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Question of the Day
Cameron’s critics grew louder in London as he visited South Africa on a two-day visit to the continent already cut short by the crisis. He dropped stops in Rwanda and South Sudan as his government faces growing questions about its cozy relationship with Murdoch’s media empire during a scandal that has taken down top police and media figures with breathtaking speed.
Parliament was to break for the summer on Tuesday after lawmakers grilled Murdoch, his son James and Brooks, in a highly anticipated public airing about the scandal. Cameron, however, said lawmakers should reconvene Wednesday “so I can make a further statement.”
Cameron insisted his Conservative-led government had “taken very decisive action” by setting up a judge-led inquiry into the wrongdoing at Murdoch’s now-defunct tabloid News of the World and into the overall relations between British politicians, the media and police.
“We have helped to ensure a large and properly resourced police investigation that can get to the bottom of what happened, and wrongdoing, and we have pretty much demonstrated complete transparency in terms of media contact,” Cameron said.
Opposition leader Ed Miliband, however, said Cameron needed to answer “a whole series of questions” about his relationships with Brooks, James Murdoch and Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor whom Cameron later hired as his communications chief. Coulson resigned that post in January and was arrested earlier this month in the scandal.
“At the moment, he seems unable to provide the leadership the country needs,” Miliband said of Cameron.
Rupert Murdoch, too, faces a major test Tuesday in his bid to tame a scandal that has already destroyed the News of the World, prompted the resignations of Brooks and Wall Street Journal publisher Les Hinton, and sunk the media baron’s dream of taking full control of a lucrative satellite broadcaster, British Sky Broadcasting.
At the televised hearing, politicians will seek more details about the scale of criminality at the News of the World. The Murdochs will try to avoid incriminating themselves or doing more harm to their business without misleading Parliament, which is a crime.
Perkins, 79, who has been an independent News Corp. director since 1996 and is cofounder of Silicon Valley venture capital fund Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said a succession plan has long been in place given Murdoch’s age. But he said it had not been brought up in light of the recent revelations about phone hacking and payments to British police.
“I can assure you, there has been no discussion at the board level in connection with this current scandal of making any changes. The board supports top management totally,” he said. “The board has been misled, as has top management been misled, by very bad people at a very low level in the organization.”
Visitors to The Sun website were redirected to a page featuring a story saying Murdoch’s dead body had been found in his garden.
Internet hacking collective Lulz Security took responsibility for that hacking attack via Twitter, calling it a successful part of “Murdoch Meltdown Monday.”
The group posted taunting messages on its Twitter account like “we have joy we have fun we have messed up murdoch’s sun.” It added what it claimed were details of hacked internal staff data from The Sun and eventually redirected the paper’s website to its own Twitter feed.
Lulz Security, which has previously claimed hacks on major entertainment companies, FBI partner organizations and the CIA, hinted that more was yet to come, saying “This is only the beginning.”
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