "This is the humblest day of my life," after meeting the family of a murdered schoolgirl whose phone News of the World journalists had hacked.

On Thursday, it appeared that Murdoch had had enough of apologizing. "Enemies many different agendas, but worst old toffs and right wingers who still want last century's status quo with their monopolies," he tweeted.

For an avowed republican such as Murdoch, describing someone as an upper class "toff" is a damning insult - although he is now seen by many in Britain as part of the establishment, thanks to his business interests and ties to politicians.

The BBC has a long history of ideological clashes with BSkyB, which is 39 percent owned by News Corp, and both Rupert and his son James Murdoch have publicly attacked the British public service broadcaster over the years.   Continued...

 
A view of the News Corporation building in New York August 4, 2009. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid