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James Murdoch's Defense Crumbles 272

Hugh Pickens writes "Brian Cathcart writes that whatever happens to News Corp., it will surely happen without James Murdoch, the clever, dashing heir apparent to his buccaneer father, Rupert, who has become a liability with little hope of survival. James Rupert told members of Parliament that when he approved a payment of about $1.1 million in 2008 to settle the first lawsuit brought by a phone-hacking victim, he was not shown an email that suggested phone hacking was more widespread at the News of the World, and not limited to one 'rogue' reporter. 'He is saying one thing—that in briefing him they gave an "incomplete picture" — and, remarkably, in a statement Thursday, they publicly denied that,' writes Cathcart. All the News Corp. executives used to tell the same story but one by one as the pressure has grown these people have been cast off or have drifted away and now as the little group has splintered and scattered, and they all need to save their own skins. 'It's not just James who is done,' writes David Carr in the NY Times. 'Rupert Murdoch, as we have long known him, is done as well.'"
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James Murdoch's Defense Crumbles

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  • Unlikely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by assemblerex ( 1275164 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:08AM (#36869260)
    People forget the power wealthy people have, especially one who owns most of the media. I doubt it will impact him past a year.
  • by wjousts ( 1529427 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:12AM (#36869272)
    Freedom of the press doesn't mean they are free to commit crimes.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:15AM (#36869288) Homepage

    When you are finding yourself in trouble, the first thing you need to do is seek out and buy new friends to help you. Microsoft's sudden interest in lobbying certainly paid off when the first judge was thrown off the case to be replaced by one who was more careful not to offend Microsoft's new friends in congress.

    Seems like Rupert doesn't have many friends in the house and now is apologizing for his son who really is a nut which has demonstrated not falling far from the tree.

  • by loimprevisto ( 910035 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:19AM (#36869310)
    I started to write a comment about being glad that Murdoch is finally getting what's coming to him... then I realized that I didn't know why I felt that way. I have a generally negative opinion of him... but all that comes to mind when I think of him is a caricature assembled from various stories I've come. I gather that he's been consolidating several media markets into near-monopolies and there's controversy about him forcing editorial opinions onto his reporters... but is he the guy who single-handedly broke the news business, or just a businessman who got in over his head with yellow journalism?
  • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:19AM (#36869312)

    You have to be stupid to believe either of the following:
    NewsCorp did nothing wrong.
    NewsCorp is the only company that does this.

  • Re:Unlikely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:23AM (#36869340)

    People forget the power wealthy people have, especially one who owns most of the media. I doubt it will impact him past a year.

    But the Murdochs are hated by many, including those in the media industry. They smell blood and the Murdochs are the chum de jour. I wouldn't be surprised if their phones have been hacked recently by a competitor.

    I don't think Murdoch's company was the only one to use phone hacking. I bet we'll see other media companies getting hit with similar accusations (and maybe even companies that like to harass or sue the public).

  • Re:Poor baby (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:24AM (#36869342) Homepage Journal

    In the U.S. we continue to have this myth that the super-rich got there only by being smart and making "good decisions" and that failures became that way solely because they made "bad decisions." Anyone that is super-rich in the U.S. that isn't trying to sell you something will tell you that getting that far is a combination of being smart and being in the right place in the right time.

    Anyone with that much money is at least smart enough, however, to have enough contingencies in place that they will have a soft landing when something goes badly wrong. He won't be going hungry any time soon even though they seem to have obviously made a crap-load of "bad decisions."

  • Re:See no evil (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:25AM (#36869344)
    Yeah, it is a scary thing when a corporation owns a news conglomerate and spins the shit out of anything they want.
    I would not be surprised if a behind the scenes "You dont want us to talk about this? Okay, give us money" thing was happening.
    If anything, News Corp has proven the very thing people had been scared of for decades, corporate owned news is not "freedom of the press" and they can spin things to incite wars, sway politics, and cause chaos if they wanted.
    We need to go back to how it was :(
  • by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:29AM (#36869386)
    I dont know what you mean by yellow journalism, but the reality is that his news corporations sway public opinions through lies, manipulation, and fear.
    It is sad to see the state of Journalism these days, I would think anyone that has given into this type of tyranny should be ashamed for being a part of large amounts of bullshit that could very well send our country into worse than just political crazyness.
  • Re:Poor baby (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:30AM (#36869398) Homepage Journal

    Anyone that is super-rich in the U.S. that isn't trying to sell you something will tell you that getting that far is a combination of being smart and being in the right place in the right time.

    Yes, like standing in a congressman's office with a big bag of money. Most of us don't have that option. Anyone that is super-rich in the US today is part of a legacy that goes back hundreds of years. Oprah Winfrey is about as close as you get, and she's not super-rich. Elvis gave away Cadillacs; the guy who signed Elvis' check is rich, but Elvis was just another druggie who died on the toilet.

  • Re:Unlikely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:33AM (#36869418)

    But the Murdochs are hated by many, including those in the media industry. They smell blood and the Murdochs are the chum de jour.

    The question to ask is why now? Its not like he was doing some Dr Jeckel and Mr Hyde thing and was a sweet little old lady up until last month or so. He's pretty much consistently been himself for longer than the entire "scandal". Who benefits in money or power by it blowing up RIGHT now? I don't really know.

    The reason the superbowel winning football team is reported and fawned over with media puff pieces on the day after the superbowel is because its current news.

    On the other hand, this "scandal" has been quietly festering for about a dogs life. So why have the powers that be blown it up right now? There must be a reason beyond "they're bored" or some anonymous / Lulz / goonsquad "sounds like fun to me".

  • Re:Unlikely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SenseiLeNoir ( 699164 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:40AM (#36869464)

    It didnt just "blow up right now". IF you lived in the UK you will know its been going on for some time now. It just was not reported outside. The key thing that changed was that until know it was mainly Celebs, etc who have been havign their phones hacked, and the general public was like "meh".

    When it was found out that Millie Dowler's phone, July 7th victims, and other "normal" peoples phones got hacked that public opinion changed significantly.

  • Re:Unlikely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:51AM (#36869566)

    Well, that and a Norwegian terrorist attack followed by the death of a drug addict skank means the whole thing is all but forgotten now. Not to mention the British political class are all off on their holidays for the summer for a few weeks now so simply wont care until late August or September or so when it'll all have conveniently blown over.

    Worse, much of the rest of the British press has found the spotlight shining uncomfortably on it now, The Daily Mail has spent the last week or so trying to deflect attention away from the whole scandal because it knows that what will be dug out of it's closet will likely make the News of the World scandal look quite tame, Murodch's press will want to try and silence the issue, and The Daily Mirror amongst others are also looking quite suspect, so I similarly wouldn't expect the press to try and ressurect it in a month or so's time.

    Hopefully I'll be proven wrong, but oh well, seeing Rupert and his empire get a well deserved kicking was fun whilst it lasted at least.

  • by Alarash ( 746254 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:52AM (#36869574)
    Being is a business man is okay. Owning media outlets is okay. But when you use the later to help with the former, it's not okay. That's why you're glad this is happening to him.
  • by Pigskin-Referee ( 1389181 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:26AM (#36869902)

    Has anyone noticed how "News Corp", Murdoch's Fascist media operation has conveniently either avoided or slanted news concerning this news event? Hannity and Limbaugh have tried to paint the entire episode as the liberal media attacking Murdoch and his family over a media created event. Well it was a media staged event, and Murdoch and his media created it. Other News Corp Fascist commentators continue to spew propaganda that would have made Joseph Goebbels proud.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:30AM (#36869942) Journal

    Murdoch did a switch when he supported Blair instead of the conservatives. New Labour was now IT in his newspapers and it mattered. What prompted the move? Partly that the conservatives corruption had become so clear there was no saving them any more but also because Blair was about as far away you can get from a socialist without wearing a bed sheet.

    But he changed sides again. Partly because the Labour party had become pretty sleezy. Best to get cleaner then clean Cameron in power instead... and then this broke and Cameron does NOT need this. Labour lost the elections because people were tired of the sleeze. The consevatives didn't win because they were so beloved but because England has no third party... one that matter anyway. So voters flip-flop between the two main parties. Except this time the conservatives didn't even get enough for a standard majority government.

    The last thing Cameron needs is for people to forget about the relative harmless sleeze of Labour (expense scandals which affected all parties btw) and get people to remember why they ditched the tories in the first place.

    Labour in the mean time has found Cameron's weekness and Miliband is using it to its fullest and since Murdoch dumped them, he has no reason to be nice to Murdoch.

    That is what has changed, Murdoch has become a poison and you either dump a poison or try to get your opponent to choke on it.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

  • So? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:39AM (#36870064) Journal

    Wasn't the killed of Theo van Gogh claimed by your side to be a lunatic and not a plot? The killed of Pim Fortyun not part of a left wing terrorist group but an individual? There is not difference between the killing, just the norway guy killed a lot more but all three thought they were the ones to set the world right according to their views and kill those that dared to disagree.

    But it is always the other side that has extremists, never your own.

  • Re:Unlikely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:54AM (#36870232)

    What shocks me is that it's taken this long. They've been known in the US to outright make up stories and be a mouth piece for conservatives for many years now and as a result nobody with two brain cells to rub together takes them seriously as a news outlet.

    And if you read up on their history they've done some pretty rotten things over the years. Such as offering Newt Gingrich a huge sum of money as an advance on a book deal when Murdoch was trying to get the rules for media ownership relaxed. Could be a coincidence, but that's doubtful, the advance was a multiple of how much the previous book made.

  • Re:Unlikely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by julesh ( 229690 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @10:43AM (#36870730)

    There's a reason why the 9/11/2001 stock options positions have never been released, and probably never will.

    Yes. And it's the same reason why neither the 8/11 or the 12/11 positions have been released: they're commercially sensitive confidential information that is in all likelihood not retained beyond the end of the day of trading, and which in any case would require a huge amount of effort to collate as almost all of those positions were held by thousands of brokers on behalf of hundreds of thousands of private clients, and only the brokers would know who the clients were.

  • Re:Unlikely (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@gmail.cTIGERom minus cat> on Monday July 25, 2011 @10:46AM (#36870770)

    It was "sat on" by the police, because they had been bought off by News Corporation. The whole thing should have gone off in 2006 when the "isolated incident"/"one rogue journalist" situation happened. The Met collected all the evidence (10,000 pages of notes in 11 garbage bags) and then said "no, nothing to see here!"

    It has been rumbling since then - the Guardian in particular kept running it, and it wasn't until the Millie Dowler revelations that it became front page news.

    There have also a been a string of stories and court settlements since 2006 for various celebs who suspected phone hacking.

  • Re:See no evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @11:34AM (#36871350)

    The only reason this shocks you is because you are ignorant of history. William Randolph Hearst controlled damn near every single major paper in the US. Later his empire included the early movie theaters and other forms of news disbursement (there was a movie created about him called Citizen Kane that never played in theaters because he owned them all). You didn't get stories published in the US without his say. It's because of Hearst that laws were passed prohibiting a single individual from controlling to much "media". All those rules were tossed out the window these last 20 years because people have simply forgotten the power Hearst held and the damage he did. Murdoch is the single biggest inheritor of the crown Hearst lost when the depression hit and the subsequent laws that were passed.

    It astounds me that people don't realize the damage you can do to your country when you allow a single man to decide which stories get published.

  • Re:Poor baby (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Captain Hook ( 923766 ) on Monday July 25, 2011 @12:00PM (#36871652)

    1. Bill Gates

    Parents a lawyer and director of a bank, grandfather was a nation bank president.

    2. Warren Buffet

    Father was a 3 times member of the House of Representatives, father was a founding partner in an Investment company (although whether it was a successful Investment company I have no idea)

    3. Larry Ellison

    I'll give you that one, seems to be an entirely self made man

    4. Christy Walton

    Part of the Walton Family dynasty, Sam Walton started Wal-Mart

    5. Charles Koch

    Inherited a Medium Sized Oil Company

    6. David Koch

    Part of the same family as #5

    7. Jim Walton

    Related to #4, youngest son

    8. Alice Walton

    Related to #4

    9. Robert Walton

    Couldn't find any specific information but I'm guess related to #4

    10. Michael Bloomberg

    Seems to be a largely self-made man.

    While I understand you are trying to make the point that the current list of very rich people do not trace their wealth going back centuries as the GP suggests, 8 out of the top 10 do all seemed to have had a pretty good start in life who then either continued to live off the original legacy or used that privileged start as the base to build further wealth on.

    Note, I'm not saying that building that wealth didn't take skill to put them into the positions they are in now, I do feel the GGP point that alot of the wealth created comes from luck and being in the right place at the right time (either though birth or being getting into the right business at the right time).

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351