Murdochs Apologize for Hacking Scandal, Deflect Blame

After essentially being forced to appear before Parliament to answer questions about the <"">News Corp. hacking scandal, James Murdoch, son of newspaper baron, Rupert, started proceedings by issuing an apology to Parliament’s Culture, Media, and Sports Committee. MSNBC quoted James Murdoch stating: “This is a matter of great regret, mine, my father’s, and everyone at the News Corporation…. These actions do not live up the standards our company aspires to.” James is joined by his father Rupert, regarding the News Corp phone hacking scandal. Rebekah Brooks, the now-former CEO of News International, the UK’s newspaper unit. Brooks will be questioned separately about the scandal.

The continuing scandal with Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp., has involved a number of arrests, resignations, and an apparent six years of cover-up. MSNBC previously estimated that about 4,000 phones are involved in the global hacking scandal that dates as far back as 2005.

Brooks resigned and was arrested; Metropolitan Police Commissioner—the head of Scotland Yard—Paul Stephenson (Sir Paul), also announced his resignation; Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor hired by Cameron as a public relations advisor, resigned and was arrested; Neil Wallis, another police consultant and former News of the World editor, was arrested; and Les Hinton, a former head of Murdoch’s UK newspaper business, resigned as chief executive of Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, said MSNBC. Of note, Wallis worked for the police at a chic spa where Sir Paul was accused of staying.

Now, Parliamentary questioning is underway and tensions appear to be high with one onlooker attempting to throw a shaving cream pie at the elder Murdoch, whose wife attempted to hit the attacker on the head, said MSNBC.

When asked about who was responsible for the hacking scandal, Rupert Murdoch deflected blame saying, “The people that I trusted to run it, and then maybe the people they trusted,” MSNBC quoted him as saying. Murdoch, who, according to MSNBC, appeared confused at times, also said that “The News of the World is less than 1 percent of our company. We employ 53,000 people around the world who are ethical.”

MSNBC noted that both Murdochs appeared to be out of touch with News of the World activities and that Rupert Murdoch stated that he “very seldom” spoke with the News of the World editor.

Meanwhile, in a chilling twist, one of the initial journalists to come forward about the phone hacking scandal was found dead yesterday in his home in Watford, Hertfordshire. Sean Hoare, who previously worked at News of the World, is the whistleblower who accused Coulson of encouraging phone hacking, said CNN.

Hoare, who allowed his name to be used, also said the paper practiced “pinging,” a practice only permitted to be used by law enforcement officials, to track locations via mobile phones, said CNN. Hoare’s death is being treated as unexplained, but had not yet been deemed suspicious.

Hoare, who had previously been a close friend of Coulson’s described how he had hacked into celebrity phones, including those of David and Victoria Beckham and how he was encouraged by Coulson to actively pursue these leads.

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