Rupert Murdoch is arguably the most powerful man in the world, so the move of News Corp’s registered headquarters from Australia to the US hasn’t changed the way his own outlets self-censor coverage of the The Sun King.

The company’s first shareholders meeting in New York last Friday saw an amusing exchange between Rupert and one of America’s best-known shareholder activists, 75-year-old self-declared Evelyn Davis. Check out the full entertaining AAP story of her exchange with Rupert here.

Rupert clearly didn’t want to draw any attention to the new incentive scheme voted on by his shareholders as he brushed off the media after the meeting, whereas he normally has an all-in press conference after the AGM in Adelaide each year.

Rupert’s various editors around the world clearly sensed the company line to adopt as we haven’t been able to find any coverage of the exchanges in a Murdoch outlet.

The Smage duly ran this piece from New York correspondent Mark Coultan on Saturday, but the funniest blunder was The AFR’s decision to run a cut-down version of the AAP piece. AFR bosses Michael Gill and Glenn Burge have been largely successful in banning Crikey from Australia’s financial daily since I quit the paper in September 1999 and AAP’s two references to yours truly were duly cut.

However, this was obviously a last-minute editing decision as the back page index of The Weekend Fin listed Stephen Mayne as one of the “People in the news” on page 13. The old man pointed this out on Saturday and had a good laugh, suggesting they’d confused me with the old Mayne Nickless which appeared on page 13 in a two paragraph brief about pharmaceuticals headlined “Mayne buys in Europe”.

Alas, the AAP story on Murdoch meeting his match in New York was at the bottom of page 13. Such pettiness! Trying to run a churlish ban from on high has only succeeded in putting an error into the paper.

Peter Fray

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