Now Murdoch’s WSJ caught in a circulation scam as his European publishing head resigns

It’s pretty clear that The Guardian does not much care for Rupert Murdoch or his newspapers but they are involved in so much which is shady that it provides permanent employment for some of The Guardian’s “investigative journalists” (who are not themselves above some hanky panky from time to time).

After the News of the World / News International phone hacking fiasco, this time it is the Wall Street Journal which has been found to have been cooking the books about its circulation figures. Andrew Langhoff  who is Murdoch’s publishing head in Europe has resigned to contain the damge. Executive Learning Partnership, or ELP, a Netherlands-based consulting firm is also implicated.

The Wall Street Journal also carries the story: Publisher of WSJ Europe Resigns After Ethics Inquiry

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.

…… In what appears to have been a damage limitation exercise following the Guardian’s inquiries, Langhoff resigned on Tuesday, citing only the complaints of unethical interference in editorial coverage. Neither he nor an article published last night in the Wall Street Journal made any reference to the circulation scam nor to the fact that the senior management of Dow Jones in New York failed to act when they were alerted last year.

The affair will add weight to the fears of shareholders in Murdoch’s parent company, NewsCorp, that the business has become a ‘rogue corporation’, operating outside normal rules. Some shareholders have launched a legal action in the US, attacking the Murdoch family after the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World and following lawsuits in which NewsCorp subsidiaries have been accused of hacking into competitors’ computers and stealing their customers. …..


Circulation figures directly affect the advertising rates that can be charged and this circulation scam is nothing more than a method to defraud advertisers and – eventually – all the subscribers. Even the antics at the News of the World can be put down to maintaining circulation numbers. The certainly unethical – and perhaps criminal – behaviour of Murdoch and his henchmen and his newspapers can all be put down to greed, and a touch of narcissism  coupled with highly inflated egos.

Related: Rebekah Brooks and NoW – another new low

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