Rupert Murdoch at the Leveson inquiry. Watch his testimony below.
Rupert Murdoch, the 81 year old media mogul, appeared before the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics and offerred an apology for his shortcomings during the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.
What Rupert Murdoch said
He said, reported The Guardian, over a three-and-a-half-hour hearing, that it had been “a serious blot on my reputation,” and that he hadn’t been kept fully informed about what was going on at the paper. He also stated that there had been a “cover-up” about hacking, and that he wished he’d shut down the paper years ago. He admitted that he had failed, but that he didn’t personally know about the extent of phone hacking. He blamed his editors for covering it up from him.
The general view is that Rupert Murdoch and News Corp’s reputations are damaged, and that his apology did not go far enough; but this hasn’t deterred investors.
Tom Watson, the Labour MP who was involved in uncovering the hacking scandal, said, quoted on The Guardian, that Murdoch “was an unreliable witness and showed little contrition by pointing the finger at many of his former executives. But at least he admitted for the first time that there had been a cover-up.”
A botched job
You never thought that Murdoch would apologise, said Jena McGregor on The Washington Post. What a shame that his “statements of humility were paired with combative reports and castings of blame.” He’s done “little to shore up the apology and admission that he should have acted differently himself.” His mixture of “remorse and rebuttals” meant his apology lost much of its “punch.”
All drama and no truth
It’s “theater of the highest order,” said Emily Bell on the Columbia Journalism Review, and “like the best theater, convincing up until the moment the curtain fell.” But his testimony did show that at heart News Corp is an autocracy, with Murdoch firmly in power – he could have stopped it all, if he’d only got to it at the beginning. Utlimately, though, he revealed very little.
Not out of the woods yet
And the Murdochs aren’t “out of the woods,” said Torin Douglas on the BBC. News Corp’s reputation is still “hugely damaged.”
The inquiry must focus
The Times’ leader said: “The contribution of Mr Murdoch, a man who has invested more in newspapers than anyone else, was to illustrate that the task for the Leveson inquiry was to find appropriate regulation for the media after the printing presses have rolled for the final time.”
Stocks are up….
But it hasn’t stopped News Corp’s stock going up, reported CNN. It’s up 8 per cent so far this year. For investors still look at Rupert Murdoch “and only see green.”
Opinions are down.
Prince Charles (not the real one) tweeted: “One cannot believe people are comparing Rupert Murdoch to Satan. Yes, he’s evil, but he’s not as bad as Rupert Murdoch,” whereas the satirical news show Have I Got News For You pointed out that “At
#Leveson Rupert Murdoch predicted an end to newspapers. Tired, out-of-date, and doomed to “shrivel and die” in a decade, Murdoch is 81.”