How to lose friends and alienate people

How to lose friends and alienate people

TWO weeks ago News Corporation was a corporate giant led by a legend and on the verge of the biggest deal in its history. Now the deal is off and Rupert Murdoch is widely derided. Britain's three big political parties have ganged up on the company, along with the Church of England, every other media outlet and an array of celebrities. A once-feared colossus has become a pantomime villain, hissed from the stage.

News Corporation has been brought low by allegations that the News of the World, one of its British tabloids, paid the police for information and hacked into the voice-mail accounts of many people, some famous, some in tragic circumstances. The implications for British politics, and for the conduct and freedoms of the British press, will take a long time to play out (see article). The corporate impacts already look grievous.

Newspapers are not central to what News Corporation does (see chart 1). In the year to June 2010 they accounted for just 13% of its...
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