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News holds number one news traffic ranking in April for fourth consecutive month - May 22, 2023 has retained the number one news website traffic ranking for the fourth month in a row, reaching 12.71 million Australians in April.

The latest Ipsos Iris report showed the news website has resolidified its market-leading stance, although there was a three per cent dip month-on-month in unique audience. Average time on site per person, sitting at 29 minutes and 55 seconds, also slipped modestly compared to March.

Oliver Murray, editor, pointed out April was a month when many should’ve switched off to enjoy Easter and the school holidays.

“It’s testament to our team that we kept serving up news they needed to read,” he said.

That content offering drew in the largest and most engaged audience in the news category, he pointed out – six in 10 online Australians.

“We saw a 17 per cent month-on-month increase in our sports audience to become the number one sports brand, driven by our NRL and AFL coverage,” Murray said.

“Australians also turned to us for travel news, reaching an audience of 2.541 million and leading the travel news category.”

The gap between and rival ABC News, sitting in second spot, is sizeable. The national broadcaster’s web offering attracted the eyeballs of 11.14 million Aussies.

Rounding out the top five was with 10.73 million unique viewers, on 10.06 million, and Daily Mail Australia on 8.35 million.

The Ipsos Iris report found 20.2 million people used a news website or app in April, with engagement increasing by 1.2% to almost six hours per person, per month.

Major news events ranging from the death of comedian Barry Humphries to the arrest of former US President Donald Trump and the federal budget helped fuel the increase, it said.

The report called out travel-related browsing in the month, given Easter and the school holidays, with 16.9 million Aussies aged 14 and above visiting a travel website or app in April.

Those in the 55-plus age bracket spent the most time browsing – 33% more than those under 55 – while women were more likely to use travel sites and apps than men. People aged 25 to 39 are the largest cohort engaging with travel content online.




Mistakes and miscalculations: How the Murdochs and Fox got it so wrong - 30th May 2023

In August 2021, the Fox Corp. board of directors gathered in Los Angeles. Among the topics on the agenda: Dominion Voting Systems’ $US1.6 billion ($2.5 billion) defamation lawsuit against its cable news network, Fox News.

The suit posed a threat to the company’s finances and reputation. But Fox’s chief legal officer, Viet Dinh, reassured the board: Even if the company lost at trial, it would ultimately prevail. The First Amendment was on Fox’s side, he explained, even if proving so could require going to the Supreme Court.

That determination informed a series of missteps and miscalculations over the next 20 months, according to a New York Times review of court and business records, and interviews with roughly a dozen people directly involved in or briefed on the company’s decision-making.

The case resulted in one of the biggest legal and business debacles in the history of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire: an avalanche of embarrassing disclosures from internal messages released in court filings; the largest known settlement in a defamation suit, $US787.5 million; two shareholder lawsuits; and the benching of Fox’s top prime-time star, Tucker Carlson.

And for all of that, Fox still faces a lawsuit seeking even more in damages, $US2.7 billion, filed by another subject of the stolen election theory, voting software company Smartmatic.

Caught flat-footed

Repeatedly, Fox executives overlooked warning signs about the damage they and their network would sustain, the Times found. They also failed to recognise how far their cable news networks, Fox News and Fox Business, had strayed into defamatory territory by promoting President Donald Trump’s election conspiracy theories — the central issue in the case. (Fox maintains it did not defame Dominion.)

When pretrial rulings went against the company, Fox did not pursue a settlement in any real way. Executives were then caught flat-footed as Dominion’s court filings included internal Fox messages that made clear how the company chased a Trump-loving audience that preferred his election lies to the truth.

It was only in February that Murdoch and his son with whom he runs the company, Lachlan Murdoch, began seriously considering settling. Yet they made no major attempt to do so until the eve of the trial in April, after still more damaging public disclosures.

At the centre of the action was Dinh and his overly rosy scenario.

Dinh, a high-level Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, declined several requests for comment, and the company declined to respond to questions about his performance or his legal decisions. “Discussions of specific legal strategy are privileged and confidential,” a company representative said in a statement.

The second half of 2020 brought Fox News to a crisis point. The Fox audience had come to expect favourable news about Trump. But Fox could not provide that on election night, when its decision desk team was first to declare that Trump had lost the critical state of Arizona.

In the days after, Trump’s fans switched off in droves.

The Fox host who was the first to find a way to draw the audience back was Maria Bartiromo. Five days after the election, she invited a guest, Trump-aligned lawyer Sidney Powell, to share details about the false accusations that Dominion, an elections technology company, had switched votes from Trump to Joe Biden.

Soon, wild claims about Dominion appeared elsewhere on Fox, including references to the election company’s supposed (but imagined) ties to the Smartmatic election software company; Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan dictator who died in 2013; George Soros, the billionaire investor and Democratic donor; and China.

‘Fox News did its job, and this is what the First Amendment protects. I’m not at all concerned about such lawsuits, real or imagined.’

Fox’s chief legal officer Viet Dinh

On November 12, a Dominion spokesperson complained to Fox News Media chief executive Suzanne Scott and Fox News Media executive editor Jay Wallace, begging them to make it stop. “We really weren’t thinking about building a litigation record as much as we were trying to stop the bleeding,” said Thomas A. Clare, one of Dominion’s lawyers.

As Fox noted in its court papers, its hosts did begin including company denials. But as they continued to give oxygen to the false allegations, Dominion sent a letter to Fox News general counsel Lily Fu Claffee, demanding that Fox cease and correct the record. “Dominion is prepared to do what is necessary to protect its reputation and the safety of its employees,” the letter warned.

Fox, however, did not respond to the Dominion letter or comply with its requests — now a key issue in a shareholder suit filed in April, which maintains that doing so would have “materially mitigated” Fox’s legal exposure.

Three months after the election, another voting technology company tied to the Dominion conspiracy, Smartmatic, filed its own defamation suit against Fox, seeking $US2.7 billion in damages. Dominion told reporters that it was preparing to file one, too.

Dinh was publicly dismissive.

“The newsworthy nature of the contested presidential election deserved full and fair coverage from all journalists. Fox News did its job, and this is what the First Amendment protects,” Dinh said at the time. “I’m not at all concerned about such lawsuits, real or imagined.”

The Fox legal team based much of the defence on a doctrine known as the neutral reportage privilege. It holds that news organisations cannot be held financially liable for damages when reporting on false allegations made by major public figures as long as they don’t embrace or endorse them.

An early warning came in late 2021. The judge in the case, Eric M. Davis, rejected Fox’s attempt to use the neutral reportage defence to get the suit thrown out, determining that it was not recognised under New York law, which he was applying to the case. Even if it was recognised, Fox would have to show it reported on the allegations “accurately and dispassionately”, and Dominion had made a strong argument that Fox’s reporting was neither, the judge wrote in a ruling.

That ruling meant that Dominion could have access to Fox’s internal communications in discovery.

That was a natural time to settle. But Fox stuck with its defence and its plan.

Treasure trove

At nearly every step, the court overruled Fox’s attempts to limit Dominion’s access to private communications exchanged among hosts, producers and executives. The biggest blow came mid-last year, after a ruling stating that Dominion could review messages from the personal phones of Fox employees, including both Murdochs.

The result was a treasure trove of evidence for Dominion: text messages and emails that revealed the doubts that Rupert Murdoch had about the coverage airing on his network, and assertions by many inside Fox, including Carlson, that fraud could not have made a material difference in the election.

The messages led to even more damaging revelations during depositions. After Dominion’s lawyers confronted Rupert Murdoch with his own messages showing he knew Trump’s stolen election claims were false, he admitted that some Fox hosts appeared to have endorsed stolen election claims.

During Carlson’s deposition last year, Dominion’s lawyers asked about his use of a crude word to describe women — including a ranking Fox executive. They also mentioned a text in which he discussed watching a group of men, who he said were Trump supporters, attack “an Antifa kid”. He lamented in the text, “It’s not how white men fight,” and shared a momentary wish that the group would kill the person. He then said he regretted that instinct.

There is no indication that Carlson’s texts tripped alarms at the top of Fox at that point.

The alarms rang in February, when reams of other internal Fox communications became public. The public’s reaction was so negative that some people at the company believed that a jury could award Dominion more than $US1 billion. Yet the company made no serious bid to settle.

All along, the Fox board had been taking a wait-and-see approach.

But the judge’s pretrial decisions began to change the board’s thinking. Also, in those final days before the trial, Fox was hit with new lawsuits. One, from former Fox producer Abby Grossberg, accused Carlson of promoting a hostile work environment. Another, filed by a shareholder, accused the Murdochs and several directors of failing to stop the practices that made Fox vulnerable to legal claims.

The weekend before the trial was to begin, the board asked Fox to see the internal Fox communications that were not yet public but that could still come out in the courtroom.

The board learned for the first time of the Carlson text that referred to “how white men fight”. Dinh did not know about the message until that weekend, according to two people familiar with the matter.

By the time the board learned of the message, the Murdochs had already determined that a trial loss could be far more damaging than they were initially told to expect. A substantial jury award could weigh on the company’s stock for years as the appeals process played out.

“The distraction to our company, the distraction to our growth plans — our management — would have been extraordinarily costly, which is why we decided to settle,” Lachlan Murdoch said at an investment conference this month.

The text also helped lead to the Murdochs’ decision to abruptly pull Carlson off the air. Their view had hardened that their top-rated star wasn’t worth all the downsides he brought with him.

Still pending is the Smartmatic suit. In April, Fox agreed to hand over additional internal documents relating to several executives, including the Murdochs and Dinh. In a statement reminiscent of Dinh’s early view of the Dominion case, the network said that Fox was protected by the First Amendment.

“We will be ready to defend this case surrounding extremely newsworthy events when it goes to trial, likely in 2025,” the statement said.


Lachlan Murdoch explains $1.2b settlement, says Fox News won’t change ‘successful strategy’ - 10th May 2023

Fox News paid $US787 million ($1.16 billion) to settle a recent lawsuit on its reporting after the 2020 election to avoid a divisive trial and lengthy appeals process, its parent company’s chief executive said.

Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corp., also noted that a Delaware judge “severely limited” Fox’s defences against Dominion Voting Systems, which said the network defamed it by airing bogus charges of election fraud that it knew was untrue.

Fox Corp announced that it had lost $US50 million the previous three months, which it attributed to the lawsuit settlement. Murdoch, who answered questions from financial analysts, was speaking in public for the first time since the case ended and Fox fired its most popular anchor, Tucker Carlson. Carlson has just announced he is launching a new show on Twitter.

Murdoch said viewers, and investors, should expect no change in direction from Fox News.

“We made the business decision to resolve this dispute and avoid the acrimony of a divisive trial and multi-year appeal process, a decision clearly in the best interests of the company and its shareholders,” he said.

Fox still believes it was properly exercising its First Amendment rights to report on newsworthy fraud allegations made by former President Donald Trump, even though that defence was shot down in a pre-trial court ruling in the Dominion case, Murdoch said.

That’s important, since Murdoch said Fox intends to use the same defence against a similar lawsuit by another elections technology company, Smartmatic. That case is not expected to go to trial until at least 2025, he said.

Despite being asked directly about Carlson’s exit, Murdoch didn’t mention the former prime-time host’s name and referred to his reign obliquely. Fox has not explained why it cut ties with Carlson.

“There’s no change in programming strategy at Fox News,” he said. “It’s obviously a successful strategy. As always, we are adjusting our programming and our lineup and that’s what we continue to do.”

Although hurt by the Carlson exit, Fox News remains the leading cable news network.

Fox has lost viewers following Carlson’s firing. Last week’s substitute host, Lawrence Jones, reached between 1.28 million and 1.7 million last week in a time slot where Carlson usually drew around 3 million, the Nielsen company said.

Yet Fox has gained more than 40 new advertisers in that hour, the network said, confirming a report in Variety. Advertisers like Gillette, Scott’s Miracle Gro and Secret deodorant that had considered Carlson’s show a toxic environment have signed on.



News Corp.-Fox Merger Faces Opposition From Key Shareholder In Both Companies - November 24, 2022


A London-based investor in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and Fox Corp. has reportedly expressed its opposition to the companies’ potential reunification.

Independent Franchise Partners is one of the largest shareholders apart from the Murdoch family, with stakes in Fox and News Corp. of more than 7%. The companies confirmed several weeks ago they were formally considering a potential merger, bringing assets like Fox News, the Fox broadcast network, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones under a single umbrella.

IFP said it told a special merger committee set up by News Corp. that it believes a combination would not realize the full value of both entities, a rep from the investment firm told Deadline. Instead, it recommended that any merger should only be pursued in co-ordination with the sale of certain holdings of News Corp.

The news was first reported by the Journal.

It is the second indication of reservations about the deal among shareholders in recent days. Irenic Capital, which owns 2% of News Corp. and has taken an activist role, signaled its opposition earlier this week, citing the soft ad climate and legal liability related to the multi-billion-dollar lawsuit against Fox News filed by Dominion Voting Systems.

News Corp. and Fox both declined comment.

The Murdoch family controls roughly 40% of the voting rights to both companies. Fox Corp. emerged as a smaller, more TV-focused entity from a $71.3 billion deal with Disney in 2019. In that transaction, Disney acquired most of preceding corporate entity 21st Century Fox. As currently constituted, Fox Corp principal holdings include its flagship broadcast network, Fox Sports, Fox News, a portfolio of local TV stations and the Tubi streaming service. While it has posted solid results and avoided the resource drain of subscription streaming, Fox lacks the scale of many of its rivals and some Wall Street analysts have raised questions about its prospects at its current size, given current pressures on TV advertising and the acceleration of cord-cutting.




News Corp Australia Executive Chairman, Michael Miller, covers Press Freedom; Media Man agency follows up with their thoughts on the matter - 29th October 2019


Sports Sports Betting Television Wrestling Business Entertainment Pop Culture Steaming

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Michael Miller. Executive Chairman, News Corp Australasia


Larry King a giant of US media fears Australia is at a 'dangerous crossroads' & has challenged governments refusing to let the public know what they're doing: 'What have you got to be secretive about? What are you afraid of?' #yourrighttoknow @kingsthings


You’re at dangerous crossroads, warns legendary news anchor Larry King - 29th October 2019
(The Australian)

Australia’s freedom-of-speech laws have outraged US television veteran Larry King.



Veteran newsman Larry King has attacked Australia’s draconian freedom-of-speech laws, saying he would “react with violence” if police raided his home in a bid to identify the source of a story.

The American broadcaster, who hosted the eponymous Larry King Live on CNN for a quarter of a century, called on Scott Morrison to introduce legislation ­properly protecting whistleblowers and journalists, describing them as the cornerstone of a ­robust democracy.

King said he was outraged to learn Australian Federal Police had raided the home of News Corp Australia reporter Annika Smethurst and the ABC’s Sydney headquarters in June, in a crackdown on public interest reporting reliant on whistleblowers.

“I am not a violent person but, if that had happened to me, I would have reacted with violence,” the 85-year-old told The Australian.

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“I’ve been in the business 62 years and I’ve never heard of anything like it. I can only tell you that, as an American journalist, I am shocked. I’ve always had Australia’s quality journalism high on my list of the best journalism in the world, but it’s at a dangerous crossroads. In all these years, I’ve never been censored, never been stopped from saying anything, never had a guest cancelled ­because someone didn’t like what they had to say — and I’ve interviewed every controversial person on the planet.

“A strong media is essential to the progress of a country and the wellbeing of a country.”

King, who has collected two Peabodys and an Emmy award for his work and still hosts a weekly interview program, said the Morrison government needed to enact laws similar to the first amendment to the US constitution, which protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

“I don’t think there is anything more important than the first amendment,” he said. “If the US didn’t have it, we would be limp and we would be in trouble. I can’t believe Australia doesn’t have laws to protect a free and open media – and if there are police raids on the press in Australia, you need them.”

King said he had taken a particular interest in Australian politics since joining the board of Australian beverage company Lifestyle Global Brands, and being exposed to the national Your Right To Know campaign.

The campaign, which has ­united media companies across the country, has shone a light on the escalating culture of government secrecy – and the deleterious effect it is having on public accountability of politicians, public servants and the courts.

“I hate secretive countries, ­secretive governments,” King said.

“What have you got to be secretive about? What are you afraid of?

“If you want to be a public official, or if you want to serve the public, you have to be ready to take the criticism that comes with it.”

He said the campaign came at a crucial time for media across the world, with politicians such as ­Donald Trump eroding faith in the media. “I’ve known Trump for 35 years; he’s not the president I thought he would be,” King said.

King said press freedom was not an issue that only ­affected journalists. Every member of society should speak out if they witnessed wrongdoing. “Don’t be afraid to come forward,” he said.

(The Australian)


Greg Tingle (Media Man Int and Media Man Australia) response

Excellent that our American comrades are speaking up on this. We can not expect quite the same sentiment by President Trump. Perhaps King has picked up the ball from Jesse Ventura and is running with it. Ventura broadcasting Conspiracy Theory has been a double edged sword for him. It gave ammunition to naysayers to say that he's full of unproven conspiracy theories on any matter they don't agree with. Perhaps the likes of Howard Stern could also chip in on the matter of Australian and international press freedom. The problem with Stern is that he did a lot of risqué publicity stunts and such earlier in his career, but they also helped put him on the map, almost in a Kyle Sandilands type of fashion (sorry about the Kyle reference, but to make the point). Russell Brand could also be an interesting American based media figure to help us also fight the good fight on press freedom. Brand has an interesting podcast on Luminary which goes for about $5 a month, but hey, journalism can cost money to produce as we have heard from Rupert Murdoch and many others plenty of times. The FAANGS took the majority of media advertising dollars out of Australia on the watch of primarily the Liberal Government, so Aussie media firms have been exploring changes to their business model, with mixed results. Back on point, more U.S based journalists and broadcasts keeping the Aussie press freedom fight alive is well. Public thank you to King and now how about some follow ups from Stern and Ventura (when he gets back on grid / The Matrix) from his world HQ in New Mexico. Joe Rogan could be an interesting commentator on the press freedom issue. Just check out his guest portfolio and you will soon see why. Thank you News for the continued coverage of one of the most important issues of our times. Should News Corp also aim to get commentary from fellow Aussie's such as "The Human Headline" Derryn Hinch and Doug Mulray, or are either of them a bit too outspoken and uncensored for News liking (or maybe that's just what the doctor ordered)? Now a movie / documentary recommendation: 'They Live' by the brilliant John Carpenter. More doco than movie John and the late Roddy Piper tell us. Peace Out from Sydney's Eastern Suburbs.


'They Live'. Image selected by Greg Tingle

'They Live'. Image selected by Greg Tingle

'Citizen Kane' Image selected by Greg Tingle


'Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas'. Image selected by Greg Tingle


'The Rum Diary'. Image selected by Greg Tingle


Jesse Ventura interviews Chris Jericho (The World According To Jesse). Image selected by Greg Tingle


Howard Stern "The King Of All Media". Image selected by Greg Tingle


Russell Brand. 'Under The Skin'. Image selected by Greg Tingle


Doug Mulray. Famous and infamous Australian radio personality. Image selected by Greg Tingle

Greg Tingle interviews Doug Mulray - 18th June 2003


Phillip Adams. Image selected by Greg Tingle

Greg Tingle interviews Phillip Adams - 3rd April 2003