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.
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.