News Corp beefs up lobbying team on Capitol Hill – wrong country?

January 10, 2011

RupertMurdoch DCNews Corp announced on Monday it is expanding its  Capitol Hill government affairs office by promoting veterans Bill Guidera and David Fares to senior vice president and adding two more execs in Kathy Ramsey and Kristopher Jones to the Washington team.

We’ve been assured by insiders there’s nothing afoot here but that it’s a recognition of Guidera and Fares’ work. Clearly, we’ll soon hear if there’s more to it in the near future.

Interestingly, if there’s one country where News Corp could do with better government relations right now it is not the US.  The company could probably do with some extra hands in the UK where News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch (pictured, left) is dealing with a number of touchy situations in terms of government relations particularly concerning his company’s bid to take full ownership of BSkyB, the British  satellite TV  provider.

Earlier on Monday Reuters obtained a memocontaining News Corp’s plans to make its case to the British government for the proposed 7.8 billion-pound ($12.1 billion) bid to clear local media regulatory hurdles.

But don’t forget, also going on in the background is News Corp’s News International unit’s UK phone-hacking mess which just won’t go away.

As our Reuters BreakingViews colleague Una Galani said last weekthe suspension of a senior journalist from one of News International’s tabloids undermines the paper’s claim the four-year old scandal was the work of one rogue reporter.

“The News of the World’s decision to suspend Ian Edmondson, a senior editor, undermines the paper’s claim that only one of its reporters was aware of what was going on. That, in turn, raises new questions about the involvement of Andy Coulson, who was the paper’s editor at the time of the alleged hacking and is Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications.”

With a phone-hacking accused editor in government and a UK cabinet minister losing half his job after making comments opposed to the merger the problem in the UK may be that News Corp probably needs less government relations not more.

(Photo: Reuters)

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