The News Corp. is a world wide media company controlled by Rupert Murdoch. This Australian is responsible for Fox News, but that is only part of the media empire and only part of the problem. In
Britain the News Corp. is in
trouble for hacking the phones and e-mails of a huge number of celebrities and
for the horrific act of hacking the phone of a teenage murder victim. The company has paid millions in damages to
settle claims against it for improper and possibly illegal behavior.
The current controversy involving Mr. Murdoch is his attempt to take over BSkyB, a satellite TV company in
Britain. News Corp. needs permission of the British
government to gain the shares it needs to get control, and there are allegations
it has received clandestine help from the Conservatives who now control the
government. As a result of all of this there
are numerous investigations into the News Corp. and the Murdochs (pere and
fils), one of which is a
Parliamentary committee that just issued its report.
Though the majority of the report is dedicated to the critique and condemnation of the defenses senior executives have presented to Parliament over years, it offers new details that suggest the scandal has not yet fully crested. Dotted through its 121 pages are references to sealed documents and an audio tape containing possibly unrevealed names of those involved in illegality; a potentially explosive impending legal judgment; significant areas under review by Scotland Yard; and a file of evidence gathered by the company that the panel of lawmakers behind the report has said may have been instrumental in covering up phone hacking.
As for Mr. Murdoch
A startlingly damning report on the hacking scandal atRupert Murdoch’s British newspapers concluding that Mr. Murdoch was “not a fit person” to run a huge international company threatens bruising divisions within the political establishment, complicates Prime Minister David Cameron’s challenge in explaining his ties to Murdoch executives and increases regulators’ scrutiny of Mr. Murdoch’s linchpin holdings in the lucrative BSkyB network.
The Conservatives who have sidled up to Mr. Murdoch (before the last election he shifted the support of his papers in
Labour to Conservative) still support him,
The parliamentary committee that issued the report on Tuesday joined overall in the sharply critical findings, but split, 6 to 4, on party lines over the specific censure of Mr. Murdoch. The dominant Conservatives opposed it, while the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in Mr. Cameron’s government, joined the Labor opposition in supporting it.
And the Prime Minister, David Cameron who supports the News Corp., who supports his minister charged with making the decision about whether or not to allow News Corp. to take over BSkyB even though that minister had failed to disclose contacts with News Corp. and who himself has met with Mr. Murdoch and not disclosed it might be in serious trouble.
Mr. Cameron now faces the risk of being cast as a de facto champion of Mr. Murdoch and the possibility of being tarred by association with the wrongdoing at the Murdoch-owned tabloids.
This is patently unfair. Mr. Cameron should be sacked because of his economic policies not because of his sleazy dealings with
an equally a far more sleazy person. But on the other hand, if the Murdoch scandal
does the job . . .