Rupert Murdoch wants to continue to have a friend in the White House. That is one of the emerging themes of election 2008. Murdoch, the conservative billionaire who founded News Corp and right wing publications and media like the New York Post and Fox News has been a visceral supporter of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for President. As reported in the New York Times, a new lawsuit by Judith Regan, a former head of a subdivision/imprint of Harper publishing, itself a subdivision of News Corp, alleges that News Corp senior executives encouraged her to lie to Federal Prosecutors investigating Bernard Kerik, a prominent friend of Giuliani. Regan says the reason given to her as to why she should lie was that her truthful input into the investigation of Kerik could harm Giuliani’s effort to win the Presidency.
Murdoch - A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma
The famous Churchillian quote about Russia applies to Murdoch. My research on him reveals a man who is enigmatic and ruthless but generous in terms of money and effort for his friends. But while Giuliani has been a good friend of Mr. Murdoch and Murdoch’s clear favorite to win the White House in 2008, as in the past Murdoch isn’t above hedging his bets. Murdoch contributed to the Kerry campaign in 2004 despite backing Bush and is contributing to the campaign of Hillary Clinton in 2008. You could spin the contribution to and support of Clinton a number of ways. You could say that Murdoch believes Clinton is the easiest for Giuliani to beat and therefore Murdoch wants her to be the nominee. Alternatively, you could say that of the candidates, he finds Hillary Clinton’s positions on the issues are the most palatable to him. Or, you could simply say that he believes she has the greatest chance to win among Democrats and he is hedging as I posited.
I discussed another aspect of the enigmatic nature of Mr. Murdoch in one of my first articles, “Rupert Murdoch, Funds Red, Lives Blue” http://www.elitestv.com/pub/2004/Dec/EEN41c45dd4b93d3.html which explored the contradiction of a man who is a staunch supporter of all conservative causes and candidates yet chooses to live in New York City the epitome of a Liberal American city. At the time, December of 2004, Murdoch was preparing to spend $44 million for a New York City Co-op, which, in a city known for pricey real estate, would have been at the time the largest amount ever spent for a New York Co-op. So, Murdoch doesn’t just have a wee preference for liberal New York, he likes it so much he is willing to make an otherworldly massive investment in living there.
The Judith Regan lawsuit shows, allegedly, how far Murdoch is willing to go to promote and protect a friend. I reached out to News Corp for a comment on Regan’s allegations but the request went unanswered. According to the New York Times, Regan’s suit alleges:
“…an effort to discredit and defame her starting in November 2006, including the release of what she calls false and defamatory statements by company executives to The New York Post, which is owned by the News Corporation, and to The New York Times
when she [Regan] realized the company had been assembling material with which to justify firing her she called a company lawyer. She says she wanted to confirm that accusations she had made about executives’ creating a hostile workplace had been included in her personnel file. One of those accusations was that an executive had advised her to lie about Mr. Kerik to protect Mr. Giuliani.
“This smear campaign was necessary to advance News Corp.’s political agenda, which has long centered on protecting Rudy Giuliani’s presidential ambitions,”
The complaint asserts that a second unnamed executive advised her “not to produce clearly relevant documents in connection with the government’s investigation of Kerik.”
“Thus, because of the damaging information that defendants believed Regan possessed, defendants knew they would be protecting Giuliani if they could pre-emptively discredit her,” the lawsuit says.
Regan was accused of asserting that “A Jewish Cabal” was behind her ouster from her various News Corp positions. Regan says that the smear campaign made this up. She acknowledges that she used the word cabal, but Regan, who herself is Jewish, says she never mentioned a ‘Jewish’ cabal. Regan seems to have witnesses who corroborate her version of events in this regard.
Intent to Protect and Support Giuliani Backfiring
If the balance of Regan’s accusations is true, they paint an astounding picture of the ruthlessness of Murdoch and News Corp and how important Murdoch and News Corp consider the support of Giuliani’s Presidential ambitions. In an interesting twist, these efforts will probably do more to hurt Giuliani than anything else will, because Regan’s resulting lawsuit will keep Kerik and Giuliani’s friendship and support of Kerik in the news for the near future. There is also the hint of yet unrevealed information that would be extremely damaging to Giuliani if released.