'NYT' Continues Probe of Murdoch -- This Time His China Ties -- And News Corp. Hits Back

By: E&P Staff After a massive probe of several aspects of mogul Rupert Murdoch's career on Monday, The New York Times returns Tuesday with a lengthy look at his connections with and views on China.

As with the first article, Murdoch refused to undergo an interview, but his News Corp. issues the following statement: ?News Corp. has consistently cooperated with The New York Times in its coverage of the company. However, the agenda for this unprecedented series is so blatantly designed to further the Times?s commercial self-interests ? by undermining a direct competitor poised to become an even more formidable competitor ? that it would be reckless of us to participate in their malicious assault. Ironically, The Times, by using its news pages to advance its own corporate business agenda, is doing the precise thing they accuse us of doing without any evidence.?

The article by Joseph Kahn opens as follows. It runs in full at www.nytimes.com.


Many big companies have sought to break into the Chinese market over the past two decades, but few of them have been as ardent and unrelenting as Rupert Murdoch?s News Corporation.

Mr. Murdoch has flattered Communist Party leaders and done business with their children. His Fox News network helped China?s leading state broadcaster develop a news Web site. He joined hands with the Communist Youth League, a power base in the ruling party, in a risky television venture, his China managers and advisers say.

Mr. Murdoch?s third wife, Wendi, is a mainland Chinese who once worked for his Hong Kong-based satellite broadcaster, Star TV. Her role in managing investments and honing elite connections in China has underscored uncertainties within the Murdoch family about how the family-controlled News Corporation will be run after Mr. Murdoch, 76, retires or dies.

Regulatory barriers and management missteps have thwarted Mr. Murdoch?s hopes of big profits in China. He has said his local business hit a ?brick wall? after a bid to corral prime-time broadcasting rights fell apart in 2005, costing him tens of millions of dollars.

But as he seeks to buy Dow Jones, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal, his track record in China has attracted attention less because of profits and losses than for what it shows about his management style.

Mr. Murdoch cooperates closely with China?s censors and state broadcasters, several people who worked for him in China say. He cultivates political ties that he hopes will insulate his business ventures from regulatory interference, these people say.

In speeches and interviews, Mr. Murdoch often supports the policies of Chinese leaders and attacks their critics. A group of China-based reporters for The Journal accused him in a letter to Dow Jones shareholders of ?sacrificing journalistic integrity to satisfy personal and political aims,? a charge the News Corporation denies.

His courtship has made him the Chinese leadership?s favorite foreign media baron.


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