Live Blog: James Murdoch Testifies on Phone-Hacking
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11:45 am News Corp abandoned its bid to own all of BSkyB in the wake of the phone hacking scandal—even though it looked likely to be passed by Cameron's government despite worries about News Corp controlling even more of the UK media
Murdoch said in his statement that he told Cameron The Sun would switch its allegiance in September 2009 over drinks. He also met the then Leader of the Opposition over dinner with Rebekah Brooks, ex-chief executive of News International and wife of Cameron's old friend Charlie.
Cameron famously rode an old police horse lent to Rebekah Brooks while out riding with Charlie Brooks.
Murdoch admitted speaking to Cameron about the BSkyB bid at a pre-Christmas dinner with Cameron at the Brooks home in 2010.
The links between News Corp and UK politicians have been a key focal point of media coverage of the scandal.
11:38 am Murdoch was much more surefooted and in command of the details about BSkyB than News International—probably reflecting that he was much more interested in the television side of the business than the newspapers.
Murdoch was also asked about his relationship with Prime Minister David Cameron. The support of News International's The Sun for Cameron was seen as key to his election success in the UK.
Murdoch maintained that he didn't want to know Cameron's views on matters relating to his company.
11:33 am Recess over, the panel spotlights James Murdoch's role as chairman at BSkyB , and whether pressure was put on government over its ownership of soccer rights.
11:21 am Recess called for 10 minutes.
11:18 am Murdoch referred to a "zero sum game" culture at UK newspapers—meaning that they are very tribal (which is true). This helped explain why he believed early Guardian stories about the spread of phone hacking were "smear."
11:12 am Murdoch denied repeatedly that there had been either a failure of governance at News International over phone hacking or a cover-up of the scandal.
11:07 am James Murdoch became slightly flustered under forensic cross-examination about the decision to pay Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, £700,000 over alleged hacking of his voicemail. Questioner Jay even gets in a dig about Taylor being "hacked off."
10:51 amRobert Jay, the lawyer questioning Murdoch, returned again and again to the issue of how much Murdoch knew and why he didn't ask to know more.
10:48 am James Murdoch maintained that others at News International didn't point out how widespread phone hacking was. He said this might have been because he would have advocated they "cut out the cancer" by dismissing those involved.
10:40 amLord Justice Leveson, the judge leading the inquiry, intervened in questioning to ask Murdoch why he didn't ask how phone hacking happened and why wasn't it picked up?
Murdoch replied that he had asked editors to look at what had gone wrong and understood that existing internal controls had failed.
He deflected questions about News Corp's political influence.
Asked about the appointment of Sun Editor Dominic Mohan, who moved the newspaper away from the Labour Party toward the Conservative Party, he maintained that he didn't ask about Mohan's political opinions before his appointment. He added that his father Rupert and former chief executive Rebekah Brooks were mainly responsible for this appointment—often thought of as one of the most powerful in UK media.
Brooks was arrested in March.
10:20 am James Murdoch looked relaxed and confident as he sat down to give evidence this morning. He kicked off his testimony with some specifics about his early career.
Murdoch admitted early on that the control systems at News International failed while he was heading the business.
He added that he didn't read the News of the World cover to cover every week and didn't spot stories which could have been obtained illegally.
Murdoch appeared to be shifting the blame to Tom Crone and other lawyers at News International by stating that he hoped having legal managers in every newsroom would have kept the papers on the right track.