Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hypocrisy regarding murdoch news hacking

As bad as this behavior by murdoch is people forget that other companies
do this all the time. An excellent example is how suckerberg's facebook
adn linkedin use hacking techniques, like the friend finders on facebook
and linkedin, to go into people's e-mail accounts and obtain e-mail
addresses, something newscorp's myspace has not done. It will be
interesting to see how this plays out.
Peter Z

Murdochs in the dock

By Ian Burrell, Media Editor
Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The phone hacking scandal that has claimed the jobs of Britain's two
most high-profile police officers, caused the closure of one of the
country's most famous newspapers, prompted 10 arrests so far and led to
calls for the resignation of the Prime Minister reaches a critical
juncture today with a moment of high drama to rival anything that the
British media has produced before, either in real life or fiction.

The founder and the appointed heir to the world's most famous media
empire will take centre stage in the next act of the hacking saga.

Rupert and James Murdoch will sit before a panel of MPs and face
questions that the company over which they preside was involved in phone
hacking on an "industrial scale", made illegal payments to police
officers and sought to corrupt the democratic process by "owning"
politicians. In their answers, for which they have been carefully
drilled by a team of lawyers and media trainers, the pair will attempt
to rescue a tarnished reputation and distance themselves from serious

They will do so under intense pressure from their own shareholders, who
have seen the value of their stock fall by almost a fifth – 17.9 per
cent – since it emerged that the murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler had
been among victims of the company's journalists. The answers of the
Murdochs will also be analysed by a number of investigating bodies,
including the media regulator Ofcom which is gathering evidence on
whether News Corp is "fit and proper" to own a broadcasting licence in
the UK, and the Serious Fraud Office.

The pair's evidence will be followed by that of Rebekah Brooks, who
resigned her post as their chief executive at News International last
week, before being arrested on Sunday by police investigating the
hacking and illicit payments made to officers. Yesterday Brooks fought
back. Her lawyer, Stephen Parkinson, hinted that his client would take
steps to redress damage to her reputation. "Despite arresting her
yesterday and conducting an interview process lasting nine hours, [the
Metropolitan Police] put no allegations to her and showed her no
documents connecting her with any crime. They will in due course have to
give an account of their actions and in particular their decision to
arrest her with the enormous reputational damage that this has

For James Murdoch the appearance before MPs will be a screen test like
no other. As he prepared to take his seat in front of the House of
Commons Culture, Media & Sport committee today, he was facing criticism
from those who doubt that he possesses the abilities to run the News
Corp empire founded by his father.

The pressure on him intensified yesterday with a growing clamour for him
to relinquish his role as chairman of BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster
which he helped to build into a successful business. BSkyB's
non-executive directors were reported to be unconvinced that Murdoch can
cope with the job when he is caught up in the phone hacking affair, and
that they would watch his performance today ahead of discussions later
this week.

That view was echoed by the satellite broadcaster's first chairman,
Andrew Neil, a former editor of the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times.
"Non-Murdoch shareholders in BSkyB [are] indicating James's future as
Chairman [is] likely determined by his Commons performance," he said
last night.

Yesterday the Liberal Democrats asked Ofcom to act now on whether News
Corp should be allowed to have even the 39 per cent stake in BSkyB that
it possesses. Don Foster, the party's media spokesman, said James should
follow the example of senior police officers and his colleague Rebekah
Brooks and resign, even if he was not admitting wrong doing. "I think
his position is untenable," he said. A poll for ITV News last night
showed that two-thirds of the public thought James should quit.

The hearing

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive, News Corp

What would represent a victory?

He emerges as an honourable tycoon who was kept in the dark about the
scale of the scandal. He demonstrates that he had no knowledge of the
out-of-court settlements to Gordon Taylor and Max Clifford in 2008; that
it was at his insistence that News International co-operated with the
police; and that he does not exercise undue influence in the police,
media and government. He apologises.

And defeat?

He admits he had knowledge of widespread phone hacking prior to January
2011. Yet it becomes apparent that he failed to take charge of the
crisis and ensure News International co-operated fully with police. He
comes across as arrogant or mendacious and/or appears to be vague or
doddery, casting questions over his ability run a global multimedia
giant in the digital age.

And a score draw?

He avoids implicating himself in any direct knowledge of phone hacking
prior to January 2011 but seems out of touch and acknowledges that he
has made mistakes in handling the affair.

James Murdoch, Chief executive, Europe and Asia, News Corp

What would represent a victory?

MPs are impressed by his grasp of detail and candour. He demonstrates
that he was badly advised by lawyers and executives over the 2008
settlements to Taylor and Clifford by naming the executives and
detailing their advice. He comes across as an astute and honest
executive dealing with a formidable range of business problems, and
shows remorse for the scale of wrongdoing at News International.

And defeat?

He comes across as a management-speak dalek devoid of empathy. He admits
that he knew wrongdoing extended to beyond a single reporter but yet
failed to inform the Metropolitan Police. He puts up spurious legal
arguments for not giving straight answers to straight questions. He
shows his temper.

And a score draw?

He agrees that he was not in complete control of News International but
comes across as a decent individual who has been shocked by what has

Rebekah Brooks, Former chief executive, News International

What would represent a victory?

She persuades the committee that she had no role in any wrongdoing and
that the fault lies with other executives. She proves that she was on
holiday when a private investigator working for the News of the World
hacked into the mobile phone of Milly Dowler while she edited the paper.
She comes across as decent, vulnerable and hurt by the damage to her
reputation. A victim not a perpetrator.

And defeat?

She is defiant, haughty or arrogant and refuses to give straight
answers. Fails to explain how she could not have known about phone
hacking and payments to police officers on her watch, nor the
out-of-court settlements to Gordon Taylor and Max Clifford. Trapped by a
skilled inquisition.

And a score draw?

She agrees she failed to grasp the seriousness of wrongdoing at the News
of the World, but is able to show that she personally had no role in any


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