The Five-Minute Guide to News Corp.'s Scandals


The folks at the New York Post seem awfully worried that CNN is risking its sterling reputation by giving Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as governor of New York amid a sex scandal, a prime time show. In a recent story about the disappointment of CNN staffers, the Post says the network is obviously desperate for ratings by putting a "hooker-loving pol with scant TV experience in its choice prime-time slot."

But while the Post is looking out for the condition of CNN's soul, who's looking out for the Post's? After all, the tabloid and its sister companies under the News Corp. (NWS) umbrella have endured a scandal or two of their own in the past. As a service to all the hand-wringing moralists over there looking to indulge their newfound sense of pious outrage, I've compiled a cheat sheet for a few of the more notable ones.

Page Fix: In 2006, Jared Paul Stern, a freelance gossip writer for the Post, allegedly tried to blackmail billionaire Ron Burkle into paying him in order to ensure friendly coverage. Although Stern escaped criminal prosecution, the scandal led to all sorts of unsavory revelations, such as the disclosure that Page Six editor Richard Johnson had accepted an envelope full of cash from one of his frequent column subjects.

Post Feminism: Former New York Post editor Sandra Guzman filed suit against the company last November, alleging a widespread pattern of discrimination and harassment toward female and minority employees. In her suit, Guzman singled out editor in chief Col Allan for setting the tone.

Falafelgate: Enthusiastic finger-wagger Bill O'Reilly came in for a little scolding of his own in 2004 when an underling accused him of propositioning her at length and in lurid, cringe-inducing detail. Rupert Murdoch apparently paid a lot of money to make the whole thing go away, and O'Reilly is back to judging other people's personal lives as though it had never happened.

Hacked Off: In 2007, a reporter at News of the World, one of Murdoch's British tabloids, was jailed after it was discovered he'd illegally accessed the mobile phones of British royals. An investigation led to charges, never fully substantiated, that the practice was widespread and conducted with the approval of senior management.

Marrying Man: The personal peccadilloes go all the way to the top. Murdoch's third and current wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, got her green card through the expedient of inserting herself into someone else's marriage. Whether Murdoch was single at the time she started dating him is a cause for dispute; not even all of his children believe his claims that he was a bachelor at the time.

I know, I know -- I've barely scratched the surface here. If you have a favorite News Corp. scandal that I omitted in the list above, please feel free to share it in the comments.