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Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal Finally Acknowledges Its Publisher’s Role In Hacking Scandal

July 11, 2011 10:30 am ET by Eric Boehlert

It took an entire week, but the Wall Street Journal newsroom finally got around to informing readers that the newspaper’s publisher, and longtime Rupert Murdoch confidant, Les Hinton plays a starring role in the unfolding phone-hacking scandal in Britain.

Indeed, since the long-simmering phone-hacking story re-ignited last week amidst allegations of criminal conduct and a corporate cover-up, Hinton has stood at the epicenter of the News Corp. scandal in terms of how Murdoch’s company in recent years misled the public, as well as members of Parliament, with regards to how Murdoch’s News of The World tabloid apparently hacked citizens’ voice mails. Routinely. (The hacking took place while Hinton oversaw the tabloid.) 

Hinton is now CEO of the Dow Jones Company and publisher of Murdoch's Wall Street Journal and is facing growing pressure to explain his previous claims about how the illegal hacking had been limited in scope. (It was not.) And that’s why the Hinton angle has been aggressively pursued by global news organizations. (Just not by Murdoch’s Journal.)

For instance, from the Financial Times:

Les Hinton, chief executive of Dow Jones, is being blamed by people close to News Corp, for failing to get to grips with the News of the World phone hacking scandal when he was in charge of Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper group.

The Guardian:

Les Hinton, Rupert Murdoch's lifelong lieutenant and closest adviser, faces questions over whether he saw a 2007 internal News International report, which found evidence that phone hacking was more widespread than admitted by the company, before he testified to a parliamentary committee that the practice was limited to a single reporter.


But attention is now turning to Hinton, 67, who headed up News International during [Rebekah] Brooks's and [Andy] Coulson's editorships and now runs the New York-based Dow Jones & Co., another arm of Murdoch's sprawling News Corp . Murdoch's long-time lieutenant, some News Corp watchers say, could end up being a high-profile casualty in the scandal. "The person that I think is most of a problem for Murdoch is Les Hinton," Peter Burden, author of a 2008 book about the News of the World, told Reuters.

Those were all stand-alone news stories in recent days that examined, in detail, Hinton’s role in the possible phone-hacking cover-up. To date though, the Journal has published just one paragraph about Hinton.

And it took the newspaper an entire week to produce it. 

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    • Author by m.welker (July 11, 2011 10:45 am ET)
      To date though, the Journal has published just one paragraph about Hinton.

      And it took the newspaper an entire week to produce it.

      I'd say that's actually record-breaking turn-around time for them to actually acknowledge the wrong-doing of one of their own.
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    • Author by tsarrobert (July 11, 2011 11:28 am ET)
      Does the single paragraph actually connect Hinton to charges of tapping and hacking, or simply point out that he was in charge when the illegal activities took place? Given News Corps. past behavior, it would be more in character for the later to be their tactic.
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    • Author by Egbert Sousé (July 11, 2011 11:57 am ET)
      Other news that may or may not eventually make the pages of the WSJ:

      July 11, 2011
      (Reuters) - Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper reported on Monday that News of the World journalists had offered to pay a New York police officer to retrieve the private phone records of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks. ....
      url=]News Corp tabloid bought royal contacts from police
      The Guardian July 11, 2011

      At least two Scotland Yard protection officers are alleged to have jeopardised the security of the royal family by selling the contact details of the Queen, Prince Charles and their friends and associates to the News of the World.
      Sources have told the Guardian that a contacts book was sold for 1,000 pounds [$1600] to the paper by the officers who were assigned to protect the royal family.
      .... [/url]
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    • Author by epkklk851 (July 11, 2011 12:14 pm ET)
      1 1
      But don't you understand, Ol'Rup is the last bastian of fairness, balance and journalistic ethics. He would never allow anything he owns to betray his strongly held, all-American values!
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      • Author by AprilFools (July 11, 2011 1:21 pm ET)
        Right, that fine all-American value which states "it is not illegal unless you get caught." Murdock got here in 1985 and that the only value he learned? Australia can have him back!
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        • Author by epkklk851 (July 11, 2011 1:25 pm ET)
          I'd say he's learned a few others: There's a sucker born every minute, for example. And yes, I wish the Aussies would take him back, but I like a lot of the Aussies I have known, and that is a cruel thing to do to them.
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      • Author by zlots331 (July 11, 2011 4:39 pm ET)
        Please correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Rupert become an American citizen only because of the limits that a foreigner cannot hold certain media investments in the US, thus limiting his plans for global expansion? I know I remember reading something along those lines awhile back.
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    • Author by jonimacaroni1 (July 11, 2011 1:11 pm ET)
      Heck, even I posted about Les Hinton on 7/7/11 - for the Wall St Journal to avoid mentioning him is unbelievable. Oh, wait, that's right, it's News Corp. I believe it.
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    • Author by FNC Liberal (July 11, 2011 2:07 pm ET)
      1 1
      Rupertgate is spreading like a bad computer virus, except this one is more destructive.

      Rupertgate has reached to two more News Corporation-owned publications in the U.K. And what's worse is the Queen of England's security may have been breached because of these publications.

      Don't be surprised if Rupertgate spreads to the American side of News Corporation, because I won't be surprised at all.
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