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Murdoch seems tone deaf

UPDATE: News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, on Friday, July 15, apologized to the family of Milly Dowler, the murdered 13 year-old whose phone was hacked by employees of News Corp. The family’s lawyer says Murdoch seemed ‘‘very sincere’’.

Rupert Murdoch seems to be getting it but not quite.

Shortly after the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed to BNN it was investigating News Corporation over allegations employees hacked into the phones of September 11 terrorist attack victims, the website of a newspaper Murdoch’s company controls, the Wall Street Journal, posted an interview with Murdoch.

It was billed as Murdoch’s first significant comments about the escalating phone-hacking scandal surrounding News Corp. The 80 year-old said the company will set up an independent committee to ‘’investigate every charge of improper conduct.’’ That’s a start. Murdoch also says the committee will put together a protocol of behaviour for new reporters. What about the existing ones? That’s why the company is in this pickle in the first place.

Murdoch thinks News Corp has handled the scandal ‘’extremely well in every way possible’’ with only a few minor mistakes. Yes, nine arrests, an FBI investigation, a parliamentary committee you initially refused to appear before, two pending government inquiries, a botched multi-billion dollar deal and billions lost from News Corp.’s market value.

Everything is going swimmingly.

A well-handled scandal would have been no scandal at all. News Corp. is merely reacting and being politically expedient. The company should have been proactive and rooted out the hacking culture at News of the World and possibly other News Corp papers years ago.

As for the damage to the company, Murdoch says it’s ‘’nothing that will not be recovered.’’ Is Murdoch aggravated by the negative attention? He says he’s ‘’just getting annoyed. I’ll get over it. I’m tired.’’

Murdoch is acting as if the scandal is an inconvenience. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of contrition there. His appearance July 19 before a UK parliamentary committee will be great theatre. Will the media baron apologize for what appear to be ghastly violations by some of his employees or will he be defiant?

I’m guessing it will be the latter.


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