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Monday, December 12, 2011

What Did James Murdoch Know And What Will It Mean For Rupert’s Empire?

Chief executive of News Corporation Europe and Asia, James Murdoch arrives at News International headquarters in London in July. (AP)

Dramatic testimony in the UK phone hacking inquiry is keeping Rupert Murdoch’s media empire on the ropes.
Mazher Mahmood, known for his “Fake Sheik,” disguise when he was a star reporter for the now-shuttered News of The World, appeared before the commission Monday.

Speaking off-camera to protect his identity, Mahmood said his undercover reporting was “totally justitifed,” and approved by his editors because it was in the public interest. While Mahmood claimed that he himself had never engaged in phone hacking, his testimony comes after the jaw-dropping defense of phone hacking by another top Murdoch reporter, Paul McMullen.

Rupert Murdoch’s son James, who led News Corporation’s British operations, has denied knowing about the use of phone hacking by reporters at his papers. But James’ testimony is under increasing scrutiny as more reporters come forward to say that their controversial methods, including phone hacking and paying people for tips and stories about celebrities, were known to their editors.

Sarah Ellison, of Vanity Fair, says that the scandal highlights questions over the future of the Murdoch empire.

“The timing of the phone hacking scandal and what made it important was that [Rupert Murdoch]had, for the first time, started thinking about what the succession could actually be,” she told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.

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