In 2011, media mogul Rupert Murdoch appeared at a hearing of the British Parliament, as part of an extensive inquiry into a phone-hacking/bribery scandal, which was quite a spectacle. At the time, you may recall, Murdoch denied any direct involvement, but agreed with officials that the allegations were serious.
Late last week, the story took a rather dramatic turn – Murdoch talked behind closed doors to Sun journalists, one of whom secretly recorded him, and among other things, conceded that his reporters paid the police for information. This time, he characterized the allegations as meaningless.
British officials apparently noticed and would like to chat about it again.
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has been recalled to the U.K. parliament to clarify evidence he gave about alleged crimes by his journalists following the emergence of a secret tape in which he appeared to belittle the police inquiry.
Murdoch, the head of News Corp., told lawmakers in July 2011 that he was “shocked, appalled and shamed” by the revelations of phone hacking and illegal payments to public officials that prompted him to close his prized News of the World tabloid two years ago. “This is the most humble day of my life,” he told the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
But it emerged last week that during a private meeting with journalists on sister paper The Sun – shortly before he gave evidence to parliament – he was secretly recorded railing against the police inquiry.
“The committee has voted to ask him to reappear in light of the comments he made to News International staff,” John Whittingdale, the committee’s chairman, told Reuters.
Note, in the secretly recorded discussion with his employees, one journalist is heard saying, “It would be nice to hit back when we can,” to which Murdoch says, “We will.”
Eric Boehlert added, “Like a boomerang from his Australian youth, the phone hacking and bribery scandal that Rupert Murdoch’s been trying to outrun for two years keeps coming back to him.”