Feigning total ignorance may have seemed like a reasonable tactic for Rupert Murdoch to take in the ongoing hearings about widespread phone hacking at his Newscorp publications, but as a result, an extensive report by British lawmakers has found the Australian tycoon "not a fit person" to run his own media conglomerate. From the report:
"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 willful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications."
The statement was protested by conservative members of the hearing committee, who stated that the charges against Murdoch's competence as a leader were included "on the basis of no evidence presented to the committee whatsoever." And, though the report claims that as a company Newscorp "misled" the committee, the findings are ultimately pretty positive for Murdoch and his son, James: the only likely alternative outcome of the hearing would have been a ruling that the two worked to actively cover up the illegal hacking, which would have far worse ramifications than being ruled "unfit."
Since the report's release, Murdoch has issued a memo to his staff, saying, "We certainly should have acted more quickly and aggressively to uncover wrongdoing. We deeply regret what took place and have taken our share of responsibility for not rectifying the situation sooner."
With two of his former top editors still awaiting possible criminal charges, it remains to be seen how much of a dent this will ultimately make it Murdoch's empire, but something tells me he'll still be chugging along, raking in billions and quietly funding arch-conservatives for many happy years to come.
Illustration by Dave Herr.