Leveson inquiry finds News International “failed in corporate governance” calls for accuracy, public trust in media continues to collapse

There can be little doubt that Murdoch’s News International has fanned the flames of climate scepticism and mislead the public: but what kind of company is News?

Hence my interest in what is happening in the UK.

The Leveson inquiry (set up in response to the phone hacking scandal) has just delivered its verdict, and it’s not good for the Murdoch’s or News International.

Simply put, they failed to apply suitable standards of corporate governance: in plain English that means Murdoch failed to manage his company.

From today’s Age:

The Murdoch-owned company News International seriously failed in corporate governance over phone-hacking and James Murdoch’s account of a key event was less credible than that of an executive who told a different story, the Leveson inquiry has found.

 Justice Leveson found that News International and its parent company News Corp had failed to investigate evidence that phone-hacking was widespread among journalists at the News of the World.

“There was serious failure of governance within the News of the World. Given criminal investigation and what are now the impending prosecutions, it is simply not possible to go further at this stage,” he said… 

Interestingly, James Murdoch did get the emails related to phone hacking (though denies reading them):

Mr Murdoch had been sent an email chain in which a hacking victim alleged that illegal practices were “rife within the organisation”. Mr Murdoch told the inquiry he had not read all the email chain and was unaware of this claim.  

Justice Leveson concluded: “James Murdoch replied to the email within two minutes of receiving it. The speed and content of his reply appear to support his claim not to have focused on the key allegation.”

The Guardian reports here.

The report recommends an “independent self-regulatory body” to help enforce a “standards code”. The report can be seen here and is worth reading, but one of the key recommendations is for a code of standards that ensures “the need for accuracy, and the need to avoid misrepresentation” (page 33).

It is worth noting the report explicitly states the body will have NO power to prohibit the publishing of information: still this will not prohibit the Murdoch empire claiming a totalitarian dictatorship is one the way.

Watch the commentary on the Leveson report from The Australian for the official Murdoch party line.

“The internet ate my media empire” excuse: how News International is destroying the public’s trust in media

Having noted the above, it is worth recalling Australia is the grip of a faux-scandal fanned, cheered on and manufactured by News Ltd.

But as the hacks of the Murdoch empire pursue their ideological vendetta against the mildly right-of-centre Gillard government, attack climate scientists and promote right-wing nuttery the public is increasingly losing faith in the media.

Across the English speaking world public trust in journalists and the media is collapsing – especially in those countries where News International is dominant:



Is it a surprise the media is the least trusted industry?

Conventional wisdom states the internet is destroying traditional media – which is only partly true.

It’s not the platform – it’s the content.

And the content?

No-one believes it. They don’t trust it. And increasingly, they’re not paying for it.

I’d argue the public trust is collapsing faster in the English-speaking world – the UK, USA and Australia – where the Murdoch press is a major player or dominant.


Because of the disconnect between real world events and what News reports across it papers and on stations such as Fox News. 

People are noticing the disconnect.

Told that climate change isn’t real, all they have to do is look at increasing weather extremes.

News International champions an extreme form of market-fundamentalism – and yet it is this extreme laissez-faire philosophy of limited government, deregulation and blind faith in market forces that laid the seeds for the present financial crisis.

Nearly every News outlet championed Romney and the GOP in the last US presidential election, thinking Obama’s re-election unthinkable. And yet Obama comfortably won his second term.

Need I go on?

News International is infected with an aversion to reality, and it’s hurting their reputation and destroying public trust in the media.




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19 thoughts on “Leveson inquiry finds News International “failed in corporate governance” calls for accuracy, public trust in media continues to collapse

  1. uknowispeaksense says:

    Crikey! When car salespeople can boast twice as much trust as you there is something very very wrong with you.

    • john byatt says:

      Funny, when I first left the navy I applied for a position as a second hand car salesmen with a large Sydney based new car retail company,
      there were dozens of applicants and when I got the job i asked why?

      “you come across as honest and believable”

      Shit I was honest, did he they think that it was put on, why did they not realise that if the car i was supposed to be selling was crap then I would not tell the client?

      So it was not that they were looking for honest people, just those who appeared honest…

  2. john byatt says:

    “the need for accuracy, and the need to avoid misrepresentation” (page 33).”

    “surely the freedom of speech overrides such minor considerations” ( insert favorite goon)

  3. john byatt says:

    This is the type of research that the climate commission should follow up with a press release,

  4. john byatt says:

    This was our best hoax yet, the great beer crate hoax

    Cloncurry was widely regarded as holding the record for the highest temperature recorded in Australia at 127.5 °F (53.1 °C) on 16 January 1889. Recent investigations have revealed that this temperature was measured in an improvised screen made from a beer crate and that it equated to 47–49 °C under standard conditions.

    • john byatt says:

      TCS blog

      Before the doomsayers start their screaming tirades, a quick reminder from NOAA. (Link) Until these records get corrupted, massaged, manipulated, Australia’s record high temperature (probably caused by Jumbo Jets and rampaging SUVs) was 53.3ºC on 16 January, 1889. (link), the effin link is bogus

    • john byatt says:

      See how we have cunningly referred to the massaging, manipulation and corruption as Investigations, we even knocked up and old beer crate and wrote cloncurry met 1889 on it and then paid some kids to find it in a shed.,

  5. Eric Worrall says:

    I was actually pleasantly surprised at the outcome of the Leveson enquiry. Rather than shut down press freedom, they seem to have applied a very light touch to recomendations of legislation – unlike Australia, which seems determined to subsume all press statements into a single party line. I’m particularly impressed that the new regulatory body will be voluntary – a carrot rather than a stick.

    Remains to be seen whether the findings will be twisted by the British Parliament, which I’m sure was hoping for a lot more – pretty nearly all of them were outed as dirty by the parliamentary expenses scandal, and they’ve had it in for the press ever since.

    • zoot says:

      Seems you moved to the wrong place.

    • Tapani L. says:

      Well, about regulating the media…

      Here in Finland we have a long history of such voluntary self-regulatory body (The Council for Mass Media), since 1968. Practically all of our mass media are committed to its journalistic guidelines, be they newspapers, periodicals or television channels. The council has no legal powers – if someone is breaking the law the case should go to court instead – and its only means of enforcing the guidelines is a reprimand, which has to be published without direct comment in the media that broke the guidelines.

      The guidelines are well thought out and well balanced between good journalistic practice, freedom of speech and other human rights. Some of the council members represent professional journalists, some represent the public, and the members change periodically.

      I have to say it works pretty well – or maybe our media is quite well-mannered and reasonable for some other reason (our culture is certainly less divisive than some). It might be harder to implement this kind of system in a wilder media landscape…

      One can check our journalistic guidelines in English here if interested: http://www.jsn.fi/en/journalists_instructions/

  6. rubber taster says:

    Off topic but yes, another denier canard dies:

    A Reconciled Estimate of Ice-Sheet Mass Balance

    “We combined an ensemble of satellite altimetry, interferometry, and gravimetry data sets using common geographical regions, time intervals, and models of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment to estimate the mass balance of Earth’s polar ice sheets. We find that there is good agreement between different satellite methods—especially in Greenland and West Antarctica—and that combining satellite data sets leads to greater certainty. Between 1992 and 2011, the ice sheets of Greenland, East Antarctica, West Antarctica, and the Antarctic Peninsula changed in mass by –142 ± 49, +14 ± 43, –65 ± 26, and –20 ± 14 gigatonnes year−1, respectively. Since 1992, the polar ice sheets have contributed, on average, 0.59 ± 0.20 millimeter year−1 to the rate of global sea-level rise.”



    Experts Agree Global Warming Is Melting the World Rapidly

    “…The new analysis, published on page 1183 of this week’s issue of Science, also makes it clear that losses from Greenland and West Antarctica have been accelerating, showing that some ice sheets are disconcertingly sensitive to warming.”

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