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October 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has been forced to defend itself on a second front as the British reporter who broke the News of the World phone-hacking story has followed up with a report that News Corp’s European edition of The Wall Street Journal inflated its circulation figures. The story by Nick Davies of Britain’s Guardian newspaper said that an employee of the newspaper’s advertising department struck a deal with Executive Learning Partnership of the Netherlands in which the paper agreed to provide favorable stories about ELP in return for the Dutch firm buying up 45,000 copies of the paper at a discount, which may have been as low as one euro cent apiece, and distributing them to students. That number of copies would have represented about 41 percent of the European edition’s circulation. When ELP claimed later that the Journal was not living up to its end of the deal, the newspaper reportedly funneled funds to the company to pay for the papers The revelation came just two days after Andrew Langhoff resigned his post as the European managing director of Dow Jones and head of the Journal‘s European edition, which is based in London. The Guardian article was denounced today (Thursday) as “inflammatory” by News Corp-owned Dow Jones, which publishes the Journal and which said that it was “replete with untruths and malign interpretations.” It said that the additional copies of the newspaper were duly reported to the ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations). Moreover, it said, “ELP was paid for legitimate services rendered; however, the manner in which they were paid was admittedly complex but nevertheless legitimate.” It did not explain the nature of the “complex” payments or why they were necessarily “complex.”