article

07.18.11

Murdoch Resignation Rumors Fly

As News. Corp brass doubts Murdoch's ability to contain fallout from the phone-hacking scandal, the company is considering replacing him with COO Chase Carey, several inside sources said. Plus, breaking updates.

Sources: News Corp. Considers Chase Carey for CEO

News Corp. is considering appointing Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey to succeed CEO Rupert Murdoch, sources told Bloomberg News on Monday. Murdoch would remain on as chairman of the company. The sources, who are not authorized to speak publicly, said the final decision rests on how Murdoch performs tomorrow when he testifies under oath before the British Parliament. Board members are reportedly concerned with how Murdoch has been handling the fallout from the scandal. The independent directors of the board, who make up nine of the 16 seats, are said to be weighing how investors would react to such a change in leadership. Murdoch’s top executive in Britain, Rebekah Brooks, resigned Friday and was arrested Sunday in connection to the phone-hacking scandal.

Dumped Bag Found Near Brooks' Home

Police are examining a bag containing a computer, a phone and paperwork that was found in the garbage near the home of Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's News International who was arrested Sunday and questioned over the phone hacking scandal that's rocked Murdoch's media empire. According to the Guardian newspaper, the bag was found in an underground parking lot just yards from the apartment block where Brooks lives. It was handed to security Monday afternoon, and Brooks's husband, Charlie, tried to reclaim it. He couldn't prove the bag was his and the police was called. He also denied that it belonged to his wife. CCTV footage is being looked at to ascertain who dropped the bag in the trash.

Hacking Whistleblower Found Dead

A show-business reporter who was the first journalist to allege that News of the World editor Andy Coulson was aware of phone-hacking at his tabloid has been found dead, according to The Guardian, in circumstances that U.K. police deem “unexplained" but “not suspicious.” Sean Hoare worked at the News of the World as well as at another Murdoch tabloid, The Sun, until he was dismissed for drug and alcohol problems. Police won’t confirm his identity, but The Guardian reports that Hoare was found at his property and pronounced dead shortly after.

In a 2010 New York Times investigation, Hoare came forward with allegations that Coulson, who was editor of News of the World and later a press secretary for Prime Minister David Cameron, was not only aware of hacking at his paper but encouraged it. Just last week, The Guardian reports, Hoare spoke to The New York Times again, described alleged bribes by the British tabloid that allowed reporters to locate their subjects using their mobile phones.

The Hartfordshire police statement reads: "At 10.40am today [July 18] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after." The death is currently being treated as unexplained but is not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are "ongoing."

Sean Hoare found Dead
Sean Hoare (Photo: BBC)

London's Deputy Commissioner Resigns

Another domino falls. John Yates, the deputy commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police (also known as Scotland Yard), has resigned after facing criticism that he didn’t properly investigate phone-hacking allegations at News of the World. Yates made the call in 2009 not to reopen a probe of Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid, and his judgment has been called into question lately as new evidence of corruption mounts. Yates has also been called to the Commons to “clarify” previous testimony. His resignation follows that of Scotland Yard chief Sir Paul Stephenson, who also quit over his ties to the scandal.

Cameron Calls Emergency Session

Britain's Parliament was supposed to go on recess Wednesday, but Prime Minister David Cameron has declared an emergency session, cutting short a trip to Africa to return and address a phone-hacking scandal that continues to worsen. Cameron will address the chamber on Wednesday, a day after expected testimonies by Rupert Murdoch and his son James.

Rebekah Brooks, the former News Corp. executive at the center of the phone-hacking scandal, was released on bail on Sunday. Police questioned her for nine hours, but her lawyer says they did not accuse her of any crimes. He insists she's not guilty, and demands that police give “an account of their actions” considering “the enormous reputational impact” of Brooks’s arrest. It's unclear if she will still appear for questioning by M.P.s alongside Rupert and James Murdoch Tuesday.

Could News Corp. Board Revolt?

Rupert Murdoch spent 30 years building News Corp. into a global media giant. Could he lose it over the phone-hacking scandal? Bloomberg News reports that the company’s independent directors have begun to consider a leadership change due to Murdoch’s poor handling of the crisis. Independent directors hold nine of News Corp.’s 16 board seats, and two in particular—venture capitalist Tom Perkins and Georgetown law professor Viet Dinh—are leading the pack. The Guardian, meanwhile, says that Elisabeth Murdoch has replaced her brother James as the strongest family contender to succeed her father. According to The Guardian, she pushed for Rebekah Brooks' resignation against the wishes of James and their other brother, Lachlan.

Scotland Yard Chief Quits

Britain’s most senior police officer, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, quit Sunday following allegations that police had received bribes from The News of the World to stay silent about phone hacking. Stephenson said he had no knowledge of the extent of the practice and his integrity was “completely intact.” Stephenson has been criticized for hiring  former News of the World executive Neil Wallis, who had been questioned by police regarding the hacking, and Stephenson said his connection to Wallis could hamper the investigation. Stephenson’s resignation comes on the same day that former News International chief Rebekah Brooks was arrested in connection with the alleged phone hacking.

Photos: Who's Who: News of the World Scandal
phone-hacking-underhill
British Prime Minister David Cameron, top right, has resisted calls for an investigation into the practices of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, where reporters accessed the voicemail of missing British teenager Milly Dowler in 2002. Rebekah Brooks, lower right, was editor of News of the World at the time. (Clockwise from left: Getty Images, AP Photo (2))

Wall Street Journal Fights Back

The Wall Street Journal published a lengthy editorial Sunday stressing the integrity of both its publication as well as its former publisher and CEO, Les Hinton. "In nearly four years at the Journal, Mr. Hinton managed the paper's return to profitability amid a terrible business climate," the paper's editorial board wrote. "He did so not solely by cost-cutting but by investing in journalists when other publications were laying off hundreds. On ethical questions, his judgment was as sound as that of any editor we've had." The paper also addressed the scandal-ridden papers also owned by their parent company, and the sharks circling around its leader, Rupert Murdoch. "The Schadenfreude is so thick you can't cut it with a chainsaw. ... We realize how precious that reader trust is, and our obligation is to re-earn it every day."

Rebekah Brooks Arrested, Bailed Out

Former News International executive Rebekah Brooks was arrested Sunday morning in connection to the phone-hacking allegations, held for about 12 hours, and then bailed out. Brooks, 43, resigned Friday as News International’s chief executive, and she is scheduled to testify before Parliament on Tuesday. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said she was arrested “on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications,” but declined to discuss any further details.

Dow Chief Les Hinton Steps Down

Another one bites the dust: Les Hinton, chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s Dow Jones & Co., announced Friday that he will step down, but says he was "ignorant of what apparently happened" while he was overseeing Murdoch's British tabloids. Hinton has been a top deputy to Murdoch for decades and ran News International, the British arm of Murdoch’s media empire, for a dozen years. In 2007, he swore to Parliament that phone-hacking at the tabloid News of the World was limited to just one rogue reporter—but in the past week numerous allegations have suggested that the corruption was much more widespread.

Hinton’s Sign-Off

Dear Rupert,

I have watched with sorrow from New York as the News of the World story has unfolded. I have seen hundreds of news reports of both actual and alleged misconduct during the time I was executive chairman of News International and responsible for the company. The pain caused to innocent people is unimaginable. That I was ignorant of what apparently happened is irrelevant and in the circumstances I feel it is proper for me to resign from News Corp, and apologize to those hurt by the actions of the News of the World.

When I left News International in December 2007, I believed that the rotten element at the News of the World had been eliminated; that important lessons had been learned; and that journalistic integrity was restored.

My testimonies before the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee were given honestly. When I appeared before the Committee in March 2007, I expressed the belief that Clive Goodman had acted alone, but made clear our investigation was continuing.

In September 2009, I told the Committee there had never been any evidence delivered to me that suggested the conduct had spread beyond one journalist. If others had evidence that wrongdoing went further, I was not told about it.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to you for a wonderful working life. My admiration and respect for you are unbounded. You have built a magnificent business since I first joined 52 years ago and it has been an honor making my contribution.

With my warmest best wishes,

Les

Jude Law Sues the Sun

Actor Jude Law is suing Rupert Murdoch tabloid The Sun, one of the most-read newspapers in Britain, alleging the paper hacked into his phone. Law is also suing Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World for the same reason. His former girlfriend, Sienna Miller, accepted a £100,000 settlement from News of the World for hacking into her phone while she was dating Law. News International, the parent company of The Sun and The News of the World, accused Law of a “deeply cynical and deliberately mischievous attempt” to drag The Sun into the phone-hacking drama.

Gallery: News of the World: The Movie
News of the World: The Movie
Getty Images (6)

Murdoch Defends News Corp.

Rupert Murdoch appeared unfazed by the phone hacking scandal in his first public statement. The News Corp. chairman told the Wall Street Journal, which he owns, that the company has handled the crisis “extremely well in every way possible” and that the damage is “nothing that will not be recovered.” Now that the scandal has derailed Murdoch's bid for BskyB, Murdoch says he is buying back shares and “looking for better places to put our money.” He also called out former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, saying “He got it entirely wrong” when he claimed the Sunday Times, in addition to News of the World, hacked his phone. Murdoch and his son James are scheduled to appear before Parliament Tuesday.

FBI Investigating News Corp.

The News of the World phone hacking scandal has come Stateside. A law enforcement official says the FBI has opened an investigation into claims that News Corp. tried to hack into the phones of people who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks. The News Corp. tabloid News of the World is believed to have hacked into the voicemail of the victims of the 2005 London train bombings, as well as the families of dead soldiers. Seven people have been arrested so far in connection the hacking scandal, and Rupert and James Murdoch have agreed to go before Parliament next week.

Conrad Black: Don’t Blame Murdoch

Don’t blame Murdoch—or rather, don’t let the establishment off the hook, former Canadian media baron Conrad Black writes in a column Thursday. Black—who should know something about lawbreaking in the media, as he is about to return to jail for it in Sept.—calls Murdoch a perfect villain, a “great bad man,” and the most successful media owner ever. And he says that while Murdoch likely didn’t break laws, News Corp. should lose its satellite telecasting license if it “is reasonably found guilty of institutional criminality.” But the real blame, Black says, belongs with the British establishment, which has pretended to revile Murdoch for decades even as it shamelessly toadies to him—despite his repeated betrayals of allies. “There must be a reckoning with decades of establishment cowardice towards someone whose nature has been well known throughout that time. The fault is the British establishment’s and it must not be seduced and intimidated, so profoundly and durably, again.”

Rupert Murdoch Summonsed to Parliament

Parliament won’t have to ask the wizard of Oz three times. After declining an initial “invitation” to appear before the body’s media committee, Murdoch says he will comply with a summons to appear on Thursday. Because he and his son James, who has also been summonsed and will appear, are not British citizens, the summons is not compulsory, and initial reports suggested that Murdoch would play harder to get: he said he wasn’t available, but said he would give evidence to an inquiry being led by a judge that the government has announced. Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of the News of the World and now a News International executive, has also agreed to appear. MPs expressed frustration, saying they wanted to hear from all three.

The FBI’s Scotland Yard Jitters

Long before the phone-hacking scandal broke wide open, U.S. law-enforcement officials say, they worried their British counterparts were too cozy with the press. Philip Shenon reports.

Bancroft Family Regrets WSJ Sale

In the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, many members of the Bancroft family, which once controlled The Wall Street Journal, now express regret over the 2007 sale of the newspaper to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Christopher Bancroft said that if he had known of the allegations, the deal “would have been more problematic for me. I probably would have held out.” When asked if she would have wanted the sale had she known what she knows now, family member Elizabeth Goth said, “My answer is no.” One relative is less remorseful. Bill Cox III said that he “probably would have thought twice about it but probably would have sold.”

Video screenshot

Murdoch Gets Heckled After Meeting Dowler Family

Ex-'World' Staffer: Tabloid Made Up Stories

Now that News of the World is officially gone, it’s time to collect the dish from the former employees. An anonymous former staffer writes in The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday about the four months she spent at News of the World in 2006 under disgraced former editor Andy Coulson. At the paper, the author writes, one of her assignments included recording Mike Tyson with a tiny “pen cam”—specifically, Tyson in a cocaine orgy. While the reporter managed to befriend Tyson and get in with his posse, there was no cocaine orgy, just pictures of Tyson with a stripper. Evidently, these were not good enough: The editors embellished details to make it sound as if there had been three-way sex and more illicit activities.

News Corp. Withdraws BSkyB Bid

The News of the World scandal has hit News Corp. where it hurts most: its business model. Rupert Murdoch’s company will withdraw its bid for British Sky Broadcasting today, Sky News reports. That comes on the same day that Prime Minister David Cameron, an erstwhile Murdoch ally, said during a rousing session of Parliament that he backed a proposal from the opposition Labour Party calling on News Corp. to drop the bid. News Corp. already owns nearly 40 percent of BSkyB, a major British broadcaster, and sought to purchase the rest for nearly $12 billion. Despite some worries about media consolidation, the deal seemed destined for approval by U.K. regulators until the phone-hacking scandal raised questions about News Corp.—and put serious political pressure on Murdoch to drop the bid voluntarily. Coming just days after the closure of News of the World, it’s a second major blow for News Corp.

Cops: Thousands of Hacking Victims

One hundred and seventy down, 3,700 to go. Scotland Yard said Tuesday that they’ve contacted fewer than 200 alleged victims of phone hacking by the News of the World, revealing the enormous scope of the investigation. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers said there are 11,000 pages of evidence in the Scotland Yard’s possession, with 5,000 landline phones and 4,000 mobile phones. The inquiry, known as Operation Weeting, has been going on for six months and is staffed by 45 full-time detectives. Akers said they aim to contact all the victims, and she asked that media organizations that have any evidence of phone hacking to share that information with police. The investigation could take years to complete.

MPs to Be Questioned Under Oath

British Members of Parliament will be questioned under oath by a judge as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s inquiry into the phone hacking scandal at the News Corp. The judge will be able to call politicians, police, and members of the press as part of the inquiry—and their answers will be under oath. Cameron’s former press secretary, Andy Coulson, was arrested last week for his role in the News of the World’s phone hacking and Cameron announced an official inquiry into the government’s role in the hacking. In an extraordinary measure, Cameron joined with Labor leader Ed Millibrand and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg have united against News Corp’s proposed $19 billion takeover of broadcaster BSkyB.

Photos: Murdoch Scandal Front Pages
notw-front-page-headlnes
Stewart Stanley / Getty Images

Brown Slams News International’s ‘Disgusting Work’

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has accused News International journalists of “the most disgusting work” after it was alleged on Monday that they repeatedly targeted him and his family. Brown says that, in 2006, News International executive Rebekah Brooks, then editor of The Sun, telephoned his wife to say the paper had obtained Brown’s son’s medical records, indicating he had cystic fibrosis. “Sarah and I were incredibly upset,” says Brown, who did not know how the paper had obtained the records. “Obviously we wanted to keep that private. As a parent, you want to do your best by your children." Brown also accused News International hired “known criminals” to target his bank and legal files.

NotW Paid Police for Anti-Terror Tools: Report

Two former News of the World reporters tell The New York Times that the paper bribed police officers to use cell-phone tracking technology that is usually reserved for anti-terror and other high-profile investigations. The technique, known as “pinging,” locates an individual by checking his or her cell phone’s signal strength against three different towers. In normal investigations, the method requires case-by-case authorization. Sean Hoare, a former News of the World business reporter, says “pinging” cost $500 a pop. He says a news editor, Greg Miskiw, first taught him about the technique, claiming to have brought Miskiw a subject’s phone number and received, in return, the subject’s precise location.

Brown Says Son’s Medical Files Hacked

More details have emerged regarding how Rupert Murdoch's newspapers allegedly repeatedly targeted former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s family, including his young son’s medical records, as Brown alleged Monday. Brown’s son Fraser, now 5, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was four months old in November 2006. Brown said that as he and his wife, Sarah, dealt with that shock, they soon had another one: News International executive Rebekah Brooks, then editor of The Sun newspaper, called to tell them the newspaper would be publishing their son’s diagnosis. Letters, tape recordings, and other records, released Monday with Brown’s cooperation, indicate that The Sunday Times and The Sun—both owned by Murdoch—obtained confidential information about Brown and his family. The records also allege that highly sensitive information about Brown's daughter, Jennifer, was obtained and published the weekend before she died of a brain hemorrhage in 2002.

Investors: News Corp. a ‘Complete Failure’

A group of investors filed a class-action lawsuit Monday accusing News Corp. of a “complete failure” of oversight in the phone-hacking scandal that has caused one of its flagship newspapers, News of the World, to shut down. Filed in Delaware Chancery Court, the suit alleges the “culture” at News of the World had “run amuck within News Corp. and a Board provided no effective review or oversight.” Jay Eisenhofer, the co-lead counsel of overseers, said in a statement the “egregious nepotism” and lack of the “slightest level of adult supervision” had resulted in “a piling on of questionable deals, a waste of corporate resources, a starring role in a blockbuster scandal, and a gigantic public relations disaster.”

Gallery: Fleet Street's Worst Blunders
tabloid-scandals-benjamin-pell
Martin Cleaver / AP Photo

News of the World Hacked Its Investigators in 2006

Celebrities, victims, politicians, and now Scotland Yard: Five senior police officers discovered that their phone messages had been hacked by the News of the World shortly after the first criminal inquiry began in 2006. This raises new questions about the quality of the initial investigation, and to what extent it was compromised. Of the 11,000 documents seized from the home of hacking specialist Glen Mulclaire in 2007, investigators found the names of Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner and other officials involved in the inquiry. A possible “cozy” relationship between Scotland Yard and the News of the World is another area of question, a reason current and former officials believe that the initial hacking investigation was not thoroughly pursued.

Prince Charles a Likely Target

British police have told Buckingham Palace that Princes Charles and his wife, Camilla, were likely targets of phone hacking by News of the World, Rupert Murdoch’s recently shuttered paper. At least 10 members of the royal household have been warned about potential hacking, according to The Guardian, citing police records. Earlier, the BBC revealed emails that show the paper paid bribes to a royal security guard in order to get the cell numbers of royals so their voicemails could be hacked.

Tina Brown: Murdoch's Dark Arts

News of the World shuttered, consigliere Les Hinton and the BSkyB deal at risk—can Rupert still prevail as he always has in the past? By Tina Brown.

'Thank You and Goodbye'

In its final issue, News of the World apologized to readers and acknowledged hacking phones, but made no mention of new allegations that staff members had paid police for information. “We praised high standards, we demanded high standards but, as we are now only too painfully aware, for a period of a few years up to 2006 some who worked for us, or in our name, fell shamefully short of those standards," the British paper wrote. "Quite simply, we lost our way. Phones were hacked, and for that this newspaper is truly sorry.” NotW also expressed optimism that its ugly end wouldn't stain its reputation forever: "When this outrage has been atoned, we hope history will eventually judge us on all our years." All the proceeds from the sale of the final issue will be split between three charities.

Final World Crossword Jabs Exec

In its final edition, News of the World appears to have some nasty messages hidden in the crossword—aimed squarely at former editor Rebekah Brooks. Before Murdoch's son shut down News of the World for its reckless phone hacking, Brooks told her bitter staff she would not resign and can be heard in a secret recording saying she was "determined to get vindication for this paper and for people like you." Despite orders from News International to "ensure there were no libels or any hidden mocking messages" in the final edition, the crossword was riddled with obvious shaming clues—including "Brook," "stink," "catastrophe," and "woman stares wildly at calamity.”

Actor Steve Coogan Blasts News Of The World

Video screenshot

Millions of Emails Possibly Deleted to Skirt Investigation

News International is taking fire once more, after new evidence emerged suggesting that an executive may have deleted millions of emails from an internal archive in an effort to obstruct Scotland Yard’s phone-hacking investigation. The archive goes all the way back to 2005, though the company originally claimed in court that it could not retrieve emails that were more than six months old. According to the investigation, the senior executive deleted emails twice, including once in January 2011, as Scotland Yard was starting its investigation. If the allegations are true, it not only shows that the company has not been cooperating with authorities, but the company might also not be able to pass a “fit and proper person” test, which could jeopardize its takeover of BSkyB.

Photos: The Top 10 News Corp. Scandals
news-corp-scandals---ailes-regan
AP Photo (2)

Dead Soldiers’ Families Hacked

Personal details of the families of dead soldiers were included in the files of a private investigator jailed for hacking phones for the News of the World, the Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday. After the news, the Royal British Legion, Britain's leading charity for veterans, canceled a campaign it planned to mount with the paper to save the chief coroner's office. It also said it is reviewing all advertising arrangements with News of the World parent company News International, whose properties include The Times of London and The Sun.