News Corp. Hires Two More Firms, Gets PR Help from Wendi

Photo: AP

News Corp. has hired two more firms to help with the fallout of the scandal — Sard Verbinnen & Co. and Glover Park Group. Glover Park will help with government relations and Sard Verbinnen specializes in IR and crisis situations. Bloomberg notes that News Corp. stock has taken a hit since the beginning of the month.

The assessments of the Murdochs’ appearance before a Parliamentary group yesterday keep rolling in, and the unexpected interruption from a protester wielding a shaving cream pie is adding an angle to how the News Corp. leaders fared. (He explains why he did it in The Guardian.)

MarketingWeek says that Rupert Murdoch has not been nearly humble enough in the lead up to yesterday’s testimony. And while Rupert did begin his comments by calling yesterday “the most humble day of my career,” he ultimately denied responsibility for anything that has happened. He added that he wouldn’t resign and called himself “the best person to see it through” even though he says court settlements and other payments were happening without his knowledge and he seemed clueless when asked about actions taken by News of the World journalists, many who have been arrested.

Critics say that Murdoch’s statements passing the buck did him no favors.

“If he didn’t know what was going on, he’s doing a lousy job as CEO and the board should replace him,” Jay Lorsch, a Harvard Business School professor told Bloomberg. Others compare him to AIG’s Hank Greenberg and Tony Hayward former BP chief exec.

PRSA chair Rosanna Fiske rates the younger Murdoch’s performance “satisfactory” and Rupert’s as “aloof” and “out of touch.” And in the U.K., Francis Ingham, chief executive of the Public Relations Consultants Association, said “Murdoch is now paying a hefty price for his arrogance indifference to protecting his company’s reputation.”

The one undisputed plus for the Murdochs was the action taken by Wendi Deng Murdoch in the face of Jonnie Marbles. Deng made a positive impression to many across Twitter (including Katie Couric) and has gotten some attention of her own in the media.

“And as the questioning began  Tuesday, we were all set to watch the smackdown, analyze the crisis management strategy and dissect Murdoch’s prepared statement about his new, humble attitude,” writes Dorothy Crenshaw on the Crenshaw Communications blog. “Instead, a slapstick moment probably won the day for the Murdochs, at least in PR terms.”