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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Oct. 19

2. (More) News Corp. Nonsense

Rebekah Brooks may have left News Corp. (NWSA) in disgrace, but she certainly didn't leave broke.

The former head of News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper business was blessed with a payout package worth about $11.3 million after the unit's phone-hacking scandal led to her ouster, according to a Bloomberg report. Apparently Brooks's going-away gift also included legal fees, cash and a chauffeur-driven car, said Bloomberg's source, who preferred to remain nameless since Brooks' payoff was non-public information.

Right on Rupert! It's nice to see you rewarding your loyal soldiers for taking bullets -- or cream pies -- for you.

Brooks, who left the company in July 2011, will certainly need to muster all the support she can get. She and a host of other over-eager so-called journalists will stand trial next year for the crimes of intercepting the voice mail of celebrities, lawmakers and crime victims, and then conspiring to cover it up.

As to whether she will continue to cover up any alleged indiscretions made by her benefactor Rupert, well, that remains to be seen. We imagine that $11.3 million and a personal driver probably go a long way in getting somebody to keep their mouth shut. Moreover, it's a small price to pay considering the company has spent more than $315 million for legal fees, settlements and the elimination of its News of the World tabloid.

And speaking of shutting people up -- and out -- Rupert confirmed Tuesday that shareholders rejected a proposal to split the top two roles at the media giant and eliminate the company's dual stock capital structure at the annual shareholder meeting in Los Angeles. Investors mounted the campaign to try and rein in the Murdoch family's power at the company and increase accountability in the aftermath of this embarrassing and costly episode.

Oh please. As if these dissident shareholders ever had the slightest chance at taking power from the Murdoch clan. Forget a pie in the face. That whole idea was just a pie in the sky.

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