Keeping track of Rupert Murdoch, the world’s most powerful and global media mogul, isn’t easy, but Private Eye in the UK is a useful source. The latest edition includes the following item:

‘Scum cash is on dying kids,’ shrieked an outraged News of the World
on the morning after Live 8. It appeared over the shocking news that
‘vile touts were caught cashing in on Live 8 yesterday – making a fast
buck off the backs of Africa’s dying children. Our undercover team of
reporters mingling with the queues around Hyde Park were offered scores
of free tickets for up to a staggering 300 pounds. One girl tout said:
‘Stuff the concert and what it’s in aid of. Just give me the money.’

What
fools! Didn’t they know the cash isn’t in pushing tickets before the
concert, but in flogging dodgy merchandise afterwards. Indeed, one
enterprising spiv has set up a profitable sideline selling snaps of
Bono, Robbie Williams, Pink Floyd and the like snapped by professional
press photographers on stage in Hyde Park, and printed on a range of
formats ranging from a very reasonable 9.99 pounds for a mouse mat to
25 pounds for a door-size poster, or 16.99 pounds for a matching mug
and coaster set.

His name? Er, Rupert Murdoch…. whose online
shop where one can purchase these goodies is easily accessible via the
websites of The Times, Sun, or News of the World.

Meanwhile, the latest edition of Australian industry newsletter Mediaweek
provides another interesting insight into the often audacious News
Corporation culture. The entire front page is given over to an ad for
Foxtel Digital which features a batsman crashing into a cyclist with
the caption: “The middle of the Ashes is no place for a bike rice. The
only place to see every ball of the Ashes live is on Fox Sports.”

The whole of page 5 then featured the following claim: “Lost by nearly 600,000: The Sunday Telegraph leads all media in NSW. On its opening night Lost was watched by just 606,971 people. In the same week 1.2 million Sydneysiders read The Sunday Telegraph. Well, at least the program stayed true to its name.”

The whole of page 7 was devoted to another gloat about The Sunday Telegraph and then the following appeared on the whole of page 9: “Little Brother: The Sunday Telegraph leads all media in NSW. For real impact, make sure you’re in The Sunday Telegraph. With 1.2 million metro readers it makes Big Brother’s 344,370 viewers seem rather small.”

This sort of high impact advertising in a trade magazine doesn’t come cheap, so let’s hope it didn’t influence Mediaweek’s rather fawning coverage about News Ltd’s new sports magazine Alpha and the revamped Herald Sun business section.

Peter Fray

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