A report published by the House of Commons’ select committee today concluded that Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run a major international corporation, according to The Guardian. The Observer reached a similar conclusion while reading Mr. Murdoch’s batty Twitter feed.
News Corp. Meltdown
Members of the British government are calling for Tory minister of culture Jeremy Hunt’s head, The Guardian reports, after an ongoing media ethics investigation revealed Mr. Hunt’s office was in cahoots with the Murdoch clan leading up to News Corp.’s failed bid to take over British broadcaster BSkyB.
Instead, Mr. Hunt’s adviser Adam Smith fell on his sword, resigning just an hour before the cabinet minister was scheduled to defend himself before the House of Commons today. There, Mr. Hunt said his actions should be judged by Lord Justice Leveson, who is leading the press probe.
“When posh boys are in trouble, they sack the servants,” quipped Labour MP Dennis Skinner.
News Corp shogun and avid tweeter Rupert Murdoch will be in the hot seat again this week, testifying under oath in the United Kingdom’s “Leveson Inquiry” into press practices. The 81-year-old billionaire will face new questions regarding phone-hacking and his and his company’s relationship with U.K. political figures.
Mr. Murdoch’s son James, age 39, will answer questions in the same hearing Tuesday and the elder Mr. Murdoch is expected to appear Wednesday and Thursday.
A trio of civil lawsuits will be filed in American courts against Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Reports in the Daily Mail and Daily Beast indicate attorney Mark Lewis is prepared to file suit on behalf of three unnamed clients in America, claiming the phone hacking, believed to be a U.K. phenomenon until now, took place here as well:
A reporter’s critical tweet about The Daily‘s editing–published only after he’d tendered his resignation–activated News Corp.’s super-vindictive N.D.A squad, Romenesko reports.
“@daily story on Iranian ninjas has nothing to do with my reporting,” politics reporter Luke Kummer tweeted Feb. 17. “I object to it in every way. I wrote straight w/o absurd sensationalism.”
The same day, News Corp. HR manager Lainie Bontzolakes emailed Mr. Kummer to remind him of the non-disclosure/non-compete agreement he signed.
The Best Defense
The Sun on Sunday launches next week, making Rupert Murdoch’s first UK newspaper available seven days a week, even as its masthead is plagued by arrests and allegations of bribery. Here is a vintage pic of Mr. Murdoch released by The Sun for the occasion.
In a memo obtained by the Guardian, the News Corp. boss pledged his “unwavering support” to the new publication, which is staffed at least in part by employees of the shuttered News of the World.
Memo below, emphasis ours.
Today Bloomberg Businessweek‘s Greg Farrell published a remarkable piece about power shifts among News Corp.’s top executives in the early days of the phone hacking scandal. He also reconstructs a fateful dinner party chez Murdoch, which we’ve mined for etiquette tips, below, should you ever secure an invite.
Q: When should I arrive at Rupert Murdoch’s dinner party?
B is for Baby
Former News International executive Rebekah Brooks and her former racehorse trainer husband announced the arrival of their daughter, Scarlett Anne Mary Brooks, at a private hospital in London today, reports the Independent.
As If You Care
News Corp. Asia and Europe boss James Murdoch testified again today before Parliament, in light of evidence that he had misled MPs during the first hearing. Mr. Murdoch denied the accusations, implying that former News International executives Tom Crone and Colin Myler lied about making him aware of the widespread practice of phone hacking within the company.
conflicts of interest
In the wake of the News of the World phone hacking saga, News Corp. appears to be serious about cleaning up its act.
Andrew Langhoff, publisher of The Wall Street Journal Europe, resigned yesterday after an internal inquiry revealed that Journal editorial content could have been influenced by a business-side relationship, reports the New York Times.
The paper’s circulation department had an arrangement with Netherlands consulting firm Executive Learning Partnership, which it had featured twice in its “Special Reports” section, in October 2010 and March of this year.