Join the GOOGLE +Rubber Room Community

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Breaking News: Murdoch Puts An End To News Of The World After Hacking Allegations Go Viral

I guess Joel wont be working on "resolving" the hacking story after all.

Rupert Murdoch
Betsy Combier

July 7, 2011
Murdoch to Close Tabloid Amid Fury Over Hacking

LONDON — The media titan Rupert Murdoch sought to stanch damage from a deepening phone hacking scandal Thursday by sacrificing the mass-circulation British tabloid The News of the World in a bid to protect his News Corporation empire. . The saga turned yet more disturbing Thursday on suggestions that targets included not only a 13-year-old murder victim but also relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the paper had also paid tens of thousands of dollars in police bribes for information. The scandal had been taking a toll on the News Corporation, with stock prices falling, some advertisers fleeing The News of the World, and new doubts emerging about Mr. Murdoch’s proposed $12 billion takeover of the pay-television company British Sky Broadcasting, in which he already owns a large stake. Many legislators have now criticized the deal and any government decision appears unlikely to be made before the end of the summer.

The Times of London, itself a News Corporation newspaper, said five journalists and the newspaper executives suspected of involvement in the scandal were expected to be arrested within days.

The move to close The News of the World was also seen by media analysts as a potentially shrewd decision to jettison a newspaper where revenues had been declining in order to preserve the more lucrative broadcasting deal and possibly expand its other tabloid, The Sun, to publish seven days a week.

The announcement came from Mr. Murdoch’s son and likely heir apparent, James, in a broad and apologetic statement delivered so suddenly that The News of the World was still advertising a subscription deal on its Web site.

“Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued,” he said, admitting that the paper and its British parent, News International, had “failed to get to the bottom of repeated wrongdoing that occurred without conscience or legitimate purpose,” despite a police investigation in 2006 that sent two men to jail.

As a result, he said, the paper and company “wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter. We have now voluntarily given evidence to the police that I believe will prove that this was untrue and those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences.” The announcement raised immediate speculation that The Sun, another News International paper, might begin publishing on Sundays. Company executives had discussed earlier this year whether to merge some of the two papers’ operations as a way to save money, and the domain name was registered on Tuesday.

When asked about the possibility, a News International spokeswoman said, “There is no comment beyond the statement today which does not mention any future plans.” Other Murdoch holdings in Britain include The Sunday Times of London and SkyNews.

In an on-camera interview with the BBC, James Murdoch said the paper was being shut down because “we fundamentally breached a trust with our readers.” He defended News International’s embattled chief, Rebekah Brooks, saying he was convinced that her leadership was “the right thing” for the company and “absolutely crucial right now.”

On Wednesday, Rupert Murdoch made his first direct public comment on the phone hacking scandal, fiercely defending Ms. Brooks from accusations over serious phone hacking cases while she was editor at The News of the World and saying the company would continue cooperating with the police “under Rebekah Brooks’s leadership.”

The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Ed Miliband, told the BBC that the closing of the paper was a defensive move on the part of News International, “a concession to members of the public up and down the country who have been appalled by what has happened.” But he said that only Ms. Brooks’s resignation would show that the organization was taking responsibility for its actions.

“Some people are losing their jobs, but one person who is keeping her job is the person who was editor of The News of the World at the time of the Milly Dowler episode,” Mr. Miliband said, referring to the case of the 13-year-old murder victim. On Monday, lawyers for her family said the paper hacked her phone after she was abducted in 2002, deleting some messages to make room for more in a move that confused police investigators and created false hope that she might still be alive. Her killer remained at large for years, killing two more young women before being captured, and was convicted in all three deaths; the verdict in Ms. Dowler’s case came only last month.

Ms. Brooks was the paper’s editor during the Dowler case, and was promoted from there to The Sun before taking over News International.

On Wednesday, a member of Parliament also raised allegations that nine years ago, The News of the World had participated in efforts to disrupt a murder investigation, as the members collectively turned on Mr. Murdoch, t tabloid culture he represents, using a debate about the widening phone hacking scandal to denounce reporting tactics by newspapers once seen as too politically influential to challenge.

In the statement on the decision to close the paper, James Murdoch said that the paper’s proud 168-year history had been “sullied by behavior that was wrong,” adding, “indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company.”

He explained the out-of-court settlements he had approved to people affected by the phone hacking as having been made without a “complete picture.” “This was wrong and is a matter of serious regret,” he said.

The final edition of the newspaper, he said, would include no advertising, except those for causes and charities “that wish to expose their good works to our millions of readers.”

Furthermore, the circulation revenue for the final edition will “go to good causes,” he said.

The office of Prime Minister David Cameron, whose Conservative Party benefits from Mr. Murdoch’s support, said it had nothing to do with the decision to close the paper.

Reporters and editors at The News of the World said they learned of the closing abruptly via an e-mail from James Murdoch and an announcement in the newsroom from Ms. Brooks.

They said they felt that they had been made scapegoats for events that had happened before they worked at the paper, and that they had been sacrificed to save the job of Ms. Brooks, a favorite of Mr. Murdoch.

“The staff at The News of the World have lost their jobs to save one person and her £2.5 million job,” said one reporter at the paper, referring to Ms. Brooks. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to harm future job prospects.

“If she had gone at the start of the week, we’d all still be employed,” the reporter said. “I hope she’s worth it for Rupert.”

On Wednesday, a Labour member of Parliament made another startling assertion: that while Ms. Brooks was the News of the World editor, she was confronted with evidence that the paper was using unlawful means to interrupt a murder investigation whose two main suspects had ties to the paper.

The member, Tom Watson, said that senior Scotland Yard officials met with Ms. Brooks in 2002 to alert her of evidence that members of her staff were “guilty of interference and party to using unlawful means to attempt to discredit a police officer and his wife,” so that the officer would be unable to complete a murder investigation. Mr. Watson said the police officials named a senior News of the World executive, Alex Muranchak.

On Thursday, The Guardian reported that Mr. Muranchak had apparently agreed to allow the two murder suspects in the case to use photographers and vans leased to the paper to spy on Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook, the lead detective.

The two men, private investigators named Jonathan Rees and Sid Fillery, were suspected of murdering their former partner, Daniel Morgan, who had been killed 15 years earlier. Their singling out of Mr. Cook included following him, his wife, and their children, trying to gain access to his and his wife’s voice mail and obtaining personal details about him from police databases.

Those details were found in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire, an investigator working for The News of the World whose notebooks were seized by the police and have formed the basis for much of the current criminal investigation into phone hacking.

The Guardian reported that Scotland Yard took no action against The News of the World in the case, because its head of media relations, Dick Fedorcio, had a good relationship with Ms. Brooks and wanted “to avoid unnecessary friction with The News of the World.”

On Thursday, after The Daily Telegraph said a private detective working for The News of the World may have hacked into the phones of bereaved families after they were informed of the death of relatives serving with the British Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Royal British Legion, a veterans’ organization, said that it had dropped the newspaper as its partner in a campaign for improved service conditions. The group said that “bereaved military families expressed revulsion at the latest phone hacking revelations.”

“We can’t with any conscience campaign alongside News of the World on behalf of Armed Forces families while it stands accused of preying on these same families in the lowest depths of their misery,” the group said on its Web site. “The hacking allegations have shocked us to the core.”

Sarah Lyall reported from London, and Brian Stelter from New York. Reporting was contributed by Alan Cowell from Paris, Eric Pfanner and Ravi Somaiya from London, and Jeremy W. Peters from New York.

Joel Klein Appointed The Point Man To End Hacking At News Corp.

I agree with Dennis Wolcott's statement below that was published in the New York Times:

Dennis M. Walcott, New York City’s current schools chancellor, noted that Mr. Klein had “navigated very difficult issues” throughout his career.
“Joel,” he said, “can handle anything.”

Oh yes he can.....because he ignores all protests, is rude and insulting to anyone who gets in his way, and gets rid of all blocks to his goals. Linda Tripp testified that she was afraid of only one person who worked with her in the Clinton administration, a man with the name Joel Klein. Mr. Klein took over for Vincent Foster after Foster killed himself (or was killed).

Good luck, Mr. Murdoch.

Betsy Combier

Thursday, July 07, 2011
His Area of Expertise
NYC Educator

Joel Klein, who blithely observed scandal upon scandal for Mayor Bloomberg, has been tapped by Rupert Murdoch to oversee his own scandal. It's about time we saw Klein utilized for something he actually knows about. Wasn't it Klein who oversaw his no-bid contracts result in children freezing on street corners, while waiting for buses that never came? And didn't Klein tirelessly plug the achievements on state tests that proved to be nothing whatsoever after revelations in 2010 that they'd been dumbed down?

Joel Klein brought accountability to students, making sure they could pass tests before graduation. Diana Senechal took one of these tests, marked A, B, C, D in a pattern without reading the answers, and passed. Klein bravely fought to fire teachers, as nothing that occurred under his tenure was ever his fault. He presided over the closure of almost every high school in the Bronx, contending they were failures. None, of course, were failures on his part. That's what Klein called "accountability."

Klein spent years at the job, dispensing favored treatment to people like Eva Moskowitz, and setting up a two-tier system that ensured Eva's students were better treated than the overwhelming majority of kids attending city schools. He took almost a billion dollars to reduce class sizes, and through innovative management techniques, managed to make them go up just about everywhere.

So, if a scandal's brewing, Klein's your guy, Rupert. He's seen scandal from just about every angle there is. Only one thing, though--making things better for Rupert Murdoch is not necessarily the same as problem-solving. Klein's image was in the toilet when he resigned. I'm not remotely certain he's the guy to rehabilitate the image of a propaganda king.

Peter Hutchison

July 6, 2011, 7:39 pm
Joel I. Klein, Former Schools Chancellor, to Tackle Hacking Case
He did battle with the powerful New York City teachers union. He stood down placard-wielding protestors at meetings of the Panel for Educational Policy. For more than eight years, he closed schools, opened schools and otherwise tried to transform the nation’s largest school system.

Now Joel I. Klein, who left his post as the city’s schools chancellor in December, has been given a task by one of the world’s most powerful media moguls: helping to oversee one of the seamier media scandals in recent memory.

After stepping down from the chancellorship, Mr. Klein, 64, took a job with the News Corporation, one of the world’s largest media conglomerates, as chief executive of the education division and as executive vice president in the office of the company’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch.

Now, amid allegations that a British tabloid owned by the News Corporation, News of the World, hacked the cellphone of a murdered 13-year-old girl nine years ago, Mr. Murdoch has announced the appointment of Mr. Klein to “provide important oversight and guidance” in investigating the matter. Mr. Klein is also to be partially responsible for “keeping News Corporation’s board fully advised,” Mr. Murdoch said in a prepared statement.

“We are committed to addressing these issues fully and have taken a number of important steps to prevent them from happening again,” Mr. Murdoch’s statement read.

In a brief telephone interview on Wednesday, Mr. Klein said he was “not in charge” of handling the investigation, but he declined to elaborate on the specifics of his role. “It’s just what it said in our release today: I’m providing counsel and advice to the company,” he said.

Asked whether his experience running New York City schools would inform his efforts in this particular challenge, he said, “I think my whole life’s experience will bear on this.”

Before Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg named him schools chancellor, Mr. Klein was known as one of the brightest legal minds in the country; he worked as a lawyer in Washington for nearly three decades. At the Justice Department, he served as the assistant attorney general in charge of antitrust enforcement, leading the prosecution of Microsoft. He also spent two years as deputy White House counsel during the Clinton administration and was the chairman and chief executive of Bertelsmann, a multinational media corporation.

Mr. Klein was a “very wise choice” for the role, said Chris Cerf, who has known Mr. Klein since 1986 and served under him as a deputy schools chancellor.

“He’s been in the cauldron for a good stretch of his career, so it’s more than an abstract issue for him,” said Mr. Cerf, who is now acting commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education. “It’s something he knows a great deal about in a personal way.”

Kathryn S. Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, a business group, said she had often had dealings with Mr. Klein and that his experience at the Education Department “established his ability to take on a difficult challenge in a straightforward, honest way, and enhanced the credibility that he established during his years in Washington as a defender of the public interest.

“He’s a smart guy, he’s a sharp lawyer, he’s got credentials from years in public service, and it makes him an appropriate person” to help make the News Corporation’s case, she said.

Dennis M. Walcott, New York City’s current schools chancellor, noted that Mr. Klein had “navigated very difficult issues” throughout his career.

“Joel,” he said, “can handle anything.”