Parliament Members Say Rupert Murdoch Isn't Fit to Run His Own Company

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Update 2:00 p.m. News Corp. has released a statement and, unsurprisingly, they disagree with some of the MPs' conclusions... Here's the relevant bit of protest:


News Corporation regrets, however, that the Select Committee’s analysis of the factual record was followed by some commentary that we, and indeed several members of the committee, consider unjustified and highly partisan. These remarks divided the members along party lines.

TPM has the full statement.

Original post: A British parliamentary committee has released its report about the News Corp. phone hacking scandal and has laid the blame for the mess squarely at the feet of company leader Rupert Murdoch. The report says that Murdoch showed a "willful blindness" to the problems in his own empire and that he "is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company." The Culture, Media and Sport committee was the same one Murdoch was testifying before last year when he was attacked by a rogue pie thrower.

The conclusion of the Members of Parliament is that Murdoch either knew the phone hacking was going on and did nothing about it, or that he has no clue what people in his own company were up to and that neither option should be acceptable for a CEO. Once Murdoch did find out he should have done something about it, but chose to cover up the wrongdoing instead.

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The committee also questioned Murdoch's honesty in front of the committee, saying he "demonstrated excellent powers of recall and grasp of detail, when it has suited him," and that later assertions about forgetting key dates were "barely credible."  The final report (which can you read in full here) states the News Corp officials and other witnesses "demonstrated contempt for that system in the most blatant fashion" and "the companies’ directors—including Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch—should ultimately be prepared to take responsibility."

The committee report does not have a direct bearing on the many other criminal investigations still going on, and it would take the full House of Commons to bring any formal charges against Murdoch or the company. However, the judgement on Murdoch's fitness could have a direct impact on the fortunes of News Corp since the company he is apparently not cut out to manage also has controlling stakes in other broadcasting outfits like the major satellite distributor, BSkyB.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.