When Crikey revealed the parlous state of News Corp’s newspaper assets for 2012-13, News panicked, sending in the lawyers and threatening every outlet that published stories based on the documents. But business experts say this only made things worse for Rupert Murdoch’s company -- and the fact that a highly placed source within the company leaked the documents in the first place points to systemic problems behind the scenes.

Business expert Tim Harcourt from the University of New South Wales Business School told Crikey sister site SmartCompany the heavy-handed response only made things worse. “There’s no point denying it or trying to cover it up,” Harcourt said. “The more covering up you try to do the worse off you will be.” Harcourt questions News Corp’s strategy of passing off the figures as being outdated, saying people are more interested in trends over time. “You’ve got to be fair dinkum about the market,” he said.