Audit notes

Murdoch Mauled by MPs Edition

Rupert Murdoch wasn’t the only “not fit” executive seared by the select committee’s report on News Corporation scandals today.

The MPs found, unsurprisingly, that Les Hinton, while he was publisher of The Wall Street Journal and CEO of Dow Jones, lied to Parliament about his previous role at News International. The report accuses Hinton of “a deliberate effort to mislead the committee” and he could be cited for contempt.

Here are some quotes from the report:

…Les Hinton misled the Committee in 2009 regarding the extent of the pay-off to Clive Goodman and his own role in making it happen… Les Hinton was complicit in the cover-up at News International, which included making misleading statements and giving a misleading picture to this Committee… Les Hinton’s unwillingness to be explicit over the payment of legal fees was a deliberate effort to mislead the Committee over News International’s payments to Clive Goodman after he was charged and convicted

Take yet another bow, Bancrofts.

— The committee also determined that then-News of the World editor Colin Myler lied to it

… Tom Crone and Colin Myler misled the Committee by answering questions falsely about their knowledge of evidence that other News of the World employees had been involved in phone-hacking and other wrongdoing…

Myler is now editor of the New York Daily News, hired by Mort Zuckerman a few months ago despite being in the thick of the hacking mess. The New York Times (emphasis mine):

Mortimer B. Zuckerman, the owner of The Daily News, said in an interview on Tuesday that he had “total confidence” in Mr. Myler and indicated that subsequent information would clear him. “It’s not the only report that will be out,” Mr. Zuckerman said, declining to be more specific.

How to cover the report was a ticklish question for Mr. Myler. The panel also concluded that Mr. Murdoch was “not fit” to run his company, something that would ordinarily be delicious fodder for The Daily News. But with Mr. Myler caught up in the story, nothing was published on its Web site on Tuesday.

Take a bow, Mort.

Also, I love how tabloid hacks clam up when the tabled are turned on them.

— Unlike the Daily News, and to their credit, Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and The Times of London prominently displayed the report’s conclusions all day on their websites.

As of midnight, it’s the top story on The Wall Street Journal’s site. The weak headline (“News Corp. Chastised”) is balanced by a subheadline that says:

A report by a U.K. parliamentary committee examining the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal concluded that lawmakers were misled, and said that Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run a major company.

The Times originally had a headline across the top of its site that said:

Murdoch ‘is not fit to run big company’

Foster Kamer notes it was later toned down to:

MPs split over ‘Murdoch unfit’ verdict

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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: , , , ,