Politics Magazine

Murdochs and Brooks Set for Fierce Culture Select Committee Grilling Over Phone Hacking Allegations

Posted on the 19 July 2011 by Periscope
Murdochs and Brooks set for fierce culture select committee grilling over phone hacking allegations

James and Rupert Murdoch face the music this afternoon in London. Photo credit: 2story

James and Rupert Murdoch, along with Rebekah Brooks, will answer questions over the extent to which they knew, approved or subsequently covered up widespread phone hacking at News International at the most eagerly anticipated Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing of all time. The expected grilling of the embattled News Corp trio by ten MPs comes against the backdrop of the death of Sean Hoare, an ex-News of the Worldshowbiz reporter who had blown the whistle on newsroom practises, and the resignation yesterday of Met Assistant Commissioner John Yates.

“We have to get to the bottom of this very murky pool,” insisted Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who has been campaigning on phone hacking for many years.

Hoare, who had accused Andy Coulson of complicity in hacking, was found dead at home yesterday. His death was “unexplained” but there is no suspicion of foul play. Yates’ resignation followed Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson’s shock resignation on Sunday. In what is being billed as a warm-up for the big Murdoch Select Committee show, Stephenson and Yates will face the Home Affairs Select Committee at midday to answer questions on the hacking investigation.

Click here to see who’s who in the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee which is comprised of 10 MPs. The hearing is due to kick-off at 14.30 today.

  • Murdoch’s last day as CEO? “Tuesday could be Rupert Murdoch’s last day as CEO,” speculated Max Read at Gawker. “If he screws up enough during Tuesday’s parliamentary hearing, he may be replaced as CEO by jauntily-mustachioed COO Chase Carey. Even if he stepped down as CEO, Murdoch would remain chairman, and retain the dirigible from which he directs his steam-powered robot army. But it’d a major blow to his hold on the company, and Bloomberg spoke with multiple anonymous sources who said that the move is under serious consideration—though ‘a decision hasn’t been made.’”

“The Murdochs will be eager to isolate the crisis as a British media problem common to many tabloids, rather than an international problem specific to the culture he generates in his newspapers,” forecast Patrick Wintour, political editor, The Guardian.

  • The Daily Mail: Westminster village ‘gone slightly mad.’ In a Tuesday editorial, The Daily Mail asked, “has all sense of proportion been lost in  this furore? Let us be absolutely clear. We deplore the contemptible practices of journalists at The News of the World. We also agree that police chiefs Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates have questions to answer about their judgment – as has David Cameron, who ignored warnings against appointing a former Murdoch editor as his chief spin doctor. But in giving the scandal precedence over all other business – even allowing it to jeopardise the fight against terrorism and indeed the entire command structure at Scotland Yard – hasn’t the Westminster village gone slightly mad?”

News International websites were down overnight after hacking group Lulz Security (LulzSec) replaced The Sun ‘s website’s front page with a spoof story claiming Rupert Murdoch had died. In a characteristically bullish  tweet, LulzSec boomed: “Arrest us. We dare you. We are the unstoppable hacking generation and you are a wasted old sack of s—, Murdoch.” 

  • A post-Murdoch media landscape. Writing at HuffpostUK, Darrell Goodliffe imagined a “post-Murdoch media landscape.” “It’s not politicians that are the main enemy of Murdoch and the media monopolists. Cultural currents created by the advent of social media and the internet age are battering the aged shores of these crumbling institutions,” declared Goodliffe. “Had News of the World never happened Murdoch & Co would have eventually had to deal with these realities in any case. It would have been a slower, gradual and evolutionary change but the endemic corruption it has brought to light has presented an opportunity for a real revolution … both social media and the internet allow us all to take much more control in creating our own media and in that they offer us a glimpse of how post-revolutionary media life might look in their crucial role in facilitation the democratic production and control of the flow of information within society. Obviously, it enhances the ability of local communities not just to produce their own content but also publish and achieve national and even international recognition. This is something that should be encouraged and shows how easily co-operative forms of organisation and production can work easily alongside the tools; in the form of the internet, etc, that already exist.”

Here’s the full running order from The Guardians phone hacking live blog.
12pm: Sir Paul Stephenson, the outgoing commissioner of the Metropolitan police, gives evidence to the home affairs committee.
12.45pm: Dick Fedorcio, director of public affairs at the Met, gives evidence to the home affairs committee.
1.15pm: John Yates, who resigned yesterday as assistant commissioner at the Met, gives evidence to the home affairs committee.
2.30pm: Rupert Murdoch and his son James give evidence to the culture committee.
3.30pm: Rebekah Brooks gives evidence to the culture committee.
5.30pm: Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, gives evidence to the home affairs committee.
6pm: Keir Starmer, the current director of public prosecutions, gives evidence to the home affairs committee.
6.20pm: Mark Lewis, the solicitor representing the Dowler family, gives evidence to the home affairs committee.

Get more on phone hacking

  • Phone hacking storm gathers pace: Rebekah Brooks arrested, Paul Stephenson resigns
  • Brooks (finally) resigns
  • Hackgate scandal spreads to US
  • News Corp pulls plug on BSkyB deal
  • Axed News of the World staffers hit Brooks with parting shot via final edition crossword
  • Hugh Grant turns the tables on The News of the World

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