Rupert's UK TV broadcasting license is still in peril, as the regulatory agency Ofcom today stepped up its "fit and proper" test of BskyB (Newscorp.'s UK Satellite TV broadcaster). From the Daily Mail:
Since last summer, (Ofcom) has been looking at all the publicly available material relating to the scandal, including parliamentary select committee evidence and newspaper reports.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...
Now it has moved from a ‘monitoring phase’ to an ‘evidence-gathering phase’ and called for documents not in the public domain as it accelerates the investigation. Ofcom has asked Mr Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers – publisher of the Sun and now-defunct News of the World – to provide it with documents in relation to the civil actions the company faces in the courts.
Ofcom has said it does not have to wait until the end of any criminal investigation, nor is it necessary for any individual to be convicted for it to reach a conclusion.
The regulator also made it clear that James Murdoch's resignation from BskyB did not protect them from being deemed unfit and/or improper. The agency said they would be taking into consideration all "controlling directors and shareholders", among whom James can still count himself -- He is currently a senior executive at Newscorp. headquarters in New York City.
If Ofcom rules against BskyB, Rupert will have to sell his 39% stake in the company. (h/t petulans)
In other FOTHOM news, The New Yorker Magazine published a devastating piece in today's online edition. Its title: The Murdoch Contagion. An excerpt:
Time was, knowing a Murdoch was a sort of golden ticket. A person who penetrated the perimeter of the family—befriending Rupert, or Wendi, or James, or Lachlan, or Elisabeth, or her husband, the public relations executive Matthew Freud—could hope to benefit from the support of the clan and its network of newspapers, television stations, publishing companies, and P.R. shops. Career advancement and social prestige were among the vicarious benefits of a Murdoch friendship or acquaintanceship. One could, presumably, learn the Murdoch way of doing business, and have one’s own efforts publicized. The family’s jets and yachts were helpful, too. Rupert Murdoch, appearing for the second day before the Leveson Inquiry yesterday (his testimony continues today), recalled that, in August, 2008, the future Prime Minister David Cameron travelled to the Greek island of Santorini, where members of the family had gathered on Elisabeth’s yacht. “He was being flown by my son in law’s [Matthew Freud’s] plane on his way to holiday in Turkey and he stopped in Santorini,” Murdoch said. “Politicians go out of their way to impress people in the press and I don’t remember discussing any political things with him at all. There may have been some issues discussed, possibly, but it wasn’t a very long meeting and I don’t really remember the meeting.” Must have been the ouzo, then.Ooh, ooh - I have a guess! ;P
These days, knowing a Murdoch is more pink slip than golden ticket. The body count of fired or discredited former intimates, colleagues, and retainers continues to rise: Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks, Tom Crone, Colin Myler, Les Hinton. (Yesterday, Rupert Murdoch characterized his former friend the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown as “unbalanced.”) An epidemiological approach beckons here. Why were so many of Murdoch’s chief employees unethical or untrustworthy? Were such traits a prerequisite in hiring at News Corp., or were they transmitted over morning swims and lunches at Wapping? Who was the Patient Zero of the Murdoch contagion?
UPDATE 1: From the comments, our invaluable Murdoch Investigator™ ceebs has this:
an article worth reading:
Will Rupert and James Murdoch topple David Cameron? - Telegraph
Rupert Murdoch presented an impression of almost otherworldly innocence in Court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice: harmless, cuddly, a bit forgetful for sure, but nevertheless a man of definite integrity.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/...
It was a charming event in its way. But watching this Oxford-educated showman, perhaps appearing for the final time on a public stage, it was easy to forget one important truth. The newspapers Mr Murdoch owns are under investigation for a number of crimes that include bribery, perversion of the course of justice, destruction of evidence, interception of emails, phone hacking and perjury.
No fewer than 16 of his editors or senior journalists, along with one chief executive and 10 reporters, have been arrested. There are three active police investigations, as a result of which four police officers have been arrested, as have 15 others, including civil servants and members of the Armed Forces. In all, nearly 50 people have been arrested.
If his attack is seen as that serious by those on the inside of government, not just reporters on the outside as here, can't you see them fighting back by persuading OFCOM that they ought to do something?
The thing to be noted is this is the mainbroadsheet newspaper of the right. it's the paper of senior policemen and businessmen, the go to place for any leaks from the military and for some odd reason, the catholic church. If you're a member of the tory parties voting constituency and a broadsheet reader its this or the financial times you will be reading.
UPDATE 2: Jon Stewart opened The Daily Show with a Murdochgate segment - the graphic on the screen behind him read:
Citizen ShameYowch - this plus the New Yorker piece - it's a really bad day for Rupert's brand.
Jon does mostly serious reporting here - and it is a brutal expose of Murdoch's modus operandi. Prime Ministers doing all kinds of favors for Murdoch's business interests, including the amusingly named, "Murdoch Clause".
Most chilling, though, is the story of MP Chris Bryant, who, in questioning, got Rebekah Brooks to admit to police bribery. Over the ensuing 6 months, Murdoch's minions hacked his phone and his UK papers 'monstered' him - running story after story of wildly unflattering smear pieces on him. We are shown an example -- an article accompanied by a photoshopped image of Bryant saying, "No, I'm the ONLY gay man in the Valleys" or something like that. If I'm not mistaken, Chris Bryant is one of if not the only openly gay members of Parliament.
UPDATE 3: h/t TiaRachel for finding the video:
Update 4: The Guardian has just posted a rather incriminating list of 113 meetings Rupert Murdoch has had with Prime Ministers or opposition leaders since 1988. Here is a sample:
04/05/88 Rupert Murdoch meets Margaret Thatcher “at a reception for Michael Jones”https://docs.google.com/...
30/05/88 Rupert Murdoch has dinner with Margaret Thatcher, and Woodrow Wyatt and his wife
30/08/89 Rupert Murdoch has a meeting with Margaret Thatcher
02/12/89 Rupert Murdoch has lunch with Margaret Thatcher
24/01/90 “Possible” meeting between Rupert Murdoch and Margaret Thatcher
07/05/91 Rupert Murdoch breakfasts with John Major
12/02/92 Rupert Murdoch meets with John Major and Gus O'Donnell
08/09/92 Rupert Murdoch has dinner with John Major, Gus O'Donnell “and others”
19/08/93 Rupert Murdoch has a “possible” meeting with John Major
02/05/94 Rupert Murdoch has dinner with John Major and Woodrow Wyatt
30/10/00 Rupert Murdoch has dinner with Tony Blair
17/01/02 Rupert Murdoch has dinner with Tony Blair, Les Hinton, and Lachlan and James Murdoch
12/03/02 Rupert Murdoch meets lain Duncan Smith with Les Hinton
13/03/02 Rupert Murdoch has breakfast with Tony Blair
04/06/02 Rupert Murdoch and his wife have dinner with the Blairs, with Les Hinton and his wife
06/10/07 Rupert Murdoch has a meeting with Gordon Brown
06/10/07 Rupert Murdoch has dinner with Gordon and Sarah Brown and JK Rowling
29/10/07 Rupert Murdoch has lunch with Gordon Brown
22/01/08 David Cameron has breakfast with Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks
22/01/08 Rupert Murdoch has lunch with Gordon Brown
15/12/09 David Cameron has breakfast with Rupert Murdoch
19/12/09 Dinner with the Camerons, Osbornes, Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and his wife, and Rebekah Brooks and her husband. Rupert says it was "a social event. I do not recall any discussion of politics or policy, but would be surprised if the subject did not come up.
28/01/10 David Cameron meets Rupert Murdoch
29/01/10 David Cameron meets Rupert Murdoch at a British Business Leader's Lunch at Davos
29/01/10 David Cameron meets Rupert Murdoch at the NI dinner at Davos
UPDATE 5: From the comments, AnnetteK found this little nugget in the London Evening Standard:
Former actress Koo Stark is set to launch a phone-hacking claim against News Corporation in the US courts, bringing the scandal across the Atlantic to Rupert Murdoch’s base.http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/...
Scotland Yard has told Ms Stark, 55, an ex-girlfriend of Prince Andrew, that she was a potential victim of the News of the World.
Ms Stark, who was once a regular visitor to Buckingham Palace, has instructed Mark Lewis, the lawyer who won Milly Dowler’s family £3 million compensation from the Murdoch media empire last year.