Following what The New York Times calls a “damning report” from a parliamentary committee that concludes Rupert Murdoch “is not a fit person” to lead an international company, News Corp. has issued a statement acknowledging “wrongdoing” at the now-shuttered News of the World, but highlighting the partisan nature of the findings.
In a statement, News Corp. didn’t specify the nature of the “wrongdoing,” but admitted that its response was too slow. However, the statement says the report had comments that were “unjustified and highly partisan.” And the company has taken steps to correct the problems and done an investigation. So, you know. We’re done here, right?
The report concluded that Murdoch turned a blind eye to the misconduct that was infecting the reporting staff and the company’s leadership. The Times says the report throws Murdoch’s leadership into question (which is making investors happy), could cause problems with its ownership of BSkyB, and could even lead to a rare revocation of BSkyB’s broadcast license by the British regulatory body, Ofcom. Not to mention the repercussions for Prime Minister David Cameron and other government and media figures who have been associated with the company over the past few years.
Murdoch himself also sent an email to his staff that illustrates part of the ongoing problem that he and News Corp. continue to have as this scandal unfolds.
“I recognize that for all of us – myself in particular – it is difficult to read many of the report’s findings,” Murdoch wrote while shedding a single, hot tear of self-pity on the keyboard. “But we have done the most difficult part, which has been to take a long, hard and honest look at our past mistakes.”
He continued, “We deeply regret what took place and have taken our share of responsibility for not rectifying the situation sooner.” The statement goes on to outline the governance changes the company has made, the new general counsel, the Management and Standards Committee that, with an outside party, conducted investigations of The Times, The Sun, and The Sunday Times. Of course, they found nothing much.
But he doesn’t use the statement to say plainly what the company and its staffers have done, or to acknowledge the gravity of those actions, the public trust they have betrayed, or the outrage of the victims. That’s actually the most difficult part.
Murdoch and others (like New York Daily News editor Colin Myler and former exec Les Hinton) maintain they were unaware of what was happening and never lied about anything, tantamount to saying they were walking around in a fog of ignorance while a bunch of unethical baddies were doing horrible things right under their noses. This despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
For its part, BSkyB is telling Ofcom that it’s “fit and proper” in an effort to avoid losing its license.
Times London bureau chief John Burns gave the U.K. political perspective in an interview today on CBS This Morning. Click here to watch.
[image: AFP/Getty Images, Justin Sullivan]