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News Corp On The Corporate Dole

[Note – this story is not completely true. While News Corp is one of the top three big companies in their utilization of tax havens, they did indeed pay taxes. They changed the way they report information in 2007, which caused confusion. See the link at the end of this posting for more info.]

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the parent company of Fox News, made over $10 billion in profits over the last four years, but their taxes over the same time were $4.8 billion — negative. Let me be clear, they didn’t just not pay any taxes, they received $4.8 billion from the government.

How did they do this? By being one of the top companies utilizing tax havens to shift their profits to other countries and using other tax tricks to make it look like they lost money.

The real scandal is that all of this is legal. When you are a powerful enough corporation, you can get laws changed to work in your favor.

UPDATE: NPR has withdrawn this story without explanation. Hopefully we’ll learn more later.

UPDATE 2: Here’s the explanation:



  1. shannigans wrote:

    If you’re implying that we should increases taxes on corporations then clearly you care nothing about the jobs, or the children, or the children’s jobs.


    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink
  2. Bard wrote:

    Hey IK, just so you know, NPR has pulled the story.

    “News Corp’s filings show the company changed reporting conventions in its 2007 annual report when it reversed the way it showed positive and negative numbers. A new column correcting and explaining the error in more detail will be issued shortly.”

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
  3. Dan wrote:

    Yup, I hit the link, it will all be explained on the morning show.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    “Reversed the way it showed positive and negative numbers”? Are they serious? Is this another “not meant to be a factual statement”?

    This story is becoming even more ironic. I’m really looking forward to their explanation…

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink
  5. starluna wrote:

    What I find troubling about the explanation for the error is that there is not standard for consistency in reporting these numbers. People get their panties in a bunch about the complexity of the tax code. Why do they not care when these kinds of reports, which are supposed to inform investors, are inconsistent to the point of obfuscation?

    Sounds like the SEC needs a new regulation.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink
  6. Quidam wrote:

    I recommend you edit this article to delete the false claim or to explicitily state that it is false.

    Otherwise the reader has to read the link to find out.

    BTW I have no brief for Murdoch, but errors need to be reported with at least the same visibility as the false claim

    Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Good point. I added something at the start of the posting.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink
  8. David R. wrote:

    The author of the erroneous article has fully appologized and taken full repsonsibility. See this post here which describes things

    and for his full statement.

    Unlike politicians, Mr. Johnston had the decency to apologize, explain and try to correct any damage his statements may have made. Are you listening Michelle Bachmann?

    Friday, July 15, 2011 at 10:45 am | Permalink