James Moore: At News Corp, only the foot soldiers pay the price of failure

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The Independent Online

Outlook Superficially, the latest numbers from Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation show an empire in deep disarray. The value of the newspaper businesses in the hydra's publishing head were written down by $2.8bn before their anticipated decapitation, far worse than had been feared. There was also more financial damage from the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World while revenues remain lacklustre. The new standalone publishing business isn't going to find life easy.

Meanwhile, the movie business hardly sparkled with the quarter's two biggest releases – Prometheus and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – disappointing at the box office and taking some of the shine off the reliable banker that is Mr Murdoch's cable TV business.

Is the bell finally tolling? Hardly. Compare and contrast events at News Corp with those at Barclays. They're not really as different as they might appear.

At both institutions, a corrosive and immoral culture has been laid bare. Both are under sustained attack from the authorities, and are paying a heavy financial price for their misdeeds. At both, the men at the top have denied any knowledge of what was going on under their noses.

Yet within days of the announcement of a £290m fine for attempting to fix Libor interest rates, Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond was defenestrated. So was his number two, Jerry del Missier. The chairman, Marcus Agius, will follow now his replacement has been named. He may not be the last to go. Is it worth pointing out here that Barclays' traders only tried to fix Libor interest rates? There is no proof they succeeded.

At News Corp, the wrongdoing was all too real and left a trail of victims in its wake, most notably the Dowler family. But it is the minions who have been fed to the wolves. Mr Murdoch and his son James remain ensconced, secure in the knowledge that the company's voting structure lets them ride roughshod over any complaints from shareholders.

Spinning off the publishing assets that have caused all the problems and are in the throes of painful restructuring will actually benefit Mr Murdoch in the long run. The empire's foundation is now its problem child.

And who needs a stable of tame newspapers to peddle your preferred line when you own "the most powerful name in news", the "fair and balanced" Fox News with its phalanx of frothing extremists? Not to mention a controlling stake in Britain's most powerful commercial broadcaster, Sky.

The talk about reviewing whether News Corp can be judged "fit and proper" to exert such influence over such an important UK business has proved to be just that.

We're accustomed to viewing banking watchdogs as a bit rubbish, what with the financial crisis and everything that has followed. They look like a pack of pitbulls when compared to those who are supposed to keep tabs on what News Corporation gets up to.