Friday, 15 July 2011

Murdoch's belated apology won't wash with the public

Defiance hasn't taken any of the steam out of the phone hacking scandal, so News Corp media mogul Rupert Murdoch is giving contrition a try.
His "We are sorry" letter in this weekend's newspapers is the opposite of the tone he took in his recent interview to the Wall Street Journal which he owns.
There he said his company had handled the crisis "extremely well in every way possible" making just "minor mistakes."
I don't doubt the sincerity of his apology to Milly Dowler's family today, which they would appear to have accepted. But I doubt his letter will wash with the British public.
He recognises "the serious wrongdoing that occurred" and "the hurt suffered by the individuals affected." Murdoch adds: "We regret not acting faster to sort things out." I bet he does but it all comes years too late.
Milly Dowler's mobile was hacked in 2002 when Rebekah Brooks was editor of the News of the World. But the time bomb under the Murdoch empire really started to tick in January 2007 when the NoW's royal correspondent Clive Goodman was jailed on phone hacking charges and the newspaper's then editor Andy Coulson resigned.
When The Guardian broke a story in July 2009 that the News of the World was implicated in widespread hacking in the years of Coulson's editorship between 2003 and 2007, it should have been the signal to go in to damage limitation mode.
But instead Brooks, now chief executive of News International, chose to tough it out.
The Guardian, she said, had "substantially and likely deliberately misled the British public." Today she paid with her job.
One of the most sickening aspects of the whole affair is the way News International executives were so confident they could ride out the furore. They nearly succeeded aided by spineless politicians, corrupt police, and mostly acquiescent rival newspapers. When bullying didn't work, they expected their chequebook would.
There were a handful of MPs who stood their ground along with The Guardian. But it is a sad fact without the revelation the mobile phone of a murdered teenager had been hacked - and some messages deleted - Murdoch's stranglehold on the British media would not have been broken.
However many time he says sorry it will never be enough to repair what he has lost - starting with his now-shattered dream of passing control of the parent company News Corp to his son James.


  1. Absolutely! GC. The remote deleting of texts gave her parents the impression their daughter was alive; and hampered the police! By obliterating its tradition of giving helpful publicity to missing childre to help find them, the newspaper committed harikiri; metaphorically hacking itself to death!
    The lesson? Journalists/newspapers should never be armslength from the sources of their stories.

  2. GC. It was not just an isolated incident of the hacking of the phone of a murdered teenager, as you seem to indicate. You seem to be a touch oblivious to previous public dismay at what has now been revealed as "hacking on an industrial scale", thus potentially affecting the privacy of all of the British public. It was also the result of one newspaper's long campaign against another's illicit activities, which amongst other matters, in the public interest, put paid to its rival.


What do you think? GC