Feeds

'Wilful blindness? We've heard of it,' says Murdoch

Table-banging biz tyrant and son grilled by MPs

New hybrid storage solutions

A "humbled" Rupert Murdoch appeared before a committee of MPs this afternoon as a witness on the phone-hacking scandal that has engulfed the News Corp boss' media empire.

The committee's chair, John Whittingdale, denied James Murdoch the opportunity to read from a written statement; the younger Murdoch is the deputy COO at his father's firm.

Questioning then quickly turned to 80-year-old Murdoch, who was heavily grilled by Labour MP Tom Watson.

Murdoch's response was often punctuated with silence. He said: "This is the most humble day of my life."

News Corp's sister company News International published the now-defunct News of the World tabloid – which was shuttered earlier this month after it came to light that phone-hacking was alleged to have been widespread at the newspaper.

Watson asked Murdoch if it was true that his organisation had a zero tolerance to wrongdoing. The media tycoon answered "Yes".

Murdoch claimed not to know who had lied to him and acknowledged that he had been misled over phone-hacking at News International.

Murdoch told Watson he didn't know anything about former NI CEO and erstwhile NotW editor Rebekah Brooks' confirmation to the media committee in 2003 that the newspaper had made payments to police.

He said he only learned of it later, and admitted it wasn't investigated at the time.

"I didn't know of it," he said, before adding, while repeatedly banging on the desk, that the now-dead tabloid accounted for just 1 per cent of his company.

During the original police investigation, which led to the successful prosecution of NotW royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2007, Murdoch told Watson that Les Hinton informed him of the matter.

The MP, after grilling Murdoch over phone-hacking compensation payments made to individuals, asked if the crime alleged to have been committed at News International was "endemic".

"Endemic is a very wide-ranging word; I also have be extremely careful not to prejudice the current case," replied Murdoch.

"I was absolutely shocked, appalled and ashamed when I heard about the Milly Dowler case," he added.

Watson then pointed to an earlier parliamentary meeting with NI execs, in which the MPs at the time concluded that there was a "collective amnesia" among those company bosses.

"You're not saying amnesia, you're really saying lies," retorted Murdoch.

Watson then asked Murdoch if the News Corp boss knew that News International's original line was that only "one rogue reporter" had been responsible for the phone-hacking allegations at the firm as of January 2011.

"I forget the date," responded the media mogul.

Watson said it was "revealing in itself what he [Murdoch] doesn't know," about the corporate governance of his own company.

Later in the grilling, James Murdoch was asked if he was aware of the term "wilful blindness".

He said he wasn't, his father then interjected by saying he had heard of the phrase before adding: "We have never been guilty of that." ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.