The Guardian ran an article about the computer hacking of a small American business that perfectly illustrates the thuggish tactics that underline the mission of News Corp.
Two brothers, George and Richard Rebh, invented a way to display advertising on the floor of supermarkets. They called their company Floorgraphics and managed to get big clients like Safeway, Winn-Dixie and Piggly Wiggly. One day they got a call from the leader in the floor advertising field called Watch Your Step (not really—it was News America Marketing, an ad arm of News Corp) who asked the bros to lunch. George and Richard were excited. They thought they’d be working together. When they got to the midtown restaurant, they found out the lead firm wanted to buy them out. They turned them down. The CEO of News America, Paul Carlucci, got to the heart of the matter:
”From now one, consider us your competitor and understand this: if you ever get into any of our businesses, I will destroy you. I work for a man who wants it all, and doesn’t understand anybody telling him he can’t have it all.” News America is owned by News Corp, whose chief executive is Rupert Murdoch.
In 2004, the brothers discovered that Floorgraphics computers had been broken into 11 times in four months. They traced the hacking back to an IP address registered to a News America office in Connecticut. By accessing Floorgraphics computers, News America was able to get sales information, client lists, future projections and presumably marketing plans. The brothers watched helplessly as News America picked off one big client after another armed with their proprietary information. They reported the break-in to the FBI and the Secret Service, who opened an investigation in 2005. Results unknown to this day.
The brothers brought suit. The case was dropped after a deal was struck: News America bought out Floorgraphics for $29.5 million in exchange for dropping the case. But not before the jury heard another one of Carlucci’s concise parsing of the News Corp message:
[A] former News America manager, Robert Emmel…recalled the chief executive Carlucci telling his staff: “If there were individuals concerned about doing the right thing—bed-wetting liberals in particular—then he could arrange for them to be out-placed from the company.”
As reward for overseeing illegal methods to destroy the tiniest hint of competition and making pronouncements that Tony Soprano would consider unseemly, Carlucci was made publisher of the New York Post.