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Murdoch newspaper websites were evaluated at 4 p.m. ET Thursday.
How are other Rupert Murdoch owned papers around the world covering Thursday’s stunning announcement that News Corporation would close the News of the World in response to the recent news that private investigators hired by the paper hacked into the cellphones of a murdered 13-year-old girl, the families of British soldiers killed in action and the victims of the July 7, 2005 London terrorist bombings? Most of the papers are handling the scandal at the News of World on their home pages but have tended to minimize the more scandalous details the eavesdropped cell phone conversations, and instead emphasize the company’s decision to shutter the 168-year-old paper. Some, like the New York Post, are ignoring it completely on their homepage.
England’s The Sun said the situation was the result of “rogue” detectives at odds with the company’s values and emphasized the idea that “wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad.” The story quoted extensively from the James Murdoch’s statement emphasizing the company’s charitable response to the scandal: “While we may never be able to make up for distress that has been caused, the right thing to do is for every penny of the circulation revenue we receive this weekend to go to organizations – many of whom are long-term friends and partners – that improve life in Britain and are devoted to treating others with dignity.”
The Sun story also noted in the last paragraph of its story: “The News of the World has been responsible for a string of ground breaking stories over the past year – most notably revealing a multi-million pound cricket match-fixing ring involving Pakistani international cricketers.”
The upmarket Times of London gave prominent play on its homepage to the news with the top four stories all about the scandal. It also featured prominent links to the statements from Rupert and James Murdoch. But the Times operates behind a pay wall so the full text of the stories is not available to the casual browser.
Some of the most critical and in-depth coverage could be found in Australia, Murdoch’s home country. The Australian, a national paper, featured the story fourth on its home page. But the text itself cast the closing as caused more by the loss of advertising than by moral concern. It also emphasized the potential political damage to conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and offered extensive critical quotes from opposition leader David Milliband.
In the United States, The Wall Street Journal treated it as a straight business story that noted a 3.6 percent drop in News Corporations share price, the defection of advertisers, and the possible delay of the sale of majority control of the british satellite broadcaster BSkyB to News Corp.
Murdoch’s most prominent American-based tabloid, the New York Post, did not mention the story anywhere on its home page.
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