I’m writing this from a tiny little bed-sit in The Pod hotel on west 51st street in New York: you can catch a glimpse of the room in today’s video edition of The Mayne Report.

It’s now less than 12 hours before proceedings kick off at the News Corp AGM tonight your time and it was nice to get inside both the News Corp head office and the Hudson Theatre for today’s video.

Rupert’s security people are paranoid the world over it seems as we got accosted for simply trying to film the head office at 1211 Avenue of the Americas and company secretary Laura O’Leary was very strict in insisting I couldn’t take any photographs or do any recording whilst spending 15 minutes inspecting the share register on the 3rd floor.

And now the News Corp spindoctor Andrew Butcher is even threatening to ban my video guy from the press conference after the AGM, even though all other electronic media will be allowed in.

In terms of the tactics at the AGM, the plan is to open with the following:

QUESTION: Rupert, I was presenting a Walkley Award last November when one of your drunken journalists, Glenn Milne, stormed the stage and assaulted me live on national television. What does it say about standards at News Corp that Milne wasn’t sacked?

If Rupert does anything other than apologise, I’ll follow up with:

Okay, so you’ll have no problem if I storm the stage now and push you off?

It would be very tempting to then run to the front brandishing the $55 physio bill that News Corp refused to pay. We did practise ascending the stage at the Hudson Theatre in today’s video with “Eye of the Tiger” pumping, but don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

Finally, here’s a little scoop out of Melbourne this morning. Southern Cross Broadcasting chairman John Dahlsen got all teary at the shareholders meeting approving the Fairfax and Macquarie Media takeover.

He wrapped up the meeting as follows: “It’s a shame it has been taken over… (10 second gap due to tears) but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

Indeed, excessive media concentration is something we should all be upset about. Just look at the way Rupert has abused his media power over the years.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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