Posts Tagged ‘Rupert Murdoch’

Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

The Syria debate continued in the headlines with what appears to be growing concern in the US and abroad on whether to support airstrikes.  The efforts by President Obama on the Hill and at the G20 summit in Russia to find support dominated broadcasts and print throughout the weekend, overshadowing a tricky US unemployment report.  Called a “witches’ brew” of nerve gas by The New York Times, Syria has amassed “one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons, an assessment that will continue to fuel the debate.

Elsewhere:

  • The US jobless rate fell to 7.3 percent (because many are leaving the workforce after being idle for too long) in August and added a less-than-expected 169,000 workers to non-farm payrolls;
  • The employment report sparked decidedly different headlines with some showing the mixed message of the news: “Muddies Fed Plans” (WSJ) to “Not Expected to Deter Fed” (NYT); Stocks were equally confounded, it seems;
  • The Dow ended the week up only 0.8 percent but its first weekly advance in five to close at 14,922;
  • At the G20 summit, leaders declared the economy may worsen, saying the recovery has been too sluggish (“too weak,” to be exact);
  • Microsoft agreed to buy most of Nokia for $7 billion in an apparent bid to “hear them now”;
  • And on a much bigger scale, Verizon agreed to buy Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in Verizon wireless for $130 billion, one of the biggest deals ever;
  • Tokyo won the race to host the Summer Olympics in 2020;
  • Alec Baldwin will host (or “assault” said The New York Post) a talk show on MSNBC called “Up Late with Alec Baldwin”; and
  • Rupert Murdoch is the subject of a new play in his home country Australia called “Murdoch,” in a song-and-dance look behind the headlines. Hmmm. End of Story
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The Week Unpeeled

Syria returned to the front pages with the Obama administration reportedly planning to arm rebels based on evidence that that Syria has used chemical weapons in the civil war.  The decision clearly comes with sharply divided opinions on level of commitment.

Elsewhere:

  • Protests in Istanbul flared up over the weekend in an intensifying showdown with the government;
  • Iran elected a moderate;
  • RBS Chief Stephen Hester was booted by board after three years at the mostly UK-owned bank; search on for replacement;
  • Gannett Corp is buying Belo TV, the largest local television deal in a decade and a sign of big bets on media diversification and the future of local news coverage;
  • Sarah Palin is returning to Fox News as a “paid contributor”;
  • Rupert Murdoch and third wife (who famously defended her husband in the phone hacking scandal) are splitting, a news item first reported by Deadline;
  • The Dow lost ground, sliding Friday to end down 1.17 percent for the week; Volatility has returned to the markets, especially in the US and Japan; and
  • Curious statement by a co-founder of Bloomberg LP, reportedly told to senior staffers at the news outfit and quoted in a New York Times story on Friday that “the only journalism that matters is the kind that moves markets”;  (Interested to know total context since no mention is made of truth, accuracy or greater good.) End of Story
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Comments Off Written on June 17th, 2013 by
Categories: From the News, Media Navel Gaze
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The Week Unpeeled

Summer seemed to sizzle a bit last week despite an end-of-week slump in the markets.  (Although the Dow lost more than 200 points Friday—amid some reports of a leaked Fed report showing concerns about how QE2 easing may fare—the blue chip barometer ended May 1.86 percent higher and the S&P 2.08 percent higher.)

Quite a bit elsewhere, nonetheless:

  • Moo Shu for everyone:  China bid on Smithfield – the world’s largest hog farm and pork processor -- for approximately $4.7 billion, which if approved (and lots of leverage for US negotiators, regulators here!) would be the largest Chinese takeover of a US firm;
  • Closer to home:  Stakeholders okayed a plan for an Empire State Building IPO, expected to be $1 billion or the second largest REIT IPO ever, and no doubt a chance to light the top green;
  • US home prices soared at its fastest pace in seven years;
  • David Petraeus, former CIA chief and army general, joined KKR;
  • BuzzFeed continues to make news of its own with the debut of CNN BuzzFeed, a YouTube channel;
  • NewsCorp unveiled its new logo for its not-yet-launched publishing unit, a cursive version of its name (based on founder Rupert Murdoch’s handwriting), a decidedly non-digital look for a media group; and
  • Playing Doubles?: Peter Lattman of The New York Times DealBook fame reviewed Jimmy Connors new memoir, “The Outsider,” showing perhaps Wall Street can easily translate into sport. End of Story
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The Week Unpeeled

Campaign news continued to take hold of the headlines with Republican candidate Mitt Romney finally releasing tax returns (20 years of them), with his effective tax rate for 2011 at 14.1 percent, a level actually higher than he was legally required to pay because of how he accounted for charitable contributions.  Opponents will not be charitable, however, in the 2011 level.

Elsewhere:

  • The Dow ended lower for the week (but just down 0.1 percent although its first decline for the month) to close Friday at 13,579;
  • Sotheby’s will become the first foreign firm to sell art in China, besting rival Christie’s;
  • The BAE/EADs merger deal seemed to move closer to reality with UK PM David Cameron blessing the deal as a win for the UK economy;
  • The fallout from the anti-Muslim film refused to abate as further protests broke out and Western embassies continued to come under siege;
  • Rupert Murdoch scored a victory with UK regulators concluding that his BSkyb was “fit and proper” for a broadcast license following controversy surrounding News Corp.’s phone-hacking scandal;
  • UK government borrowing rose to record highs in August as official figures showed the deficit for the first five months of the financial year were running at more than 25pc above target;
  • Debate and controversy surrounding the publication of the topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton continued after it emerged that more than 200 pictures were taken of her. The photographer who took the pictures is now in hiding as the Royal Family have asked French prosecutors to bring criminal charges against her; and
  • Apple’s launch of the latest model of the iPhone was marred by criticism around the new maps app, which has been described as “dangerously misleading.” End of Story
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The Week Unpeeled

New and old media alike seemed to be in splitsville last week, with New Corp’s board unanimously approving a plan to split the company into two: one for entertainment and one for publishing; Facebook analysts who were heeding the 40-day ban on issuing research were split (not equally) on buys and neutrals, in essence giving a lukewarm reception with a higher number of holds than buys (“’Like’? Not So Much,” The Wall Street Journal headline Thursday) and Anne Curry called its splitsville for good (not voluntarily) as co-host on the “Today” show. (Now that was true media navel gazing.  Have you ever seen so much coverage -- much of it front page -- for a talking head’s departure for a show that is pretty irrelevant in today’s media market?)

Elsewhere:

  • The US Supreme Court upheld Obama’s health-care law;
  • EU leaders announced plans to reduce borrowing costs for Spain and Itlay and form a single supervisor to oversee banks;
  • Those headlines sent markets soaring with the Dow up 2.2 percent on Friday to end at 12,880; For the quarter, the Dow is down 2.5 percent, the first negative quarter in three quarters;
  • And just when we thought bankers could sink no lower, a scandal at Barclays and other banks hit the headlines. Namely:
    • More than £4bn was wiped from the value of Barclays’ shares following its £290m fine for trying to fix Libor rates; Chief Exec Bob Diamond rejected growing calls to resign as Barclays boss;
    • Court documents also revealed bankers at Lloyds and RBS have been accused of routinely distorting Libor data; Executives at HSBC are also among those being investigated
    • The scandal is estimated to have cost business, investors and consumers £30bn;
    • The New York Times reported that the JP Morgan trading loss could reach $9 billion from initial estimates from the bank of $2 billion;
    • Adding to negative headlines: Millions of customers were unable to move money or pay bills as UK accounts froze and wage payments failed to arrive when NatWest, which is owned by RBS, was struck by an IT glitch which sent the whole system into meltdown
  • Rupert Murdoch said he would prefer to invest News Corp's billions of dollars of cash in America than Britain as he formally distanced himself from his UK businesses - "There are billions and billions of dollars, and if Britain didn't want 'em, there are plenty of good places to put them here (in the US)";
  • Google launched its first tablet and other hardware;
  • London’s first cable car service opened, high across the river Thames near the Olympic Park the Emirates Air Line will help carry up to 2,500 people an hour in each direction;
  • Rafael Nadal lost (as No. 2) to Lukas Rosol (No. 100) in early Wimbledon rounds; and
  • David Beckham was left out of the Team GB football team, in a shock omission described by marketing experts as “commercial suicide.” CJP
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