Nobody’s buying it, and it doesn’t help News Corp. to attack some of the report’s conclusions as “unjustified and highly partisan” (the tripartisan vote for the report was 7-3). If the culture of any company is set from the top, as they almost all are, it’s News Corporation’s. As I wrote last summer, “its entire reason for being is to reflect, imitate, and amplify Murdoch himself.” Harold Evans put it better three decades ago when he called Murdoch a Sun King, someone who rules a company “where policy derives from how the leader is perceived by others rather than by instructions or traditions.”
The glib denials that have served him so well for so many years aren’t working anymore—not with all we now know. This is someone who testified last week that “I’ve never asked a prime minister for anything.” This is someone who puts forward the idea that his company’s own internal investigation is legit and pretends that he doesn’t have a well documented history of manipulating these puppet panels.
The denials and obfuscations would be pathological if they weren’t so transparently the result of conscious decisions. Rupert Murdoch is in survivor mode, and with defenses like these, he’s in more trouble than we thought. And more is yet to come.