(Images: AAP)

News Corp likes to portray itself as a confident, dominant company -- the US-controlled entity that bestrides Australia's media landscape, that plays such an influential role in our politics, that shapes the national conversation, celebrates national heroes and vilifies national villains, all of its own choosing.

Beneath the facade, though, News Corp and its leaders have been badly rattled by two former prime ministers that it helped bring down.

There was always zero chance of the government -- or Labor, if it was in power -- calling a royal commission, a judicial inquiry, or even the most banal of bureaucratic reviews into the company, despite Kevin Rudd's petition garnering more than half a million signatures.