No, News Corp has been doing this for years. The reason is Murdoch thinks Google and Google News specifically is killing the news industry, and that the iPad will save it (or at least he thought that a few years ago). It's pure inter-corporate warfare being played out through manipulation of public opinion. The WSJ in particular are experts at it.
Globes are (or were) common when I was in US public school (late 80s-late 90s) but no one ever taught us about the distortions in map projections. I specifically remember because I was (and am) a huge map geek and learned all this myself.
Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.