Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rupert's Non-Fans

Apparently phone hacking inspires blow-back against our friends at News Corp.

The nation's largest public pension fund said it would vote against the reelection of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, to News Corp.'s board of directors. ... CalPERS said it would withhold voting its nearly 1.5 million shares for the reelection of James and Lachlan Murdoch, Arthur Siskind, News Corp.’s former general counsel, and Andrew Knight, the former executive chairman of News International, the company's British publishing arm. ...

This sort of thing seems to be going around. Just the other day, Institutional Shareholders Services Inc. said there should be a rejiggering because of the, you know, unpleasantness in Britain:

"The company's phone hacking scandal, which began its public denouement ... has laid bare a striking lack of stewardship and failure of independence by a board whose inability to set a strong tone at the top about unethical business practices has now resulted in enormous costs — financial, legal, regulatory, reputational and opportunity — for the shareholders the board ostensibly serves,"

Honestly, I don't know where ISS gets this "lack of stewardship" idea. There was plenty of stewardship, most of it in the grand tradition of "anything goes" for a smooth buck.

Rupert has played fast and loose with the rules for years. And the News Corp. board has gone along for years. The boards of many large corporations, you see, aren't there to oversee the excesses of the Top Dogs. They are in the room with the long table and comfy chairs to rubber stamp what the robber barons want.

I mean, hasn't anybody noticed the excesses of the last ten or twenty years? The world is turning into one big Banana Republic. And the dwindling middle classes around the globe are starting to notice.

Naturally enough, News Corp. "strongly disagrees" with ISS. News Corp. says everything is really fine now, honest. And everything should stay just as it is because Rupert and his minions have now cleaned up their act.

And I like, totally believe them. Why would they lie?


Anonymous said...

And the News Corp. Board is seeking to kick james murdoch out on the street. Good news.

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