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July 15, 2011 4:55 PM Resignations rock Murdoch media empire

By Steve Benen

Every day, this story intensifies a little more. Today, it was more than a little.

Les Hinton, the chairman of Dow Jones, announced his resignation on Friday, joining Rebekah Brooks, the embattled chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper operations, in the exodus of top officials from Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

Mr. Hinton, a long-time confidant of Mr. Murdoch, ran News International, the British publishing subsidiary of Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation from 1997 to 2005, during the time when the phone hacking that touched off the scandal took place.

For his part, Hinton headed News Corp’s News International unit when the phone-hacking allegations first arose, and came under increasing scrutiny this week when it appeared Hinton may have misled a parliamentary committee about the controversy.

Brooks, meanwhile, was a top Murdoch lieutenant and former editor at the now-closed News of the World tabloid.

Of course, Murdoch is not completely without allies. Rudy Giuliani is willing to come to Murdoch’s defense, even after allegations that News Corp hacked the phones of the 9/11 fallen and the family members of terrorist victims. “He’s a very, honorable, honest man. This can’t be something that he would have anything to do with,” Giuliani said of the News Corp CEO.

That Murdoch is a former client to Giuliani’s consulting firm is a detail that’s gone largely overlooked.

Meanwhile, Murdoch’s Republican cable news outlet would prefer that everyone just stop paying attention to the scandal.

Fox News finally addressed their parent company’s hacking scandal head on this morning, with Fox and Friends launching a comically sycophantic and pathetically inaccurate defense of News Corp. Host Steve Doocy and guest Robert Dilenschneider, a media consultant, agreed News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch has done “all the right things” and argued that the scandal is way overblown.

“For some reason, the public, the media, keep going over this, again, and again, and again” the guest said. “It’s too much,” he added, “We should move on.” Doocy agreed, scolding the media for not devoting its time to covering more important issues. (His show later featured a segment on actress Mila Kunis and a performance by second-tier boy band Lifehouse, popular in 2001.)

But their defense of News Corp. really got embarrassing when Dilenschneider and Doocy engaged in some stunning subject/object slight of hand, comparing News Corp. to companies that have been hacked, while failing to note it was News Corp. that did the hacking in this case.

Given the sudden number of opening in the corporate hierarchy, maybe Doocy is angling for a promotion by sucking up to the boss.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • JS on July 15, 2011 5:03 PM:

    Note that it's all the non-family members getting amputated to keep the gangrene from killing NewsCorp. With Rupert entering his 80's, do we know where the heirs apparent stand on continuing the company? Do they share a desire to continue Daddy's puppetmaster political player status, or do they just want to make gobs of money?

    Also, I can't listen to Steve Doocy without hearing Snagglepuss exit, stage right...

  • hell's littlest angel on July 15, 2011 5:08 PM:

    Giuliani: Rupert Murdoch is a man of impeccable, sterling character. Just like Bernie Kerik!

  • mcc on July 15, 2011 5:08 PM:

    It's a good start.

  • efgoldman on July 15, 2011 5:11 PM:

    ...over the two weeks the affair has dominated British headlines, voting shares in News Corp have fallen $2.27, or 13 per cent.

    Hope my mutual funds don't own much of that shit.
    this, more than anything, will get the attention of stockholders and the board.

  • cwolf on July 15, 2011 5:11 PM:

    The word according to the Rude one

    �He�s a very, honorable, honest man. This can�t be something that he would have anything to do with,� Giuliani said of the News Corp CEO.

    He said basically the same lie about his old BFF Bernie Kerick.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/03/us/politics/03kerik.html

    Giuliani is an unabash & unashamed scumbag.


  • square1 on July 15, 2011 5:11 PM:

    It is worth noting the surprising indifference by elected Democrats to this scandal. BTW, if you want to know "what can they do about it?" simply reflect on how Republicans have reacted to, say, ACORN.

    Now, I'm not calling for the politicization of the justice system or anything. And I understand that the FBI has properly begun a preliminary investigation into the issue of 9/11 victims.

    But, come on, FOX has been the bane of Democrats' existence for over a decade. Is it really too much to ask Democrats to pile on when Fox is down and looking vulnerable? Is there any reason why there aren't Senate hearings as we speak?

    Hell, if I was Democrat going on Fox for an interview, there is no chance that I wouldn't preface my comments with "Well, you probably already know this from hacking my phone but..."

  • Dude on July 15, 2011 5:13 PM:

    It's a damn shame this didn't happen years ago.

  • JEA on July 15, 2011 5:20 PM:

    Hey! Watch it!

    Some of us LIKE Lifehouse...

  • FRP on July 15, 2011 5:27 PM:

    The B Kerick comments are a hoot , poor old subject verb 911 .

    Dude it is a shame , the Guardian was doing stories about it in 2009 and the police brass told them they were wrong .

    There will probably be a healthy dose of the cover up aside from the clumsy police efforts .
    This should be adding a good deal of ZING on the coming deconstruction of Goebbels Jr little Lego's empire .

  • goodshotgreen on July 15, 2011 5:32 PM:

    *sleight* of hand

  • st john on July 15, 2011 6:18 PM:

    Why no mention of the elected officials, mostly Republican, who have received campaign contributions from New Corp and affiliates? How about those who are employed by News Corp/Fox News? Isn't this a source of embarrassment or worse?

    I am really disappointed in your ability to preceive the larger implications of this "scandal." How does this reflect on the "negotiations" going on with the POTUS?

    Come on, Guys...dig a little deeper.

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on July 15, 2011 6:26 PM:

    This is really hilarious . . . Murdoch will still have a shitload of money, and the newspapers were arguably the least of the empire, but the humiliation is as real as it's richly deserved.

    I will always remember Dennis Potter, who gave us Pennies From Heaven and The Singing Detective. After being smeared by one of Murdoch's tabloids, Potter named the cancer that would ultimately kill him "Rupert".

  • Mr Serf Man on July 15, 2011 7:56 PM:

    For some reason, the public, the media, keep going over this, again, and again, and again the guest said. Its too much, he added, We should move on.

    Oh that's rich .
    Loop on Bill Ayers
    Loop on Anything Acorn (still trying to blame them when they don't exist)
    Loop on New black Panthers
    Loop on _______
    You know what I mean

  • FRP on July 15, 2011 8:21 PM:

    I saw two pennies , Peters & Martin , and another black and white if I recall . They were very surreal to me , disturbing and very bold . I am probably as conservative as they come , so I found the departure from strict gauzy fantasy unusual if rewarding .
    I am very glad you mentioned Mr. Potter for it has brought a heartbeat to the clinical dismemberment of tribal psychopath class war unfair that was either tinny or unpersuasive .
    Money means nothing if you can't out the prime ministers private family personal tragedies .
    Nothing .
    Nothing nothing .

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  • Cha on July 15, 2011 11:21 PM:

    cwolf on July 15, 2011 5:11 PM:

    The word according to the Rude one

    �He�s a very, honorable, honest man. This can�t be something that he would have anything to do with,� Giuliani said of the News Corp CEO.

    He said basically the same lie about his old BFF Bernie Kerick.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/03/us/politics/03kerik.html

    Giuliani is an unabash & unashamed scumbag.

    He's a stupid pos, too.

  • politics on July 15, 2011 11:41 PM:

    Stinging criticisms deserved. Karmatic,actually. The fabric weaved as part of Maslow's hierarchy of self-actualization, a flood of trouble, abuse of power, and overall quite devastating for democracy all along. An earthquake hits the right wing.
    May Fox News soon be adrift.

  • drinking jim crow on July 16, 2011 2:24 AM:

    "For some reason, the public, the media, keep going over this, again, and again, and again the guest said. Its too much, he added, We should move on. Doocy agreed, scolding the media for not devoting its time to covering more important issues."

    That's rich coming from the news organ that employed Glenn Beck and turned the New Black Panthers into the greatest threat to Western Civilisation since the bubonic plague.

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