July 5, 2013

Rupert Murdoch's mega-ship has been navigating through very choppy waters of late after the News Of The Day phone hacking scandal came to light, and so far, it's the journalists that have been employed by News Corp. that have paid the price so far. So Rupert gave a talk in a closed meeting with Sun reporters to reassure them and vent against the police who he feels are incompetent fools. Unfortunately for him, many are upset at being made into scapegoats and a disgruntled employ secretly tape recorded a 45 minute session where Murdoch reveal how he feels about the whole scandal.

ExaroNews a British investigative web site, has just published the full transcript of a secretly recorded meeting between media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the staff of The Sun, a U.K. tabloid owned by News Corp., in which Murdoch admitted that he was aware for decades that journalists from his newspapers had been bribing both police and public officials.

According to the site (which is behind a paywall), the meeting took place in a boardroom at The Sun's headquarters in East London with Murdoch at the head of the table. Present were nearly two dozen executives and reporters from The Sun, who had been arrested on allegations of illegal newsgathering practices.

In the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that shut down the News of the World—the Sun'ssister titleNews Corp. established a management and standards committee (MSC) with the assistance of Linklaters, a law firm, in order to gather any evidence of purported wrongdoing on the part of its reporters and hand it over to the police.The Sun staffers were irate over Murdoch's decision to supply mass internal communications to the police "that had betrayed confidential sources, some of whom were public officials who received no payment for information," reports ExaroNews.The journalists felt that News Corp. had turned them into "scapegoats." It was with that mindset that some entered the room with hidden digital recorders

To me the big take away is that Rupert Murdoch has been bribing powerful people for decades and loves doing it.

It's at this point that Murdoch acknowledges that illegal newsgathering practices were a long-standing part of the culture (emphasis added):

I guarantee you that [medical support] will continue. And I will do everything in my power to give you total support, even if you’re convicted and get six months or whatever. I think it’s just outrageous, but—and I don’t know of anybody, or anything, that did anything that wasn’t being done across Fleet Street and wasn’t the culture. And we’re being picked on. I think that it was the old right-wing establishment, [Lord] Puttnam, or worse, the left-wing get-even crowd of Gordon Brown. There was a sort of—we got caught with dirty hands, I guess, with the News of the World, and everybody piled in. It was a get-even time for things that were done with The Sun over the last 40 years, 38 years, whatever it is.

He went further, specifically acknowledging he had long been aware of the News of the World's routine practice of lining the pockets of cops for information:

RM: We’re talking about payments for news tips from cops: that’s been going on a hundred years, absolutely. You didn’t instigate it....I remember when I first bought the News of the World, the first day I went to the office… and there was a big wall-safe… And I said, "What’s that for?"

And they said, "We keep some cash in there."

And I said, "What for?"

They said, "Well, sometimes the editor needs some on a Saturday night for powerful friends. And sometimes the chairman [the late Sir William Carr] is doing badly at the tables, (laughter) and he helps himself…"

Throughout the meeting, Murdoch tried to shift blame to officials: "But why are the police behaving in this way? It’s the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing." Murdoch also promised revenge.

It's amazing that RM believes the News Corp. phone hacking scandal is 'nothing.' There should be a cold, dank cell with Rupert's name engraved on the iron bars for his behavior. Will justice be done?

Check out these links for a ton of coverage on the phone-hacking scandal.

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