LONDONâ€”Dow Jones & Co.'s top European executive resigned Tuesday following an internal investigation into two articles published in The Wall Street Journal Europe that featured a company with a contractual link to the paper's circulation department.
Andrew Langhoff, managing director of Dow Jones & Co. in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and publisher of The Wall Street Journal Europe, stepped down after an internal probe showed two articles in the paper's Special Reports section had been prompted by an agreement the circulation department struck with Executive Learning Partnership, or ELP, a Netherlands-based consulting firm.
"That relationship, overseen by a now-former employee, is no longer in place," Mr. Langhoff said in an internal email to employees. "Because the agreement could leave the impression that news coverage can be influenced by commercial relationships, as publisher with executive oversight, I believe that my resignation is now the most honorable course," Mr. Langhoff said.
Dow Jones is a unit of News Corp., which owns all editions of The Wall Street Journal.
Of course, this didn't happen by accident, and once again it seems to be the result of crusading investigative journalism by the Guardian:
One of Rupert Murdoch's most senior European executives has resigned following Guardian inquiries about a circulation scam at News Corporation's flagship newspaper, the Wall Street Journal.
The Guardian found evidence that the Journal had been channelling money through European companies in order to secretly buy thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate, misleading readers and advertisers about the Journal's true circulation.
The bizarre scheme included a formal, written contract in which the Journal persuaded one company to co-operate by agreeing to publish articles that promoted its activities, a move which led some staff to accuse the paper's management of violating journalistic ethics and jeopardising its treasured reputation for editorial quality.
Internal emails and documents suggest the scam was promoted by Andrew Langhoff, the European managing director of the Journal's parent company, Dow Jones and Co, which was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in July 2007. Langhoff resigned on Tuesday.
RICO: A Pattern of Criminal and Anti Competitive Behaviour
As I pointed out in a previous diary, the anti-competitive and completely unjournalistic standards of Newscorp now constitute a modal monopoly in much of the English speaking world:
Now we know that financially, Newscorp has paid much more than $200 million in the past to settle lawsuits, and indeed has paid out three times as much as that to settle various lawsuits against its profitable marketing division, News America. Apart from the hacking allegations and the FCPA violations (suborning foreign officials) there is now ample evidence, in the US and elsewhere (cf Italyand Australia) that Newscorp has a standard modus operandi when dealing with the 'free market'.
1. Establish leverage over politicians to change anti monopoly legislation
2. Dumping - artificially lowered prices to destroy competitors (cf News America, London Times)
3. Industrial espionage against competitors using a variety of means including phone hacking (Floorgraphics, Daily Mirror etc.)
For those following this story in Newscorp's home country, the US, there is now ample evidence of a sustained pattern of behavior liable to a RICO violation.
So now we have two more elements to add to the Newscorp strategy for media dominance
4. Churnalism: information paid for by sponsors, contributors or PR agencies.
5. Massaging Circulation Figures to deceive advertisers.
As I've said before, Newscorp the Standard Oil of the Information Age, and exposing its abuse of power is a key part in breaking up this uncompetitive trust.
As American activists continue to occupy Wall Street, don't forget The Wall Street Journal, both as a mouthpiece for deregulated markets and unaccountable globalised finance, and as a living demonstration of how it works.
Cross posted at Daily Kos.