Rupert Murdoch - Sentenced?


One sentence in an 84 page report has grabbed the headlines.

It was one sentence which split a Commons committee on party lines.

And one sentence which overshadowed the rest of a damning report which Conservative MPs on the committee claim would otherwise have been backed unanimously.

So, what will be the impact of that declaration that Rupert Murdoch is not "a fit person" to run a major international corporation?

Its author Tom Watson, the Labour MP and scourge of the Murdochs, will hope that it will unnerve shareholders in News Corporation and may persuade them to demand change at the top of the company.

Some suspect that he wanted to trap the Conservatives into appearing to back Murdoch and note that his party leader, Ed Miliband, is presenting himself as the man who stands up "against interests - no matter how rich and powerful they are".

Mr Watson insists that his sole motive was to ensure that the boss of News Corp did not escape censure whilst three News of the World executives were sanctioned for giving misleading evidence to a Commons committee.

His decision and that of the four other Labour MPs and one Liberal Democrat on the committee who backed him have upped the stakes. The questions is whether by forcing a divide on party lines - something which Select Committees try to avoid - they have lessened the impact of today's report.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Why don't we let Leveson, Parliament, Ofcom, whoever etc complete their tasks and let's talk about it afterwards
    We could always discuss Ofgen's justification for the bonus bonanza?

    Equally topical is the farce that is Ofwat and the pythonesque situation we find ourselves in as a result of yet more private sector efficiency.

    Ofcom's turn....I'm sure they'll stand up for the right(eous)

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    #71 Mench is the new Mad Nad - with misfits like these and Fox News Hannan coming through the ranks the tories are surely becoming a fringe party of delusional Tea Party extremists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Does anyone really care anymore, they done something that was disgusting and tried to cover it up but got found out. One question that stands out is why are the Tories so frightened of Mr M and News Corp even something as bad as the phone hacking they just dont seem to want to blame him, but what do you expect from a government that lies and cover things up!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Mensch is clearly partisan herself. She has financial links to him, her books were published by a Murdoch company and she and others on the select committee met his executives during their tenure. Murdoch is being investigated for intimidation and corruption, this seems to be another example.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    At least 3 of the 4 Conservative MPs voted against every criticism of James or Rupert Murdoch. Something like 13 sections of the report.

    In truth, they used their block vote to try and remove almost every section that personally criticised them.

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Funny to see the Tory brigade out in full force. Please face the FACTS:

    - The Parlimentary Commitees sole Lib Dem (and long standing independent) chose to stand by the Labour position

    - Regardless of the minutiae the Murdochs have presided over a corrupt and deeply unethical media empire that not only distorted the entire politica process but damaged many individuals lives in tandem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Mr Watson's ego has now proved his down fall Labour's opportunist political self gratification approach to everything shows they are nothing more than a leaderless pack plying for public favour. Yes the Murdoch's need to be tamed but that should be severed cold by Ofcom not Roy Rogers or Buffalo Bill riding a soap box.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.


    However appropriate at least some of the criticism, nothing to stop the Murdochs from 'out-democratizing' their critics

    Not that all MPs are so very 'rich & privileged', but that none realise the anti-democratic force of Inequality

    Rupert spoke to Leveson of 'our democracy': let us hope in more than ironic piety or contempt

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    If someone did know that crimes were taking place in the organisation that they owned then they aren't fit and proper to run a multi national company.

    If someone does not know that crimes are taking place in the organisation that they own then they are guilty of negligence and are not up to the task of running a multinational company.

    Seems sensible to me that either way Tom Watson is correct.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    I think a lot of people would agree with the majority conclusion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    It's about 150 miles from the Leveson enquiry to my home here in North Wales. The stench is overpowering at this distance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Hacking appears to have been a standard 'news' practice in some murdoch titles. So there is a prima facie case that the board of directors failed to prevent it, investigate breaches and implement sanctions. Watson says Murdoch Snr was primarily responsible. However, he doesnt really do forensic too well and is much happier in a political show boat. Responsible opposition (apparently).

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Ian 57
    "The report seems to be overshadowed by one persons bias, who seems to have a single agenda, which he is now trying to profiteer from by publishing a book."
    Yet another repeat of the earlier smear offensive on this thread. Watson's view of NI and Murdoch were/are well known but although you clearly don't like it, 5 other members of the committee including a LibDem had to agree.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Yawn yawn - there must be some other matters worthy of attention on the go. Why don't we let Leveson, Parliament, Ofcom, whoever etc complete their tasks and let's talk about it afterwards when we might all be a bit better informed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    I am not concerned with political reasons for the Commitee's report.
    Let's be clear: Murdoch was hugely powerful for decades.
    His power corrupted some sections; police , politicians, the media, etc.
    Whether he was aware or even encouraged his power is immaterial.
    It happened.
    No-one should ever be allowed to be so dominant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    It would be interesting to be reminded of the political donations by News International or the Murdochs over the last few years.
    Perhaps these fell along partisan lines too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    The report seems to be overshadowed by one persons bias, who seems to have a single agenda, which he is now trying to profiteer from by publishing a book.

    All Politicians have courted all media organisations for decades, no doubt they still would if they could all get free M&S pizza after expensing their food bills

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Nick, other matters press too.
    I don't want to see political argument become an exercise in bullying. Cameron's remarks (twice) about 81 yr old MP Skinner. Now it seems Boris is currently the bully from Bullingdon.
    He's a big man and far younger than Ken.
    Not all toffs are effete and devious. Some are thugs. Boris's reported bullying is no JOKE
    You're uniquely placed to condemn it, Nick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    49 Though the report does not mention the words "fit and proper person" at all - the reason being that it is the independent regulator Ofcoms remit to judge "fit and proper person" to control a media outlet free of political interference (from any party)- unless of course you prefer politicians to control the who owns the media? This is what Hunt is being called to resign over, should Watson?


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