U.K. regulators have opened an investigation into Sky News ahead of testimony from both Rupert and James Murdoch in the Leveson inquiry. Monday's announcement of an investigation into Sky News is basically a formality as the news channel already admitted to hacking emails.
But it looks like a strategically timed formality designed to put Sky News on the table for discussion when James Murdoch (who stepped down as head of BSkyB earlier this month) appears before the inquiry on Tuesday. On Monday, Sky head of news John Ryley acknowledged that the station had hacked computers twice to get stories, and he wouldn't rule it out entirely in the future. “I am pretty much ruling it out,” Ryley said, according to an Associated Press report. “There might be an occasion, but it would be very, very rare.”
That revelation is probably going to embarrass James Murdoch on Tuesday, but the larger question for Britons is whether James and Rupert Murdoch are going to embarrass politicians, as their testimony is set to focus mainly on the relationships of those in power with News International properties. An Associated Press report Sunday put into context the Murdochs' ties with the powerful, noting that Rupert Murdoch had once joked of UK prime ministers, "I wish they would leave me alone." They won't.
Instead of currying favor, those in power have now put Murdoch on the spot as the public sentiment turns against him. "Once eager to secure Rupert Murdoch’s blessing, [Prime Minister David] Cameron has since ordered the official inquiry which is calling him and his son in for at least two full days of testimony starting Tuesday," the AP reported. And with his UK operation already being scrutinized by law enforcement, Murdoch will have little to lose by bringing a few politicians down with him.