Sunday, July 31, 2011

Murdoch and the American Public School System

ANDY JAMES (Spokesman Review): Amy Goodman’s column (“News Corp. merits scrutiny”) exposes Rupert Murdoch’s intent to cash in on the selling of America’s public schools. Joel Klein, former chancellor of the New York City schools, was recently hired by Murdoch to develop “business strategies for the emerging educational marketplace.” To this end, the NYC public schools granted News Corp. a $2.7 million contract and the New York State Education Department is close to granting a News Corp. subsidiary, Wireless Generation, a $27 million no-bid contract.

In Murdoch’s own words, “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone.”
The No Child Left Behind bill will facilitate this sellout. In 2014, NCLB requires every student in every public school that receives federal, Title I money, to meet all the standards of their state’s exams in order to avoid being taken over, either by the state, a private business or a charter school (many of which are for-profit businesses). To get 100 percent of any student body to this level is likely impossible. But then, maybe that was the point.

AMY GOODMAN (Democracy Now): There are some very interesting figures on News Corp.’s board that are based right here in the United States. For example, Joel Klein, well known to New Yorkers, he was the former schools chancellor. And interestingly, the New York Daily News reports that a business News Corp. acquired just after Klein joined the board is now facing scrutiny, since it deals with schoolchildren’s personal data, New York state awarding Wireless Generation a no-bid, $27 million contract. Now parents are questioning whether News Corp. should have access like that to their children. And you also have a familiar name in national politics on the board, Viet Dinh, who is a power attorney here, assistant attorney general under George W. Bush, principal author of the USA PATRIOT Act, the law that, among other things, prompted an unprecedented expansion of government eavesdropping.

Voormalig medewerker The Wall Street Journal Europe inspiratiebron voor Breivik

Paul Belien, voormalig medewerker The Wall Street Journal Europe, startte in 2005 met The Brussels Journal, met als slagzin "the voice of conservatism in Europe". Schrijfwijze van de titel "The Brussels Journal" en "The Wall Street Journal Europe" lijken erg veel op elkaar. Belien zou als inspiratiebron gediend hebben voor de Noorse moordenaar Breivik. Hij zou 80 maal met naam genoemd zijn in het manifest "2038 A European Declaration of Independence" samengesteld en geschreven door Breivik.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blood & Roses. The Song of Joan and Gilles. Festival d'Avignon.

Magnificent. Flemish talent at the Festival d'Avignon. Blood and Roses, a theather show directed by Guy Cassiers, and written by Tom Lanoye. Great performance by Johan Leysen as Gilles de Rais.

director: Guy Cassiers
text: Tom Lanoye
dramaturg: Erwin Jans
music: Dominique Pauwels
scenography: Guy Cassiers, Enrico Bagnoli, Ief Spincemaille vidéo Ief Spincemaille
lighting: Enrico Bagnoli
sound: Diederik De Cock
costumes: Tim Van Steenbergen
direction and musical repetition: Frank Agsteribbe

with Katelijne Damen, Stefaan Degand, Abke Haring, Han Kerckhoffs, Johan Leysen, Johan Van Assche, Jos Verbist
and Collegium Vocale Gent singers Sylvia Broeckaert, João Cabral, Jonathan De Ceuster, Emilie De Voght, Stefan Drexlmeier, Joachim Höchbauer, Vincent Lesage, Katherine Nicholson, Louise Wayman.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hackers post 'Murdoch dead' story on Sun site

The website of British tabloid The Sun has been hacked by internet pranksters.
The homepage of the News International newspaper,, was this morning redirecting readers to a page announcing the false death of Rupert Murdoch.
The hoax story said the Australian-born media mogul had been found dead in his garden after an overdose of palladium, a poisonous chemical.
Hacking group LulzSec used its Twitter account to claim responsibility for the attack.

"Can you spell success, gentlemen?" the group tweeted.

The hoax story reported an "officer" as saying: "We found the chemicals sitting beside a kitchen table, recently cooked. From what we can gather, Murdoch melted and consumed large quantities of it before exiting into his garden".

The bogus story is also peppered with hactivist references.

It claimed the 80-year-old Murdoch ingested palladium before "stumbling into his famous topiary garden" — "Topiary" is the pseudonym for a member of LulzSec who reportedly runs the group's Twitter account.
The story also contains the LulzSec mascot — a top hat and monocle-clad stick figure.
"Officers on the scene report a broken glass, a box of vintage wine, and what seems to be a family album strewn across the floor, containing images from days gone by; some containing handpainted portraits of Murdoch in his early days, donning a top hat and monocle," it read.
LulzSec has previously claimed responsibility for hacking the websites of the CIA, Sony Pictures, and TV network PBS. But the six-member group announced late last month it was disbanding.
The re-direct to the false Murdoch death story was first noticed by ninemsn at 7.30am AEST.
At around 8.15am AEST the homepage began re-directing readers to LulzSec's Twitter page.
Shortly after 9am AEST The Sun homepage address, one of the best-rating news sites in Britain, stopped linking to the Twitter page and simply recorded an error message.
The hactivist group claimed the hoax story is "simply phase 1 - expect the lulz to flow in coming days".

Source: 9News

"Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius"

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

Example of what kind of emotions Murdoch triggers in UK society

Murdoch Protest tomorrow at Parliament
1.30pm, Tuesday 19 July, Portcullis House, Parliament
Protest against the Murdoch empire, its corruption of our democracy, and its relentless attacks on working people, public services, and the welfare state.

Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch, and Rebekah Brooks will be questioned in Parliament this Tuesday. The people of Britain should be there to let them know what we think of their contempt for our democracy.

Murdoch uses his News International media empire to routinely abuse the poor and powerless in the interests of the rich. He has sunk tentacles of corruption deep into British public life.

Police officers have sold information, and other police officers have covered up for them. Politicians have fawned on Murdoch – allowing the democracy they are supposed to represent to be undermined by unaccountable media power.

Andy Coulson, a corrupt NI executive, had access to the innermost corridors of power in the entourage of Tory Prime Minister David Cameron.

Press, police, and politicians are in the dock.

That’s why the Coalition of Resistance is calling on all its supporters who can get there to join the protest against the Murdoch empire, its corruption of our democracy, and its relentless attacks on working people, public services, and the welfare state

Clean up the press
Clean up the police
Clean up Parliament

Contact us
Call 07913 643485

Monday, July 18, 2011

Larsen to Be Next Dow Jones CEO?

Todd Larsen
Dow Jones
Dow Jones is without a CEO following the resignation last week of Les Hinton who had been sucked back into the phone hacking issues which happened on his watch in his previous job as head of News International. When News Corp bought Dow Jones in 2007 Chairman Rupert Mudoch flew his loyal lieutenant of 48 years to New York to take charge and to begin a transformation of the company. Together with editor Robert Thompson, Hinton brought the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) more into the mainstream. In Dow Jones he'd inherited a company divided - the Enterprise Media Group (EMG), including news aggregator Factiva and news service Dow Jones Newswires, at times competed with the so-called Consumer Media Group (CMG) which included WSJ, Barron's, Marketwatch and Financial News. In 2010 those two groups were merged under the leadership of the President of CMG Todd Larsen, who was appointed President of Dow Jones. That move put Clare Hart, head of EMG, out of a job.

Larsen, who looks about 16, is now the most likely internal candidate to fill the void left by Hinton. He has worked for Dow Jones since 1999 and is widely credited as being key to the success of WSJ's pay wall strategies. As a potential figure-head of the business he perhaps lacks the confidence and easy-going charm of Hinton and has been ruthless at times when it comes to axing long-term staffers but he has a sharp business brain.

But Murdoch often favours journalists to head up his newspaper companies and Larsen doesn't come from that background. Robert Thompson may be a potential candidate but his connections with News International could create a PR problem if he were appointed, although there has been no suggestion that Thompson is implicated in the phone hacking affair. The only other likely internal candidates have both left the company: Paul Bascobert, the former Chief Marketing Officer left to head up Bloomberg BusinessWeek and CFO Stephen Daintith, who Hinton brought with him from News International, returned to his homeland this year as Finance Director of DGMT, publisher of the Daily Mail.

It's unlikely that this time Murdoch will bring across a News International person to head up Dow Jones (certainly not CEO Rebekah Brooks who has resigned and been arrested) so he'll either have to poach from another News Corp property or look outside. in the meantime, Todd Larsen is apparently acting as CEO, reporting to News Corp COO Chase Carey.

The Wall Street Journal prides itself on balanced and fact-based reporting but the Opinion and Editorial pages (OpEd) have free rein to air controversial views, often quite right wing. In the opinion section of the website today there's a stout defence of Les Hinton's record adding that "We shudder to think what the paper would look like today without the sale to News Corp." The unsigned piece then goes on to rant about News Corp's "competitor critics" saying "The Schadenfreude is so thick you can't cut it with a chainsaw." The article has prompted 139 comments so far, mostly negative. "A masterpiece of bootlicking of your Murdochian overlord," wrote Jean King. "Apparently you do not realise how bad this Rupert-serving, Rupert-exculpatory screed looks. Another exercise in poor judgment."


Amazing, Fox News in the US presents News of the World almost as a victim of the hacking problem, rather than as a perpetrator.

Fox News is also owned by Murdoch. Watch how the 'journalist' defends Murdoch (his boss) with the help of a so called expert, Bob Dilenschneider, who states that it's terrible that the mainstream media are wasting so much time on this old-news London hacking story rather than paying attention to what really matters.

The Journal Becomes Fox-ified

Op-Ed Columnist
The Journal Becomes Fox-ified
The New York Times

It took Rupert Murdoch only three and a half years to get there, starting with the moment he acquired the paper from the dysfunctional Bancroft family in December 2007, a purchase that was completed after he vowed to protect The Journal’s editorial integrity and agreed to a (toothless) board that was supposed to make sure he kept that promise.

Fat chance of that. Within five months, Murdoch had fired the editor and installed his close friend Robert Thomson, fresh from a stint Fox-ifying The Times of London. The new publisher was Leslie Hinton, former boss of the division that published Murdoch’s British newspapers, including The News of the World. (He resigned on Friday.) Soon came the changes, swift and sure: shorter articles, less depth, an increased emphasis on politics and, weirdly, sometimes surprisingly unsophisticated coverage of business.

Along with the transformation of a great paper into a mediocre one came a change that was both more subtle and more insidious. The political articles grew more and more slanted toward the Republican party line. The Journal sometimes took to using the word “Democrat” as an adjective instead of a noun, a usage favored by the right wing. In her book, “War at The Wall Street Journal,” Sarah Ellison recounts how editors inserted the phrase “assault on business” in an article about corporate taxes under President Obama. The Journal was turned into a propaganda vehicle for its owner’s conservative views. That’s half the definition of Fox-ification.

The other half is that Murdoch’s media outlets must shill for his business interests. With the News of the World scandal, The Journal has now shown itself willing to do that, too.

As a business story, the News of the World scandal isn’t just about phone hacking and police bribery. It is about Murdoch’s media empire, the News Corporation, being at risk — along with his family’s once unshakable hold on it. The old Wall Street Journal would have been leading the pack in pursuit of that story.

Now? At first, The Journal ignored the scandal, even though, as the Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff pointed out in Adweek, it was front-page news all across Britain. Then, when the scandal was no longer avoidable, The Journal did just enough to avoid being accused of looking the other way. Blogging for Columbia Journalism Review, Dean Starkman, the media critic, described The Journal’s coverage as “obviously hamstrung, and far, far below the paper’s true capacity.”

On Friday, however, the coverage went all the way to craven. The paper published an interview with Murdoch that might as well have been dictated by the News Corporation public relations department. He was going to testify before Parliament next week, he told the Journal reporter, because “it’s important to absolutely establish our integrity.” Some of the accusations made in Parliament were “total lies.” The News Corporation had handled the scandal “extremely well in every way possible.” So had his son James, a top company executive. “When I hear something going wrong, I insist on it being put right,” he said. He was “getting annoyed” by the scandal. And “tired.” And so on.

In the article containing the interview, there was no pushback against any of these statements, even though several of them bordered on the delusional. The two most obvious questions — When did Murdoch first learn of the phone hacking at The News of the World? And when did he learn that reporters were bribing police officers for information? — went unasked. The Journal reporter had either been told not to ask those questions, or instinctively knew that he shouldn’t. It is hard to know which is worse. The dwindling handful of great journalists who remain at the paper — Mark Maremont, Alan Murray and Alix Freedman among them — must be hanging their heads in shame.

To tell you the truth, I’m hanging my head in shame too. Four years ago, when Murdoch was battling recalcitrant members of the Bancroft family to gain control of The Journal, which he had long lusted after and which he viewed as the vehicle that would finally allow him to go head-to-head against The New York Times, I wrote several columns saying that he would be a better owner than the Bancrofts.

The Bancrofts’ history of mismanagement had made The Journal vulnerable in the first place. I thought that Murdoch’s resources would stop the financial bleeding, and that his desire for a decent legacy would keep him from destroying a great newspaper.

After the family agreed to sell to him, Elisabeth Goth, the brave Bancroft heir who had long tried to get her family to fix the company, told me, “He has a tremendous opportunity, and I don’t think he’s going to blow it.” In that same column, I wrote, “The chances of Mr. Murdoch wrecking The Journal are lower than you’d think.”

Mea culpa.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on July 16, 2011, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: The Journal Becomes Fox-ified.

Ex-Murdoch aide Rebekah Brooks bailed

British police have released Rebekah Brooks, the former head of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper wing, Rebekah Brookson bail following her arrest over the phone-hacking scandal.

"I can confirm that she (Brooks) was released earlier this evening and has been bailed until late October," her spokesman David Wilson said.

Grassroot movements in the US to confront Murdoch

ColorOfChange will confront Rupert Murdoch at his NYC home on 7/14.

A Public Message from James Murdoch on the News Corp. Scandal.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

WikiLeaks (temporary?) out of business

At the moment WikiLeaks is not accepting new submissions due to re-engineering improvements the site to make it both more secure and more user-friendly. Since WikiLeaks is not currently accepting submissions during the re-engineering, they have also temporarily closed their online chat support for how to make a submission.

Our opinion: If WikiLeaks wants to remain a believable news source it has to remove the Homepage ad, featuring Julian Assange asking the public 'to keep us stong'. Who is 'us' in the ad ? It is not clear any more if donations are used to help finance the defence of Assange's personal court case, or the further development of WikiLeaks as a news site.

Former CEO News International Rebekah Brooks arrested in London

Secret Sound Recording Rebekah Brooks speaking to News of the World staff July 8, 2011

Rebekah Brooks tells around 200 journalists, all of whom have been told that they will lose their jobs, that the paper's brand had become "toxic" and there was no way it could recover from the damage of the phone hacking scandal.

An unknown staff member confronts the News International chief executive in front of colleagues, demanding to know why staff would want to continue to work for News International, saying she had "toxified" the brand. Staff at the Wapping office said they were being "hung out to dry" after security guards appeared on the doors of the newsroom and their internet access was blocked.

2009: Murdoch cuts off Fox News anchor who asks about News of the World scandal

"No Worries, Mr Chairman"
Rupert Murdoch stops Fox News anchor Stuart Varney for mentioning hacking scandal back in 2009.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Resignation letter Les Hinton, CEO Dow Jones, News Corp, nr 1 The Wall Street Journal

In his resignation letter to Mr. Murdoch, Mr. Hinton wrote:

Dear Rupert,
I have watched with sorrow from New York as the News of the World story has unfolded. I have seen hundreds of news reports of both actual and alleged misconduct during the time I was executive chairman of News International and responsible for the company. The pain caused to innocent people is unimaginable. That I was ignorant of what apparently happened is irrelevant and in the circumstances I feel it is proper for me to resign from News Corp, and apologize to those hurt by the actions of the News of the World.
When I left News International in December 2007, I believed that the rotten element at the News of the World had been eliminated; that important lessons had been learned; and that journalistic integrity was restored.
My testimonies before the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee were given honestly. When I appeared before the Committee in March 2007, I expressed the belief that Clive Goodman had acted alone, but made clear our investigation was continuing.
In September 2009, I told the Committee there had never been any evidence delivered to me that suggested the conduct had spread beyond one journalist. If others had evidence that wrongdoing went further, I was not told about it.
Finally, I want to express my gratitude to you for a wonderful working life. My admiration and respect for you are unbounded. You have built a magnificent business since I first joined 52 years ago and it has been an honor making my contribution.
With my warmest best wishes,

Resignation Letter Les Hinton to Wall Street Journal Staff

In a letter to the staff of the Wall Street Journal, Hinton said:

Dear all,
Many of you will be aware by now that I resigned today from Dow Jones and News Corp. I attach below my resignation letter to Rupert Murdoch.
It is a deeply, deeply sad day for me.
I want you all to know the pride and pleasure I have taken working at Dow Jones for the past three-and-a-half years. I have never been with better, more dedicated people, or had more fun in a job.
News Corp under Rupert’s brilliant leadership has proved a fitting parent of Dow Jones, allowing us to invest and expand as other media companies slashed costs. This support enabled us together to strengthen the company during a brutal economic downturn, developing fine new products – not to mention one of the world’s great newspapers led by one of the world’s great editors, my dear friend and colleague Robert Thomson.
However difficult this moment is for me, I depart with the certain knowledge that we have built the momentum to take Dow Jones on to ever greater things.
Good luck to you all and thank you.

Les Hinton, CEO News Corp, resigns!

Is Murdoch bad for Britain ?

Click the title and read the article.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

4th of July Washington

Most impressive fireworks I have ever seen.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Opening Seauton Iberia

I met Jan Samyn when I was a student leader at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. I was a last year student, heading Apolloon, and he just entered university. Normally first year students do not end up in the organizing committee of a student association. But Jan had something special. You could feel he could make a difference. And he did (his first assignment in our student association was to inflate party balloons). Four years after I left university he became a student leader himself. And twelve years ago he founded his own company, Seauton (Greek for “Know Yourself”) a conference organization. Today Seauton is probably the biggest independent MICE company in Belgium (meetings, incentives, conferences and events). Last year Seauton was chosen by the VBO to organize their European Business Summit. And now Jan opened a Seauton office in Portugal. I was privileged to witness the opening.