More backflips with pike than you’d see at an Olympics. High board, spring board, standing, running and jumping. All manner of ugly contortions from News Corporation and its team of trained commentators.

But interestingly we’ve yet to see the master flip flopper appear. “HMV” Terry MCrann has so far not put in an appearance in print on this issue since Rupe and the big boys in New York rolled over and did the obvious thing and agreed to retain most of their Australian corporate governance guidelines, thereby almost ensuring success of the proposed domicile shift to the US.

But in very stark contrast, the News Ltd hacks, the ordinary run of the mill finance reporters did not a bad job of covering all the flips and flops of their ultimate master and his courtiers about whether to ditch or adopt Australian corporate governance principles.

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Unlike their chairman, the Sun Son, Lachlan Murdoch, who was compehensively left high and dry on this issue by Dad, less than a week after appearing in print and before Australian investors arguing why the American corporate governance laws were stronger than ours.

Lachie lad, you just didn’t know why the Sarbannes Oxley Act isn’t about corporate governance, it’s about audit integrity. Yes that’s important, but it’s got nothing to do with the issues that your father eventually rolled over on and agreed to the demands from some big institutional investors and their advisers.

The Australian’s Jane Schulze, the reporter with the toughest beat in News Ltd, writing about the very industry the company operates in, did an admitable job with her story today, with all those ambitious backstabbing courtiers watching every word she writes – Investors back News revisions

The Courier-Mail part of the tabloid division of News Ltd, had a good effort byRichard Owen with enough adjectives in it to get the flavour that News and Murdoch rolled over on this deal – News Corp in governance deal

Unfortunately you cannot say this about this commentary from the Veteran Bryan Frith in The AustralianIt’s a win-win outcome. His commentary on this issue has flipped and flopped as much as News’ attitude has to the issue of the deal, the Queensland Press transaction, and corporate governance.

How Bryan Frith (and HMV for that matter) can ever take any company to task in the future over the issue of corporate governance will be an astonishing act of journalistic gymnastics. But then, working for Rupert and the lads at News, having that flexibility is a career extending ability that only ‘special talent’ possesses.

So when will we see HMV commentating on this (for him) vexed issue, complete with dots, dashes, hyphens and all manner of hyperbole, insults(like ‘half-brain dead Fairfax journalist’)?

And speaking of Fairfax business journalists and commentators, here’s a nice column from The Sydney Morning Herald today – Murdoch gymnastics good for investors – by Elizabeth ‘Gladys” Knight that will give HMV the pips if he can bring himself to read it.

Go, on Terry, read it. It will be good for you to discover that a solution to his issue was simply for Murdoch to do nothing but take his Australian corporate constitution with him to the US and promise not to change anything.

It was all very, very simple, but for the third time in a decade (1993, super voting shares, last year on executive options) Rupe badly misread the feeling of Australian investors and markets on these issues that would have involved all the benefits flowing to him and his family, and very little to ordinary investors, despite the insulting, carping columns from the HMV’s and Bryan Frith’s of the News Ltd stable.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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