Paging Ten: top executive David Lyle is available … A Pulitzer win, and a dodgy response … Front page of the day …
A Pulitzer, and a dodgy response. Word that two of Rupert Murdoch’s competitors — The Guardian and The Washington Post — had got a Pulitzer for the Edward Snowden stories (more accurately, for Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras dropping the stories in their laps, with a supporting role by WikiLeaks), sent News Corporation scurrying for a reply. Happy to oblige was Liam Fox, a British Tory MP, who argued in The Australian the National Security Agency’s total surveillance process had prevented terror attacks (it hadn’t), that terrorist groups had changed their tactics as a result (there’s been no increase in terrorist incidents in the last 12 months), and that Snowden et al had been “indiscriminate” (they have released fewer than 100 pages of the thousands that Snowden took from the NSA). Curiously, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks go unslagged in this tirade, possibly because News published him several times, in the hope that some of the “cablegate” cache would come its way, in 2010.
But what’s really funny about this piece is that Fox is something more than a Tory MP — he’s a former defence secretary. Former, because he had to resign in 2011, after his bizarre relationship with a self-styled “lobbyist” Adam Werritty was exposed. Werritty, a long-time friend of Fox’s, used his connections with Fox to not only get defence industry clients — using a business card falsely listing him as a government adviser — but to walk in and out of Defence Ministry offices as he pleased, and to sit in on meetings Fox had with foreign officials. These included negotiations with the president of Sri Lanka during the final, bloody push against the Tamils. He also attended meetings without Fox but purporting to represent him with, among others, members of Mossad.
Fortunately, risks were low — Werritty was only a perpetually broke alcoholic with access to defence secrets of a nuclear power. Fox blamed his inevitable sacking/resignation on “envy”. Good thing it gives him time to write on areas of his expertise, such as disastrous security breaches. — Guy Rundle
Paging Ten: top exec available. David Lyle is one of the most experienced TV executives Australia has sent abroad. He knows all formats of TV intimately and has the respect and credibility that no one else at Ten can hope to have, locally and internationally. And he’s about to become free, after a purge at Fox in Hollywood led by another Australian, David Hill.
Lyle quit as chief executive of National Geographic Channels overnight, a position he held since 2011. According to local media reports, Lyle’s departure was instigated by Hill, who used to oversee the business three years ago. He is now back in charge of “counselling” TV executives across wide areas of Fox’s TV and cable networks. National Geographic Channels is half owned (and managed) by Fox, with National Geographic holding the other 50%.
The changes increase Hill’s power in 21st Century Fox. He was named senior executive vice-president of News Corp ahead of the split in the Murdoch empire last June, and carried that role into 21st Century Fox. He was put in charge of attempts to revitalise the network’s flagship American Idol program, plus XFactor. Since then X Factor has been cancelled and Idol is recording its lowest ratings. Despite that lack of success, Hill remains one of the most trusted of Murdoch’s TV executives.
Lyle is one of the most experienced media executives in the US, especially with the Murdoch empire, where he had a long history at Fox TV and cable. He’s also served in senior executive positions at successful production and television companies such as FremantleMedia (where he helped create American Idol), Pearson Television and Australia’s Nine Network. He sounds ideal for Ten — even as a consultant. — Glenn Dyer