Rupert Murdoch Apologizes, Claims He Was Victim to Cover Up
(LONDON) -- “All I can do is apologize,” Rupert Murdoch said Thursday as he conceded he could have done more to stop the hacking scandal that has engulfed his media empire and destroyed so many careers.
During Britain’s media ethics inquiry Thursday morning, Murdoch claimed he and his son were the victims of a cover up about the extent of phone hacking at their now-shuttered London tabloid the News of the World.
But he also pleaded ignorance.
“The senior executives were all misinformed, and shielded from anything that was going on there,” Murdoch told the inquiry. “I do blame one or two people for who perhaps I shouldn’t name, because for all I know they may be arrested yet. But there’s no question in my mind that maybe even the editor, but certainly beyond that, someone took charge of a cover-up, which we were victim to and I regret.”
Although he wouldn’t say who the two are, he referred to a “clever lawyer” who was friends with journalists connected to the hacking.
“This person forbade them to go to (News International chief executive) Mrs. [Rebekah] Brooks or (Murdoch’s son) James,” he testified.
There was a flash of anger at the commission counsel, James Jay, when he insinuated that Murdoch was part of the cover up. Murdoch apologized, “I take that back,” and reached out his hand to Jay.
He went on to offer contrition.
“I am guilty of not paying enough attention to what was going on at the News of the World” Murdoch said. “All I can do is apologize to a lot of people -- including all the innocent people at the News of the World who lost their jobs.”
There was also tough questioning from inquiry chair Lord Justice Leveson, who asked Murdoch if he “really did try to understand what was going on, or you felt you didn’t really feel the need to understand what was going on, it’s over, move on?”
Murdoch answered, “I have to admit that some newspapers are closer to my heart. I also have to say that I failed. And I am very sorry about it.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio