Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Rupert Murdoch Answers a New Set of Questions Today

Rupert Murdoch has only made one extended public appearance since the PhoneGate scandal erupted in early July. Today he makes his second: The News Corp. CEO will be sitting in on the company’s earnings call this afternoon, according to people familiar with his plans.

News that the top official at a public company will be present for a quarterly earnings call wouldn’t normally qualify as … news.

But prior to the company’s crisis, Murdoch had been absent from the last couple of News Corp. earnings calls, so this wasn’t a given. (Disclosure: News Corp. owns this Web site.)

And News Corp. earnings calls aren’t like other companies’ earnings calls. When Murdoch is on them, he tends to be much less disciplined than other public company leaders, and is more likely to stray off script, or freelance an answer that his lieutenants weren’t expecting.

Just as important: In addition to fielding questions from Wall Street analysts, News Corp. has traditionally offered up Murdoch and his executives to questions from the press, and I’m told that is in the works for today as well.

So today’s call, which kicks off at 4:30 pm, New York time, ought to be interesting at the very least. Taking questions from Wall Street and journalists isn’t quite the same as answering queries from British lawmakers, so he’ll likely feel more comfortable in the setting. I won’t be surprised if Murdoch simply declines to respond to some questions, for one thing. Also: Very, very, very low odds that he’ll have to duck a pie.

But it will all be on the record, and very well documented. I’ll be making my own contributions via a liveblog this afternoon, so check back then for a play by play, or listen in for yourself.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik