It is fair to say that today News Corp is one of the least trusted transnational businesses. This is a betrayal of the company’s own SBC. An entire section of the SBC was dedicated to ‘trust’ – both with its partners as well as its customers. Both these relationships are significantly weakened today. Studied in the backdrop of TBL News Corp’s ethics score even more poorly. The illegal phone-tapping and espionage activities carried out in 2011-12 by the company are one of the lowest points in its history. It is a failure to meet the commitment made in the SBC that says “We do not obtain information about competitors through theft, blackmail, wiretapping, trespassing or other methods prohibited by law “ (SBC, 2013) It is such a steep fall from the respectability earned under Keith Murdoch. While as a business personality Rupert Murdoch can be charming and polite, his style and goals of business are far from agreeable. Indeed the disrepute surrounding his media conglomerate is such that News Corporation’s foray into the American media industry was fraught with mistrust and fear by commentators and media analysts. Mike Royko has this to say about Murdoch, based on how News Corp’s ventures in Chicago panned out – “a greedy, money-grubbing, power-seeking, status-climbing cad”; Auberon Waugh’s description of the media mogul is no less flattering – “a hairy-heeled, tit-and-bum merchant from Oz”; even more to the point, Lowell Weicker called Murdoch “the number-one dirt-bag” in the business. (Sherrill, 1993) This assessment of the leader of News Corp from within the industry is an indication of the broader public distrust of the enterprise. Between the lines one can read the dangers posed by monopoly in an industry that is crucial to socio-cultural discourse. It is highly unlikely that any business enterprise could establish a monopoly by adopting fair and ethical means. This is underscored by the fact that some major monopolies in the IT industry, most notably Microsoft and Google, have several lawsuits lined up against them on grounds of thwarting fair competition and employing unethical business methods. In this regard, it is a letting down of ‘people’ as seen through the TBL criteria.
In conclusion, it is fair to sum up that News Corp scores fairly poorly upon evaluating its ethics. Not only does the media empire fail to measure up to the triple bottom-line criteria, but it also doesn’t fulfil principles outlined in its internal Standards of Business Conduct document. The current situation is a decline from the days of Keith Murdoch, wherein a more moderate and reasonable approach to business prevailed. More of concern is the fact that News Corp can no longer claim to be a journalistic enterprise, with all its attendant values and virtues. Sleaze, scandal and salaciousness have come to dominate the content of News Corp. When this fact is allied to the empire’s extreme right-wing orientation, it poses a serious threat to social harmony and political progress.