The Cutline
  • Rupert Murdoch resumes his testimony in London, April 26, 2012. (AP/Pool)

    News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch testified Thursday to the U.K. committee on media ethics that there was indeed a phone-hacking "cover-up" at News International—led by "one or two very strong characters"—and that he had "failed" to uncover it.

    "Someone took charge of a cover-up, which we were victim to and I regret," Murdoch told the Leveson Inquiry in London on his second straight day of testimony. "I also have to say that I failed ... and I am very sorry for it."

    Murdoch, though, insisted the cover-up was not engineered by the company's top executives. "There was no attempt, by me or several levels below me, to cover it up," Murdoch said. "We set up inquiry after inquiry, we employed legal firm after legal firm. Perhaps we relied too much on the conclusions of the police."

    The 81-year-old said he panicked last summer when it was revealed that News of the World had hacked into the voice mail of Milly Dowler, a missing 13-year-old who was later found murdered. Murdoch shut the tabloid down a few days later.

    "You could feel the blast coming in the window," Murdoch said of the scandal. "I can say it succinctly. I panicked. And I am sorry I did."

    But the media mogul also said he should have closed News of the World "years before" the phone-hacking revelations. "This whole business is a serious blot on my reputation," he said.

    Read More »from Rupert Murdoch admits phone-hacking ‘cover-up’: ‘I failed’
  • Muto (Gawker)

    Joe Muto, the former Fox News associate-producer-turned-infamous-"Fox Mole," was served with a search warrant by police early Wednesday. Investigators seized his laptop, Muto said.

    "I just got search warranted at 6:30 a.m. by a very polite crew from the DA's office," Muto tweeted. "Took my iPhone, laptop, some old notebooks."

    Gawker published several columns by Muto earlier this month while he was still employed by Fox News, and also published unaired video footage taken from a Mitt Romney interview with FNC's Sean Hannity. Fox News quickly fired Muto, and sent letters to both him and Gawker, threatening to pursue criminal and civil charges.

    "They're pretty worked up over a clip of Romney talking about his horses," Muto wrote on Twitter. "According to the warrant, Fox News is apparently accusing me of grand larceny, among other things."

    Those other things include "petit larceny" and computer tampering, according to the eight-page search warrant.

    On Twitter, Muto took a jab at the phone-hacking scandal at the cable channel's News Corp. parent. "I should have done something more innocuous," he wrote, "like hacked a dead girl's phone and interfered with a police investigation."

    Read More »from Fox News ‘Mole’ served with search warrant; laptop, iPhone seized
  • Rupert Murdoch testifies in London, April 25, 2012. (AP/Pool)

    News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch was grilled for more than three hours by the Leveson Inquiry on phone hacking and media ethics on Wednesday in London, testifying that his frequent private meetings with British politicians are just part of "the game" and that the editorial influence he wields over his newspapers is "overestimated."

    With his wife, Wendi Deng, looking on, Murdoch said he welcomed the opportunity to testify "because I wanted to put certain myths to bed."

    Those myths, he said, include what his role is exactly as a newspaper publisher.

    "I never interfered with the News of the World, I'm sorry to say," Murdoch told the committee. "I'm not disowning it or saying it wasn't my responsibility but I was always closer to the Sun."

    He continued: "I never gave instruction to the editor of the Times or Sunday Times. Sometimes when I was available on a Saturday I would say what's the news today, out of idle curiosity perhaps."

    But Murdoch said that it was his responsibility to step in if one of his paper's was under-performing: "Let's face it, if an editor is sending a newspaper broke it is the responsibility of the proprietor to step in for the sake of the journalists, for the sake of everybody, and particularly his responsibility to his many thousands of shareholders."

    The 81-year-old mogul--who appeared before parliament last summer--denounced phone hacking, but not the editorial goal.

    "I don't believe in using hacking, in using private detectives or whatever, that's a lazy way of reporters not doing their job," Murdoch said. "But I think it is fair when people have themselves held up as iconic figures or great actors that they be looked at."

    From the Guardian's transcript:

    Read More »from Rupert Murdoch on phone hacking: ‘That’s a lazy way of reporting’


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