England Declares War on Rupert Murdoch


I wish I had more to tell you about this:
Rupert Murdoch is standing by News International head Rebekah Brooks in his first public statement on the new phone hacking accusations causing a firestorm for the News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). UK publishing group—and a potential last-minute roadblock for his much-desired BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) takeover. The statement, included in full below, comes from London but the News Corp Chairman and CEO is Sun Valley, Idaho, at the annual Allen & Co. mogul fest. Also in Sun Valley, Joel Kelin, the former New York City Schools chancellor now heading News Corp.‘s fledgling education business—and serving as Murdoch’s point man on the News of the World scandal.

Recent allegations of phone hacking and making payments to police with respect to the News of the World are deplorable and unacceptable. I have made clear that our company must fully and proactively cooperate with the police in all investigations and that is exactly what News International has been doing and will continue to do under Rebekah Brooks’ leadership. We are committed to addressing these issues fully and have taken a number of important steps to prevent them from happening again. I have also appointed Joel Klein to provide important oversight and guidance and Joel and Viet Dinh, an Independent Director, are keeping News Corporation’s Board fully advised as well.
I think it's a fascinating story--what took them so long to finally crack this case and go after these people? Why does he actually come out and say "have taken a number of important steps to prevent them from happening again?" Isn't that a bit like saying, "oh, sure. We did it. We're going to make sure you don't catch us breaking the law again."


While reading the middle volume of Michael Palin's "Halfway to Hollywood" book, which is a collection of his diary entries from 1980-88, there is a passage in there about Murdoch and his bloodthirsty calls for war (through his English media companies, of course) against Argentina. It's a great read and it's a great insight into Britain's cultural history during the 1980s. And, it's as if Palin knew what this man was about.


I don't know if I'll review this one or not. I have a literal stack of things that I have to read and write about in the weeks ahead. Palin's diaries are extremely well written and his insights are as honest and as interesting as anything out there. If these were blog entries, you could make the case that Palin was fairly well ahead of his time. 


I'm about a third of the way through. It's a great read, and I probably should have read the first volume BEFORE this one, but I believe in doing things out of order as often as possible.


Anyway, back to this scandal in the British media. What Murdoch appears to be about is something entirely unbelievable. His tabloid reporters went after people and "hacked" into their private lives. Is it far-fetched to wonder if his American employees have such similar ethics? And is it possible that this could bring his media empire crumbling down around him? If so, what does that mean for the U.S. wing of his holdings, which includes Fox News and The Wall Street Journal?


Should we wonder out loud whether or not the Fox News organization has conducted similar operations in this country? Or is that unfair and unreasonable?
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