Eight “Scathing” Passages From The News Corp. Report

May 1, 2012 12:14 p.m.

In the world of the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal, “scathing” is the word of the day. It’s the word that has been widely used to describe the report released today by the UK Parliament’s select committee on culture, media and sport — though harsh, severe, berating, or critical would also serve.

Even observers in the UK were surprised at the 100+ page report’s language. “Everyone was kind of astonished,” Steve Hewlett, a columnist at The Guardian and host of the BBC Radio 4 Media Show, told TPM today. While the practical and political implications of the report are still being sorted out, its tone is unambiguous. See for yourself. Below, we’ve highlighted eight of the most, yes, “scathing” passages written by the UK lawmakers. (And you can read the full report here.)Page 70 – “Not A Fit Person”

“On the basis of the facts and evidence before the Committee, we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude,therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”

Page 88 – “Wilful Blindness”

“Their instinct throughout, until it was too late, was to cover up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators, as they also professed they would do after the criminal convictions. In failing to investigate properly, and by ignoring evidence of widespread wrongdoing, News International and its parent News Corporation exhibited wilful blindness, for which the companies’ directors–including Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch–should ultimately be prepared to take responsibility”

Page 22 – “Tried To Have It Both Ways”

“Throughout this affair, senior News of the World and News International executives have tried to have it both ways. They have been quick to point to ‘investigations’ which supposedly cleared the newspaper of wider wrongdoing, but have also distanced themselves from the detailwhen it suited them.”

Page 68 – “Collective Amnesia”

“The history of the News of the World at hearings of the Committee is a long one, characterised by “collective amnesia” and a reluctance fully and fairly to provide the Committee with the information it sought. News International has repeatedly stone-walled, obfuscated and misled and only come clean, reluctantly, when no other course of action was sensible and when its wider commercial interests were threatened.”

Page 59 – “Simply Astonishing”

“We have been told that, notwithstanding our 2010 Report, the further media investigations including the New York Times, the settlement with Max Clifford and further civil cases by non-royal victims, it was as late as December 2010 that James Murdoch–and Rupert Murdoch–realised that the one ‘rogue reporter’ line was untrue. This, we consider, to be simply astonishing.”

Page 69 – “Simply Not Credible”

“The notion that–given all that had gone on, right back to evidence given overpayments to the police to our predecessor Committee in 2003–a hands-on proprietor like Rupert Murdoch had no inkling that wrongdoing and questionable practice was not widespread at the News of the World is simply not credible.”

Page 68 – “Huge Failings”

“Even if there were a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ culture at News International, the whole affair demonstrates huge failings of corporate governance at the company and its parent, News Corporation.”

Page 14 – “Wished To Buy Silence”

“The willingness of News International to sanction huge settlements and damaging,wide-ranging admissions to settle civil claims over phone-hacking before they reach trial reinforces the conclusion of our 2010 Report that the organisation has, above all, wished to buy silence in this affair and to pay to make this problem go away.”

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