Rupert Murdoch returns to the Leveson Inquiry this morning to be questioned over phone hacking, Milly Dowler, his links to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and his relationship with his senior executives.
In testimony today Murdoch says he was “misinformed and shielded” from malpractice at the News of the World, calling it a “cover-up”. He says: “I do blame one or two people for that who perhaps I shouldn’t name for all I know they may be arrested. There is no question in my mind maybe even the editor, but certainly beyond that someone, took charge of a cover-up which we were victim to and I regret.”
The 81-year-old media mogul testifies that the phone-hacking scandal “has cost us hundreds of millions”. Asked why he had shut down the News of the World Murdoch says: “I panicked. But I’m glad I did [...] I should have closed News of the World years ago and put in a Sunday Sun [...] I think that historically the whole business of the News of the World is a serious blot on my reputation [...] I said: ‘The buck stops with me and I will clean it up.’ [...] Hindsight is a lot easier than foresight.” The Guardian picks up the story.
Following Murdoch’s first day of testimony, the BBC reports that Alex Salmond will face Holyrood questions over Murdoch links. Media correspondent Torin Douglas writes on Murdoch’s attempts to play down his own political power.
The Times editorial suggests that Murdoch came out of the first day of questioning well: ‘The session was humanising. Instead of a caricature, Mr Murdoch emerged as someone with broad experience, a ready wit, a commitment to newspapers and readers, and a becoming humility.’ Subscribers can read the full editorial here.
Former Sunday Times editor Harold Evans wrote in the Guardian a piece entitled Myth, memory and imagination, accusing Murdoch of fabrication as regards some crucial aspects of his testimony. Evans writes: ‘There is a pattern to the Murdoch sagas. He responds to serious criticism by a biting wisecrack or diversionary personal attack. What is denied most sharply invariably turns out to be irrefutably true. As with the hacking saga, so with my charges.’
The Times summarises today’s critical revelations as:
* Rupert Murdoch says he was victim of NoW ‘cover-up’
* Says Myler should have discovered extent of hacking
* Accepts that he personally ‘failed’ over scandal
* James Murdoch never warned him during Taylor case
* Sticks by his evidence on Gordon Brown ‘declaring war’
The Guardian has it:
* Murdoch sorry he didn’t close NotW ‘years before’
* Spreading Murdoch ‘myths’ has become an industry
* Size of Gordon Taylor payout was ‘surprising’
* Claims News of the World was source of phone-hacking cover up
* Not aware News Corp was obstructive on phone-hacking probe