Murdoch Testifies That Phone Hacking Is "A Lazy Way" To Do Journalism


The investigation by the British government into phone hacking by News Corp. prompted an appearance by Rupert Murdoch today at a parliamentary hearing into the matter.

Despite the widespread phone hacking from the Murdoch-owned News of the World, he testified that "I don't believe in using hacking, in using private detectives or whatever, that's a lazy way of reporters not doing their job. But I think it is fair when people have themselves held up as iconic figures or great actors that they be looked at."

Bloomberg recently reported that there were likely over 1,000 victims of the News of the World's phone hacking.

In additional testimony Murdoch sought to downplay his involvement in British politics. From The New York Times:

The government's lead attorney for the inquiry, Robert Jay, pursued a chronological line of questioning beginning with Mr. Murdoch's entry into the British newspaper market in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Much of the questioning centered on meetings with British political leaders and the pledges Mr. Murdoch had made not to influence his newspapers' editorial policies.

He acknowledged meetings, dinners and shared quips with a series of prime ministers, but sought to dismiss suggestions that he wielded any influence.

"I don't know many politicians," he said, on one of many occasions when he denied accusations from Mr. Jay that his newspapers supported politicians whose policies might offer him some commercial benefit. As to suggestions that his power might be more subtle than such obvious exchanges, he responded, "I'm afraid I don't have much subtlety about me."

As Murdoch was testifying, an aide to British culture secretary Jeremy Hunt submitted his resignation after the revelation yesterday of close communications between Hunt's office and James Murdoch.

The emails showed that News Corp. and representatives of the British government were discussing government approval of the media company's purchase of satellite TV network BSkyB.

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