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

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.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links