After initially dismissing the massive importance of the News International hacking claims, News Corp. seems to have finally accepted that the scandal isn’t going away anytime soon and has begun a full-scale PR offensive—in large part due to recent investigations begun by Parliament and the FBI.
News Corp. appears to be taking a page out of BP’s playbook following that company's disastrous oil spill last year. Following the spill, BP’s CEO Tony Hayward attempted to play down the significance of the “relatively tiny” accident—and paid the price for his nonchalance several months later when he was fired. Rupert Murdoch isn't going to wait that long. Though he'd been defending News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, who's been a central figure in the scandal, he caved under the pressure of the government and public condemnation and accepted her resignation this morning.
News Corp. PR is also launching a BP-like mea culpa campaign in an effort to salvage whatever goodwill it can with the public and fellow corporations (and, hopefully, advertisers).
The company is running advertisements signed by Murdoch (see below) in all national U.K. newspapers to apologize for “the serious wrongdoing that occurred” and the “hurt suffered by the individuals affected.” It also admits that the company did not “sort things out” quickly enough and failed when it came to holding itself to account. News Corp. is also planning to send letters to its commercial partners with an update on its current plans.