07.18.11

Murdochs to Face Parliament

Rupert Murdoch, testifying before Parliament beside his son James, said “This is the most humble day of my life.” Daily Beast contributors weigh in below and follow Andrew Sullivan’s live blog.

Murdoch was slow to answer MPs’ questions and often appeared hard of hearing. Asked if he himself was responsible for the phone hackings by News. Corp papers, Murdoch said “no,” laying the blame on “people I trusted.” He also lashed out at his competitors: “They caught us with dirty hadns and they built this hysteria around it.” Murdoch also noted that News Corp has uncovered no evidence of the hacking of phones of 9/11 victims.

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Murdoch’s Parliament Appearance
by David A. Graham

Who’ll be grilling Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks at Parliament on Tuesday morning? David A. Graham reports on the committee, the consequences—and the possibility of perjury.

At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Rupert Murdoch, his son James, and his ousted former protégée Rebekah Brooks will walk into the Palace of Westminster for what promises to be an uncomfortable few hours. What is going to happen, and who will be asking the questions? Here’s your cheat sheet on what to expect and whether it matters.

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Photos: The Key Players Brought Down So Far
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News Corp.: Murdoch Not Out as CEO
by Howard Kurtz

The media conglomerate is pushing back against reports that Rupert Murdoch is about to give up the CEO’s job to defuse the crisis. But Howard Kurtz says such a move could happen eventually.

Rupert Murdoch’s company is knocking down reports that he is considering stepping down as News Corp.’s chief executive and handing the reins to his president, Chase Carey.

An executive who is part of the senior leadership team told The Daily Beast on Monday night that the move is not under active consideration and the reports are “inaccurate.”

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Murdoch Scandal’s Trollopian Turn
by Abby Wolf

Perhaps no one could have scripted the lurid News of the World debacle better than British novelist Anthony Trollope—and in his version, no one would emerge unscathed.

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Rupert's See-No-Evil Tactics
by Geoffrey Robertson

Murdoch claims not to know about any of News Corp.’s wrongdoings—a survival tactic that ultimately makes him look like an old man unfit to run a corporation, says Geoffrey Robertson.

“I only want to say this is the most humble day of my life,” interjected Rupert, early in the hearing. It was a carefully rehearsed sound bite, in a strategy which called for James to do most of the talking – in generalized management speak, in Donald Duck accent and at great length. In front of MPs who had no skill at cross-examination, this prevented much truth from emerging.

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What Brooks Severence Buys Murdoch
by Josh Dzieza

Paying the ex-CEO a reported $5.6 million to leave and dropping millions more on other staffers buys the company claim waivers, confidentiality, and other benefits.

Taking a hit for News Corp. may be the best-paying gig in journalism. Rebekah Brooks, former CEO of the group’s News International unit, reportedly got 3.5 million pounds, or about $5.6 million, for stepping down. Colin Myler, News of the World’s last editor, received 2 million pounds. All told, News Corp. is believed to have paid 8.5 million pounds to departing senior staff.

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Cameron on the Ropes
by Alex Massie

As Rupert Murdoch prepares to testify at Parliament’s inquiry, a rising tide of discontent threatens the Conservative government. Alex Massie asks, can the prime minister survive?

Will David Cameron's government survive the phone-hacking scandal engulfing Britain's political and media class? A week ago such a question seemed absurd; now it is no longer unthinkable that Cameron will be felled by his association with Rupert Murdoch and his hacking band of disgraced executives.

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Rupert’s Red Menace
by Lloyd Grove and Mike Giglio

London police arrested Rupert Murdoch protégée Rebekah Brooks on Sunday, before later releasing her on bail. Who is the woman at the heart of the scandal that has rocked the world's most powerful media empire? In this week's Newsweek, Lloyd Grove and Mike Giglio chronicle her extraordinary rise and fall.

Minutes after Rebekah Brooks announced her resignation as chief executive of News International—among the most stunning reversals in Rupert Murdoch’s monumental career as a media baron—the plaintive words of a former staffer at the now-shut News of the World were posted on Twitter: “It feels a bit like we’ve been sacrificed for nothing.”

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U.K. Loses Faith in Police
by William Underhill

Two high-profile Scotland Yard officials have resigned in recent days, blasted for their close ties to Rupert Murdoch’s embattled tabloids. William Underhill on the dismal news for British citizens.

As Britain’s senior policeman, Sir Paul Stephenson once enjoyed a solid reputation based on a distinguished record. On his appointment as Metropolitan Police commissioner, the 37-year police veteran was welcomed as a straight-talking, dependable figure to head the London force that had become embroiled in political controversy.

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Murdoch’s American Scandals
by Michael Tomasky

With Rupert Murdoch’s empire engulfed in scandal in the U.K., Michael Tomasky asks whether the trail of wrongdoing could end up consuming the mogul’s many holdings in the U.S.

The question every right-thinking American is asking: Is there any chance, please, that this electrifying Murdoch scandal will spread with full force to America? Pleasing as it is to see Rebekah Brooks arrested, she’s not responsible for helping to ruin my country. So I’m not really feeling it like I would if I had the pleasure of seeing Roger Ailes perp-walked into the Midtown South precinct. Alas, I wouldn’t bet on it spreading (beyond Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton, who resigned last week). Fox News and the New York Post commit innumerable sins, but illegal phone hacking or some kindred behavior seems to me unlikely to be among them. Still, we can dream. Here are three ways the scandal might come stateside.

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Murdoch’s PR Efforts Sunk
by Howard Kurtz

Rupert Murdoch’s belated efforts to contain the ballooning scandal with housecleaning, apologies, and new advisers are being drowned out by fresh crises, from the arrest of protégée Rebekah Brooks to the resignation of Britain’s top cop.

Rupert Murdoch finally seemed to be getting out ahead of the greatest crisis in his company’s history.

News Corp. executives believe it took the company too long to make crucial decisions at the outset, in part because the waves of evidence about the phone-hacking scandal were overwhelming, say people briefed on the company’s deliberations. “It was shock and awe,” one says.

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Should Britain Muzzle Its Press?
by Daniel Hannon

The implosion of Murdoch’s empire has Britain wondering whether to impose regulations on the tabloids.

The downfall of Rupert Murdoch has prompted some extraordinary rhetoric on the British left. One well-known Guardian columnist tweeted it was “our Berlin Wall moment,” though he may have been outdone by the New York Times correspondent who wrote of “a British Spring.” Gordon Brown, who has barely attended the House of Commons since losing the general election, returned in a terrible rage to compare Murdoch journalists to sewer rats.

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