It's a big deal when Rupert Murdoch's head honcho, Chase Carey, flies in to visit his Australian outpost, and it's an even bigger deal if you can ask News Corp's CEO how hard the company has been hit by the phone hacking scandal, which has so far cost roughly US$380 million and untold damage to the Murdochs' reputation.
So it's no surprise The Australian's website was quick to boast about its EXCLUSIVE last night, under the headline: Chase Carey on Phone Hacking.
But with so much he could have asked, the Oz's business editor Geoff Elliott chose to inquire about management time. "I guess it goes without saying there's been some level of frustration about events in the UK, so where are we, er, you at with that now, and is it a concern in terms of I guess even from the point of view of management time?"
Actually, this single penetrating question on phone hacking came almost 20 minutes into a 22 minute interview, which had opened up with an even softer line of inquiry, viz: "Chase, thank you very much for joining us ... what's the favourite sporting moment in your life, you've been regarded as something of a sports fan so what's the favourite moment in your life, do you think?"
No wonder The Australian got the exclusive.
So what questions did Chase not get a chance to answer? Well, here are 12 quick ones we'd put to Mr Carey, if we ever get the opportunity.
1. There are reports that News Corp is being investigated by the US Justice Department for breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, are you concerned about that?
2. The House of Commons Culture committee is going to report on phone hacking any day now. Are you worried it will find James Murdoch misled them?
3. OFCOM is currently investigating whether News International and James Murdoch are fit and proper persons to run BSkyB. What will happen if it rules against them?
4. The UK Crown Prosecution Service is now considering whether to charge Rebekah Brooks with perverting the course of justice. Do you think they'll charge her?
5. How will you control the damage to News Corp if any of these things happens?
6. How much has it cost News Corp to close the News of the World and settle some 50 legal actions by phone hacking victims? What will be the final cost?
7. Are you concerned that your newspapers in the UK were illegally hacking phones and paying public officials for information on an industrial scale?
8. Is it time for Rupert to retire?
9. Is James really the guy to take over, given two-thirds of News Corp's independent shareholders voted against him as a director?
10. Would James be considered for the top job if he weren't Rupert's son?
11. Is there a problem with corporate governance at News Corp when the Murdochs own 12% of the company but have nearly 40 per cent of the votes?
12. Do you really think that mo looks good?