Don Murdocclioni…wassammarayoo, eh?

Evidence now with the FBI is building a unique case history on how the Boys From Newscorp unit NAM racketeered their way to a monopoly in America.

I got a bit of stick from some quarters earlier this month for referring to one of Rupert Murdoch’s Capos as a mobster. I’m very glad to say that the mafia parallel is deservedly catching on. Especially in the American media, where the word is out that the Murdoch company I was referring to – News America, or ‘Nam as the Newscorpers call it – has indeed, as I suggested, been behaving like a bunch of knucklehead racketeers in ‘growing’ its business….aka, trying to eliminate the competition.

Nam used lessons gleaned from Mafia films to motivate employees and crush rivals – and is the latest stone in Newscorp to be turned over – and swept up in a probe that began with hacking and bribery allegations.News America’s CEO, also publisher of the New York Post, admitted in one case that he used popular Mafia films such as “‘A Bronx Tale” and “The Untouchables” to teach employees how to instill fear in potential clients.

Last month, Federal agents asked a lawyer at Williams & Connolly for documents from a 2009 trial between News America and Nam competitor, Floorgraphics  – about which The Slog has blogged at length. Along with that request for files, prosecutors asked last week to meet with lawyers for Robert Emmel, a former News America employee who alleged in court papers that the Murdoch division violated racketeering laws and engaged in “predatory and anticompetitive schemes”. That unit, rivals claimed in court papers, has expanded by flouting antitrust laws, and in the Floorgraphics case, computer hacking.

“There is a pattern of anticompetitive behavior by News Corp.,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group. News America places in-store ads and shelf promotions for consumer goods marketers such as H.J. Heinz Co. and The Quaker Oats Co. in 55,000 retailers, and distributes coupon booklets in 1,600 Sunday newspapers. Nam almost doubled in size following the 1997 acquisition of Heritage Media Corp. and its Actmedia Inc. unit, then the largest provider of in-store promotions. Under the direction of Chief Executive Officer Paul Carlucci, who was put in charge of News America in 1997 by News Corp. chairman Murdoch, the unit has thrived. This is the arsehole I likened to a mobster on September 2nd.

As is always Murdoch’s goal, by 2004 Nam had achieved a virtual monopoly in its sector, accounting for $390 million of the $450 million spent on in-store promotions in the U.S. In doing so, News America generated almost $1.2 billion in revenue.  And in a 2008 deposition, Carlucci was forced to admit that his division’s profit margin was about 33%. Nice work, if only you decide to bash someone’s head in to get it.

“News [America] sets out to be not just the largest company — it wants to be the only company that can put the sign in the aisle,” Julian Solotorovsky, a lawyer for Insignia Systems Inc told the US media last week. Crikey, that’s a first for Newscorp. But the lawsuits reflect nothing more than “business disputes,” said a News America’ spokeswoman. “A number of our competitors have been unable to compete with NAM on a level playing field — in the marketplace, so they resorted to litigation as a business strategy.”

Ahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahaha. Hang on, love – don’t forget the bit about cooperating fully with Eliot Ness. The Murdoch family are very keen to stress that sort of ethic. Forgetting that could cost you your job, ducks. Especially when old Roop closes you down.

I wonder why there is no Jeremy Hunt in the US? They don’t know what they’re missing.

Read the whole ghastly tale of lies, denial and lawlessness at The Slog’s dedicated page, Hackgate.