By Bob Barney
Fox News parent company, News Corp is under assault from the left winged media in an attempt to halt the company's rapid growth over the last decade. First, there was Media Matters, a liberal outlet which is considered "in the tank" for Democrats, trying to bring out rabid stories on the Murdoch owned group. The tax exempt (probably illegally) Media Matters has found themselves now the target of a probable IRS investigation. In England, News Corp lost its bid to buy the largest satellite company in the nation over scandals (which appear to be real) concerning illegal wiretapping by News Corp reporters on politicians and other people.
Today however, the liberal assault on News Corp hit it's lowest mark when Reuters news service columnist David Cay Johnston wrote a false story concerning his so-called investigation of the company's public financial figures, which he claimed showed that News Corp had consistently made money at tax time over the past four years, which he said was all legal. Johnston said the company's tricky accounting has netted it billions of dollars.
"News Corporation made over $10 billion in profits over the last four years. And their tax came to $4.8 billion, negative," Johnston says. "That is, they made $4.8 billion from tax refunds."
Johnston said News Corp. was able to use the system in its favor by taking advantage of a few corporate tax laws. One provision allows a company to reach back and carry forward tax losses and benefits from many years.
"The second thing that Mr. Rupert Murdoch does that's very important is ... [use] tax haven subsidiaries," he says. "And when you have a tax haven subsidiary — the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Panama — what you do is you take expenses in the United States, and then you take the profit in the tax haven where they don't pay a tax on it."
The problem with his story? It's false!
Here is the statement and link from NPR that is on their website concerning the Johnston story:
"Please be advised that the David Cay Johnston column published on Tuesday stating that Rupert Murdoch's U.S.-based News Corp made money on income taxes is wrong and has been withdrawn. 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."
A transcript of the original interview is now available by clicking on the transcript link at the right of the "listen" box above. Johnston is expected to appear on Morning Edition Thursday to offer further clarification. We will provide updates as they become available.