July 19th, 2011
By: Eric W. Dolan
News Corporation owner Rupert Murdoch might be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey as CEO of the company, but still remain chairman, according to Bloomberg.
People with knowledge of the situation said that whether or not the 80-year-old Australian media mogul steps down as CEO depends in part on his performance before U.K.’s parliament.
Murdoch became embroiled in the phone hacking scandal thanks to his U.K. newspaper News of the World.
The tabloid closed down after an investigation revealed it had participated in the phone hacking of celebrities, British politicians, the families of terrorist attack victims, dead soldiers and others.
Rupert, his son James and former CEO of News International Rebekah Brooks are scheduled to give testimony before the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport on Tuesday.
News Corp. executives who watched Murdoch rehearse for his Parliament appearance were reportedly concerned with how he answered questions.
So far, 10 people have been arrested in connection to the News International phone hacking scandals.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice have launched their own investigations into whether News Corp. participated in the hacking of 9/11 victims or U.S. officials.
Michael Wolff, author of the Rupert Murdoch biography “The Man Who Owns the News,” has predicted that the phone hacking scandals that have shaken News Corp. in recent weeks will ultimately lead to the resignation of Murdoch and his son.
Afshin Rattansi, a Middle Eastern affairs journalist even suggested that “Fox News is finished” if U.S. authorities can prove that News Corp. employees attempted to hack into the voicemails of terror attack victims killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
July 18th, 2011
By: Vikram Dodd and Juliette Garside
Rebekah Brooks has been arrested by police investigating allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World and allegations that police officers were bribed to leak sensitive information.
The Metropolitan police said a 43-year-old woman was arrested at noon on Sunday, by appointment at a London police station.
Brooks, 43, resigned on Friday as News International’s chief executive. She is a former News of the World editor and was close to Rupert Murdoch and the prime minister, David Cameron.
A spokesman for Brooks said she did not know she was going to be arrested when she handed in her resignation.
Brooks was taken into custody at midday on Sunday, after agreeing to attend a London police station for questioning. Her spokesman, Bell Pottinger chairman David Wilson, said she did not know she was to meet with police until late on Friday, and that she did not know the appointment would result in her arrest.
The News International chief executive announced her immediate departure from the company on Friday morning. She had agreed to give evidence this coming Tuesday to the culture select committee’s inquiry into allegations of phone-hacking at the News of the World.
Her lawyers are currently in discussion with the committee about whether she should attend. Wilson said: “It’s left Rebekah in a very difficult position and has left the committee in a very difficult position”.
An arrest by appointment on a Sunday by police is unusual.
In a statement the Met said: “The MPS [Metropolitan police service] has this afternoon, Sunday 17 July, arrested a female in connection with allegations of corruption and phone hacking.
“At approximately 12.00 a 43-year-old woman was arrested by appointment at a London police station by officers from Operation Weeting [phone hacking investigation] together with officers from Operation Elveden [bribing of police officers investigation]. She is currently in custody.
“She was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to Section1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977 and on suspicion of corruption allegations contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.
“The Operation Weeting team is conducting the new investigation into phone hacking.
“Operation Elveden is the investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police. This investigation is being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
“It would be inappropriate to discuss any further details regarding these cases at this time.”
July 18th, 2011
The New Yorker
By: Ken Auletta
For nearly two weeks, Rupert Murdoch and his people have claimed that the newspaper scandal in London was caused by a few rotten apples. Now that a very large apple, Rebekah Brooks, has been arrested, it is clear that it is the entire barrel that is rotten. Since many editors had to have known of the illegal hacking, and many people on the business side would have had to sign off on large, illegal payments to the police for information, more apples will drop in coming days. And not only at News Corp.: Sir Paul Stephenson, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, resigned Sunday. The best public-relations advice in the world will not help contain what is, for Murdoch, a spreading contagion that is no longer confined to London.
In the United Kingdom, Murdoch and his son James will have to tell a Parliamentary committee on Tuesday what they knew and when they knew it. More than that, they will have to try to rescue their company from multiple government onslaughts and criminal investigations from members of Parliament who think they must impose curbs on News Corp.’s ownership of newspapers and television and sports in England, and from shareholders who claim they have been cheated.
In the United States, News Corp., as an American company, will, among other things, have to explain why it has not violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it unlawful to pay bribes to government officials overseas—a proscription that includes the London police; whether the New York Post (or any of the company’s British newspapers) hacked into the mail or phone calls of celebrities in this country or of the families of 9/11 victims; and why their unethical behavior does not disqualify them under F.C.C. rules that require that those who license TV stations must be of solid moral character. Les Hinton, the head of Dow Jones and one of Murdoch’s senior executives in this country, has already resigned. (I wrote about Hinton’s departure on Friday.)
Murdoch’s influence with government officials here and abroad will not help him escape this time. In the current environment, will politicians, even those who courted him in the past, want be seen at his side, or risk their careers to come to his aid? The dam has sprung multiple leaks, and Rupert Murdoch doesn’t have enough fingers to stop the gushing water.