Audit Notes: Murdoch’s Hacking Scandal, Chipotle Not Apple

Murdoch’s hacking scandal deepened this weekend with the arrests of several senior journalists at another News Corporation paper—The Sun— in a police-bribes investigation.

The New York Times has a pretty good story focusing on the email that may bring down James Murdoch. News Corp. deleted the email, but a printout was found in the News of the World offices.

But I’d question letting News Corp. go on background with this (emphasis mine):

Last summer, senior News International officials said that in that crucial period in 2008, Mr. Murdoch had neither been told about nor shown documentation of the extent of the illegality at The News of the World. ‘The discovery of the e-mail, said one former official with knowledge of the situation, was completely unexpected.

Why let them spin this anonymously, particularly when the coverup has been so apparent for so long?

— Meantime, I was interested in this paragraph in the Times story, which tells us a bit about how News Corp.’s internal investigation is now being conducted:

Dozens of people — lawyers, forensic accountants, forensic computer technicians and, sometimes, police officers — gather daily at a site in Thomas More Square here, where News International is based, searching through 300 million e-mails and other documents stretching back a decade.

Reuters expands on that today:

The Management and Standards Committee was set up at the height of the furore over phone hacking and was designed to rescue the company’s reputation. However to some, it has become part of the problem as Murdoch now has little control.

The small committee is working alongside up to 100 personnel from top London law firms as well as forensic advisers and computer experts searching through more than 300 million emails, expense claims, phone records and other documents.

Some 15 or 20 police officers are actually embedded with the cleanup team and the committee is often asked to conduct specific searches and pass information back to the police…

It also redacts any sensitive information to prevent police from learning the identities of confidential sources. Despite this, fears have grown that well placed sources will no longer want to talk to the Sun and Times journalists.

— Slate’s Matthew Yglesias tells us that “Chipotle Is Apple. The burrito chain is revolutionizing food: Why doesn’t it get more respect?”


In many ways, the Chipotle burrito is very similar to the iPhone.

How’s that?

Founder Steve Ells invented a way to maintain the basic speed and experience of the standard fast-food experience and make the quality of the food a little better.* The better food costs a bit more money, but consumers turn out to be happy to pay a premium for a superior product.

So Chipotle is Apple and its burritos are very similar to iPhones because they taste better than a 99-cent Beefy Crunch Burrito with Flamin’ Hot Fritos?

A Chipotle burrito, sous vide and all, is still a burrito, not a “revolution.”

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , ,