Internal Memo: Les Hinton

I have little recollection of my time as head of News International. I simply do not know or do not remember the circumstances relating to the hacking of various voice-mail accounts of sundry royals, officials and celebrities that occurred four years ago, which is quite a long time. At the same time, I do not recall experiencing amnesia, either solitary or collective.

In the absence of such memories, I have no reason to believe that any knowledge was ever possibly in my possession or even there to be possessed at all. I believe that no one knew anything of these hacking practices, except the reporter and investigator convicted of hacking, and those two just barely. We find ourselves in an epistemological quagmire. Such is the life of the journalist.

I do not know the PIN code to Prince William’s voice mail. I do not recall the PIN code to Elle MacPherson’s voice mail, nor the PIN codes of any PR agents, ministers of Parliament, football executives or sports agents. I do not know the PIN code to Bill Keller’s voice mail nor that of Arthur Sulzberger Jr.’s voice mail. Would I be interested in obtaining the PIN codes of those last two men? Yes, feel free to text them to me.

I have been called Rupert Murdoch’s “special envoy on earth.” It is true that I have worked for him for 50 years. It has been said that his installing me as CEO of Dow Jones was part of an ongoing campaign to “dumb down” journalism in the English-speaking world. I do not recall dumbing anything down throughout my entire career. Our aims are to obliterate our rivals, the dour Gray Lady and the digital vampire known as Google. By what means shall we smite these giants? You’ll have to guess the PIN code to my voice mail.