The boss is all over The Oz this morning.
It probably comes with the turf of being the most influential Australian.

Some of it’s good for a cynical laugh: “Rupert Murdoch will not donate his personal
fortune to charity, saying he would prefer to ‘make a difference’
through the social and political influence afforded by his international media

He doesn’t specify for whom he might make
that difference – the Murdoch family, presumably.

More astounding is his suggestion that
shareholders could mount a class action
against Standard & Poors, blaming them for poor performance of News Corp’s
share price after he officially moved HQ to the US. The reality of course is that News has been a
dud for the past eight years – shareholders would have been better off leaving
their money in the bank – but this wouldn’t be the first time Rupe’s had a go
at rewriting history. The Oz reports:

When News first announced its plan to move to the US
in April 2004, Mr Murdoch told investors he expected News to remain in the ASX
S&P200 while also being admitted to Wall Street’s S&P500.

But within weeks S&P’s New York office revealed it might not allow News
to be counted in both the US and Australian indices.

News shares then represented 7% of the ASX S&P200, and when
S&P confirmed its decision all the Australian index-weighted superannuation
funds were forced to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of News scrip.
Now it seems likely that S&P will reverse the decision. Last month the
company started a review to determine if foreign-based companies should be
allowed within Australian indices.

“I’m amazed,” Mr Murdoch said yesterday. “I was amazed when
they took us out when they said that they wouldn’t.”

Funny thing is, I can’t recall S&P ever
saying anything like that. Rupert no doubt hoped
S&P would break its very clear and straightforward index rules to do him a
favour – but that was always against the odds.

And Rupert could solve the problem himself
very easily by taking up Stephen Mayne’s suggestion of amalgamating the News
voting and non-voting shares. But he has no interest in doing that. Maybe
shareholders could consider a class action…

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey