Lachlan Murdoch’s whirlwind week: from US court testimony to Sydney Christmas party as elites rub shoulders | The Weekly Beast

Global head of News Corp among Murdoch’s guests. Plus: Toni Collette reveals split with husband after Daily Mail photos

Lachlan Murdoch’s week began with a deposition on Monday in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News and ended with the News Corp co-chair hosting an exclusive party for media and political leaders at his Bellevue Hill mansion in Sydney’s east.

The whirlwind life of the media scion and his ex-model wife, Sarah, we assume is made possible by owning a private jet.

Liberal senator Sarah Henderson arrives at Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch’s annual Christmas party.
Liberal senator Sarah Henderson arrives at Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch’s party. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

The global head of News Corp, Robert Thomson, was among the guests at the shindig although he managed to escape the photographers who waited outside, as did former prime minister Tony Abbott.

Thomson is in Australia for board meetings and to secure a new editor-in-chief of the Australian, after the departure of Christopher Dore. Editor Michelle Gunn, who is in the running for editor-in-chief, arrived accompanied by the paper’s foreign editor, Greg Sheridan.

With his testimony as the chief executive of Fox Corp behind him, Lachlan can concentrate on preparing for mediation before Christmas in his other legal challenge: suing Crikey for defamation.

He is taking the independent news site owned by Private Media to court over an article that named the Murdoch family as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 6 January Capitol riots. His barrister, Sue Chrysanthou, was among the guests at Le Manoir, mingling with News Corp Australia CEO Michael Miller, and Sky News presenters Peter Stefanovic, Sharri Markson, Laura Jayes, Rita Panahi, Paul Murray and Andrew Bolt.

We couldn’t help but notice the shadow minister for communications, Sarah Henderson, scored an invitation, which is not surprising given she is making a career of attacking the ABC.

Sky News presenters Laura Jayes and Paul Murray arrive.
Sky News presenters Laura Jayes and Paul Murray arrive. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

Lachlan’s 91-year-old father, Rupert Murdoch, will sit for depositions in the Dominion case via video link on 13 and 14 December.

Snap decision

Australian actor Toni Collette revealed her split with her husband this week, just hours after Daily Mail Australia published photographs of Dave Galafassi kissing another woman on Bondi Beach.

In June, Rebel Wilson was forced to come out after the Sydney Morning Herald gave her a deadline to respond to a question about her relationship with a woman.

Like Wilson, who used Instagram to say she was dating a woman, Collette took to social media to explain she had split with Galafassi.

The news website claimed it as an exclusive and fired off several stories.

“Daily Mail Australia contacted Collette management about the photographs on Wednesday afternoon and hours later she announced the couple had split in a joint statement released on her newly-reactivated Instagram account,” the website reported.

Colette and Galafassi said in a joint statement: “It is with grace and gratitude that we announce we are divorcing. We’re united in our decision and part with continuing respect and care for each other.”

Picture imperfect

When Indonesia’s parliament overhauled the country’s criminal code to outlaw sex outside marriage and curtail free speech, Nine News chose an incongruous image to promote its story.

Indonesia has passed laws that ban extramarital sex, with those convicted facing up to a year in jail.

The laws apply to Indonesian citizens and international visitors, including Australians.


— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) December 6, 2022

Could this couple be happy about the news? Perhaps it’s another illustration of the dangers for models in posing for stock photography – you never know how it is going to end up being used.

ABC’s seismic shift

The ABC managing director, David Anderson, sent a long email to staff on Thursday explaining that once again the ABC was to undergo a major restructure of its divisions “to reduce the complexity of the current commissioning model and accelerate decision-making”. The driver appears to be shrinking audiences for linear broadcast and a need to “grow our digital reach”.

“The ABC is not immune to the seismic audience and technology shifts affecting all media,” Anderson said. “Globally, broadcast audiences are in a long-term decline as audiences of all ages migrate to digital consumption. We are clearly seeing this shift in ABC audiences as well.”

ABC managing director David Anderson.
ABC managing director David Anderson. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP

The managing director’s announcement came just hours after the BBC boss, Tim Davie, said the UK organisation was preparing to shut down its traditional television and radio broadcasts as it becomes an online-only service over the next decade – but Anderson did not go as far as Davie in his pitch.

Davie: “Imagine a world that is internet-only, where broadcast TV and radio are being switched off and choice is infinite. A switch-off of broadcast will and should happen over time, and we should be active in planning for it.”

There is little detail in the plan, and Anderson said it was not about losing jobs, but talk of “efficiencies” has made staff nervous.

It was only five years ago that former MD Michelle Guthrie put long-suffering staff through a major restructure, one that was accompanied by the painful loss of some 200 jobs.

Guthrie divided the ABC into four pillars: news, investigations and analysis; local and regional; original content; and culture and entertainment.

Those pillars will now be smashed up, moving the regional bureaus into news, and creating an over-arching content division headed by a newly created chief content officer. The radio networks will move into the content division. My head is spinning.

Juventus woes

SBS’s director of television, Kathryn Fink, appears to have inadvertently been caught up in an international scandal involving the Juventus Football Club.

Last year the former general manager, media, of the Walt Disney Company in Italy joined the football club’s board as an independent director.

SBS noted the television executive’s Italian role in its announcement in June.

“Fink is bilingual, speaking fluent English and Italian, and was recently appointed an independent board director of the Juventus Football Club, which is listed on the Milan stock exchange and the club with the largest fanbase in the Italian football league,” SBS said.

Last month the entire board of Juventus announced their resignations after reportedly receiving independent legal advice following a long-term police investigation into the company for alleged false accounting and market manipulation. The company has denied any wrongdoing.

A statement from Juventus said the board had stepped down in light of the ongoing police investigation and “considered [it] to be in the best social interest to recommend that Juventus equip itself with a new board of directors to address these issues.”

Weekly Beast understands the allegations date to before Fink joined the board of Juventus. There is no suggestion she has involved in any wrongdoing.

“I was an independent director on the board from October 2021,” Fink told Weekly Beast. “Given ongoing proceedings, it’s not appropriate for me to provide further comment.”

SBS declined to comment.

Name check

Some news organisations are having trouble telling Socceroos stars Garang Kuol and Thomas Deng apart. This week, in a story about the team getting a “heroes welcome” on return to Australia after the World Cup, ABC News interviewed Deng but captioned it “Garang Kuol”. When we checked iView for the story on Friday, the caption was still incorrect.

The final 26-man Football World Cup squad has been announced today. It includes four players of African heritage. Keanu Baccus of South African heritage and three players of South Sudanese heritage, Garang Kuol, Thomas Deng and Awer Mabil.
1/3#bringithome #socceroos

— African Australian (@AfricanAU) November 8, 2022

The New York Times and ESPN were also having trouble, naming Deng when it should have been the 18-year-old Kuol several times. It was particularly bad as Deng, 25, didn’t even get on the field in that match.

Meanwhile, the Australian had an interview with the prime minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, who was in Australia for a petroleum and mining conference.

The editor-at-large of the Australian Business Review, Ticky Fullerton, reported that Marape had warned that his nation could become a “weak spot’’ in the Pacific unless it can strengthen its economy.

But Weekly Beast understands the PM’s inner circle was “livid” when the leader was referred to it the paper as “Joseph” Marape – twice.

While the online version was updated, the printed paper and its digital replica remain.

Editor hiring spree

It’s the season for the appointment of new editors, with the Australian Financial Review naming Fiona Buffini this week as the masthead’s replacement for Paul Bailey and two more key roles still vacant.

The masthead’s Sydney newsroom broke into spontaneous applause and cheers...

— Edmund Tadros (@edmundtadros) December 6, 2022

The editor-in-chief job at the Australian remains open after the sudden departure of Christopher Dore last month and the Age is looking for a new editor after the resignation of Gay Alcorn after two years in the role.

Nine Entertainment advertised the Age job with an unfortunate error: “Nine is looking for a editor”.

The Age is recruiting an Editor. Read more and apply here:

— The Age (@theage) December 6, 2022

Dore’s career at News Corp ended after 31 years after his alleged drunken behaviour at a Wall Street Journal event in California last month.

Alcorn resigned last week to take care of her husband, who is battling a serious health problem.


Amanda Meade

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Why a cosmetic nurse became a media magnet over the Alice Springs unrest | The Weekly Beast
Cosmetic nurse’s finer biographical details glossed over by commercial media. Plus: ABC not granted camera access to George Pell’s funeral

Amanda Meade

03, Feb, 2023 @2:35 AM

Article image
A splash, an op-ed and a full-page ad: News Corp tabloid gives property lobby a megaphone | Weekly Beast
Property council campaign dominates Courier-Mail coverage. Plus: do we need a Trump clone down under?

Amanda Meade

22, Mar, 2018 @10:00 PM

Article image
Lachlan Murdoch says black lives matter – but did Greg Sheridan get the memo? | Weekly Beast
The Australian’s foreign editor tells Sky News most African Americans are middle class and don’t suffer daily racism. Plus, Bolt blasts Burney and Boney

Amanda Meade

05, Jun, 2020 @2:30 AM

Article image
Qantas ditches Sky News from airport lounges as ABC takes flight on 90th birthday | Weekly Beast
Passengers will see two bespoke bulletins a day from the national broadcaster. Plus: Aunty’s stars party at Ultimo

Amanda Meade

01, Jul, 2022 @2:04 AM

Article image
Nine’s world exclusive that wasn’t and News Corp rolls out the Sharri publicity caravan | The Weekly Beast
The SMH and the Age’s Peter Falconio story made headlines around the world but quickly fell apart, while the Weekend Australian stuck to safer ground with a flattering profile of its own star

Amanda Meade

24, Feb, 2023 @2:00 PM

Article image
Andrew Bolt's 'gloating' over US election result trumped by reality | Amanda Meade
Sky TV hosts celebrate Donald Trump’s re-election too early. Plus: Woolworths partnership with News Corp sparks backlash

Amanda Meade

06, Nov, 2020 @12:46 AM

Article image
Michael Clarke and Karl Stefanovic clash proves tabloid gold as Daily Mail chastises Nine and ABC | The Weekly Beast
Mail accuses Nine and ABC of ‘radio silence’ over fracas. Plus: conservative media attacks Jacinda Ardern

Amanda Meade

20, Jan, 2023 @12:58 AM

Article image
Crikey kicks off fortnight of apologising to Lachlan Murdoch and Christine Holgate | The Weekly Beast
Online publisher launches two front-page apologies for serious mistake in Stephen Mayne column. Plus: News Corp top brass at SMH birthday bash

Amanda Meade

23, Apr, 2021 @2:31 AM

Article image
News Corp ends year on a low note as another senior figure investigated over alleged behaviour at staff drinks | The Weekly Beast
The Murdoch stable has let indiscretions slide in the past but there is less tolerance now. Plus: Nine returns to AAP

Amanda Meade

16, Dec, 2022 @2:16 AM

Article image
Matt Canavan and the ‘bad show’: ABC defends Q+A panellist pick | Weekly Beast
Former ABC news director among those questioning choice of senator who called Covid lockdowns harmful. Plus: Alan Jones conspicuous by his absence

Amanda Meade

13, Aug, 2021 @4:52 AM