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article imageRupert Murdoch admits phone-hacking 'cover up'

By Yukio Strachan     Apr 27, 2012 in Crime
Rupert Murdoch took the stand Thursday, where he admitted to the phone-hacking cover up but blamed 'one or two very strong characters' for shielding him from what was going on.
"The buck stops with me," Murdoch said, according to the LA Times. "I failed. And I'm very sorry about that.... It's going to be a blot on my reputation for the rest of my life."
Had he known the extent of hacking by the News of the World tabloid, had he known that journalists illegally hacked into murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's, then deleted them, leading her parents to hope, falsely, that she was alive, he would have "torn the place apart, and we wouldn't be here today," Murdoch said, in his second day of testimony during a British inquiry into media ethics, which was spawned by the hacking scandal, that has rocked Murdoch’s U.K. media empire.
Murdoch: victim
Murdoch’s questioner, Robert Jay, asked where the culture of cover-up had originated, Murdoch answered: "I think from within the News of the World.
Murdoch,81, blamed "one or two" senior figures at the fallen Sunday tabloid for "taking charge" of hiding evidence of wrong-doing and for misleading him, The Independent reported.
He added: "There were one or two very strong characters there who I think had been there many, many years and were friends of the journalists.
"The person I am thinking of was a friend of the journalists, drinking pal, and was a clever lawyer and forbade them to go and see the evidence, or there have been statements reporting that this person forbade people to go and report to Mrs Brooks or James (Murdoch)."
Immediately after Murdoch's appearance, Tom Crone, the News of the World's former long-term in-house lawyer, fired off a public statement volunteering that he was one of the persons Murdoch was "thinking of", according to the Wall Street Journal.
Murdoch "could only" be referring to him, Crone said.
"His assertion that I 'took charge of a cover-up' in relation to phone-hacking is a shameful lie.
"The same applies to his assertions that I misinformed senior executives about what was going on and that I forbade people from reporting to Rebekah Brooks or to James Murdoch," he said, according to The Independent.
Crone added: “It is perhaps no coincidence that the two people he has identified in relation to his cover-up allegations are the same two people who pointed out that his son’s evidence to the parliamentary select committee last year was inaccurate.”
"He doesn't get it."
In 2008, the News of The World ran a story saying that the chief of Formula One, Max Mosley, had engaged in sex orgies with a Nazi theme. Mosley sued for invasion of privacy and won—a rare victory here. The judge said a reporter had engaged in “blackmail,” telling one of the women that if she gave the full story, a picture of her would not appear in the paper, The Daily Beast reported.
Lord Justice Leveson asked Murdoch whether it had been acceptable for the News of the World to blackmail women who had taken part in an orgy, to make them tell their stories, he gave a interesting answer.
"A journalist doing a favor for someone in returning for a favor back is pretty much everyday practice," he said. "It's a common thing in life, way beyond journalism, for people to say: 'I'll scratch your back if you scratch my back.'"
Neil Chenoweth, an Australian journalist who has spent more than two decades investigating Murdoch and has written two books about him, said: "He doesn't get it," Reuters reported.
"If he doesn't understand that simple point, all his assurances about never acting improperly begin to fray at the edges, because it raises questions about whether he really understands what behaving properly is."
Murdoch's News Corp owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and 20th Century Fox film studio, among others, and is one of the largest media conglomerates in the world.
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