For a guy who has dominated the British media landscape during the past 30 years, the News Corp. CEO claims to have little juice when it comes to influencing U.K. leadership.
Murdoch testifies today. Video at BBC.co.uk.
Murdoch has had five meetings with Conservative Party leader now Prime Minister David Cameron, but they apparently were nothing more than chit-chat sessions. Lover of small talk Cameron once interrupted a family vacation to meet with Rupe off the coast of Greece on a yacht owned by Murdoch’s daughter.
Labour Party leader Ed Milliband gleefully skewered Cameron for his cozy ties with Murdoch during yesterday’s “Question Time” in the House of Common. Cameron’s predecessor Prime Minister Tony Blair is godfather to Murdoch’s daughter. Tony was good enough to travel to the River Jordan for that 2010 baptism.
Murdoch claims his own employees keep him out of loop. He was misinformed about and shielded from a “culture of cover-up” that developed at the NOTW. He testified that two strong characters, friends and drinking pals of the hackers not only kept him in the dark, but also son James, deputy COO of News Corp., and mentee Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the NOTW. Murdoch testifed that had he known about the nefarious doings, he would have shut the newspaper down years ago.
Rupert claims to be a victim of the whole hacking mess. That must be quite a shock to family members of Millie Dowler, the murdered 13-year-old whose phone was hacked by NOTW reporters and investigators. They erased messages on the schoolgirl’s phone to free up space for more messages, leaving parents and investigators to believe that she may still be alive. The family’s lawyer rightly called that activity “heinous” and “despicable.”
Rupert fears the hacking scandal is “going to be a blot on my reputation for the rest of my life.” Murdoch, 81, shouldn't loose too much sleep over the mess. It's David, James and Rebekah (Cameron's horse riding buddy) who are on the hook.