Huffpost UK uk

Rupert Murdoch At Leveson: News Corp Boss Denies Using Newspapers As Leverage

Posted: Updated:
Rupert Murdoch denied asking for any personal favours from politicians or using his newspapers to promote his commercial interests in evidence to the Leveson inquiry on Wednesday.
Rupert Murdoch denied asking for any personal favours from politicians or using his newspapers to promote his commercial interests in evidence to the Leveson inquiry on Wednesday.

Rupert Murdoch denied asking for any personal favours from politicians or using his newspapers to promote his commercial interests in evidence to the Leveson inquiry on Wednesday.

The media mogul said he wanted to use his two-day appearance at the inquiry into media ethics to dispel "myths" that he had used the power of The Sun to gain influence.

News Corp's boss said he was not a "Sun King" character who used charisma to influence his media empire.

"I try very hard to set an example of ethical behaviour and make it quite clear that I expect it," he said.

"If any politician wanted my opinions on major matters, they only had to read the editorials in The Sun," he said.

Murdoch also derided phone hacking, saying: "I don't believe in using hacking, I don't believe in using private detectives or whatever," he said.

"I think that is just a lazy way of reporters not doing their job. But I think it is fair when people are held up as great, or have themselves held up as iconic figures or great actors, that they be looked at."

He hit out at Gordon Brown, saying he was not in a "balanced state of mind" when he threatened to destroy News Corp after The Sun withdrew their support from the Labour party.

"Mr Brown did call me and said 'Rupert do you know what's going on here?'," Murdoch said, speaking of a phone call after The Sun announced they were backing the Conservatives in September 2009 during the Labour conference.

"I said 'what do you mean?'," Murdoch continued.

"He said 'well, The Sun, and what it's doing and how it came out.' I said: 'I'm not aware. I was not warned of the exact timing… But I'm sorry to tell you, Gordon, we have come to the conclusion that we will support a change of government when there's an election.'

"I must stress no voices were raised, we were talking more quietly than you and I are now. He said 'well, your company has declared war on my government. And we have no alternative to make war on your company'."

He added that Brown had wrongly accused The Sun of hacking into his son's medical records, telling Leveson: "He later, when the hacking scandal broke, made a totally outrageous statement which he had to know was wrong, when he called us a criminal organisation.

"Because he said that we had hacked into his personal medical records, when he knew very well how The Sun had found out about his son, the condition of his son, which was very sad."

There were also inconsistencies in his evidence with that of his son the day before. He said it was pure coincidence News Corp announced its bid for BSkyB after the 2010 election.

"I don't think we gave any thought to the timing of it except that it would be good to talk to all the directors when they were together."

However on Tuesday James Murdoch had said there may have been some political sensitivities if they had attempted to take control of the company before or during an election.

Murdoch said he had liked David Cameron when he first met him and did not think he was a lightweight, saying. "No. Not then, certainly. No ... I think it's too early to make that judgment."

He added: "Politicians go out of their way to impress people in the press and I don't remember discussing any heavy political things with him at all.

"There may have been some issues discussed in passing, it was not a long meeting. I don't really remember the meeting. That's part of the democratic process. All politicians on all sides like to have their views known by the editors or publishers of newspapers hoping they will be put across, hoping they will succeed in impressing people, that's the game."

But he denied discussing BBC licence fees or the role of Ofcom with Cameron, and the appointment of Andy Coulson, the former NOTW editor who became director of communications for Cameron, saying: "No, I was just as surprised as anybody else."

Murdoch at Leveson: The 10 best quotes

  1. On the BBC: "Prime ministers all hated the BBC and all gave it everything it wanted."
  2. On The Sun's support for the Conservatives: "I could have been like the Telegraph. I could even have texted them every day".
  3. On being questioned: "Let's get him to get this f**king thing over with today".
  4. To Tony Blair: "If our flirtation is ever consummated Tony, I suspect we will end up making love like porcupines, very very carefully."
  5. On politics: "I don't know many politicians."
  6. On The Sun: "We are perhaps the only independent newspaper in the business."
  7. On Business: "I take a particularly strong pride in the fact we've never pushed our commercial interests in our newspapers"
  8. On Gordon Brown: "I did not think he was in a very balanced state of mind."
  9. On unions: "I didn't have the will to crush the unions. I might have had the desire, but that took several years"
  10. On favours: "I've never asked a Prime Minister for anything"

MORE: Miliband accuses Cameron at PMQs

SCANDAL: Special Adviser Resigns: 'My Activities At Times Went Too Far'

LIVEBLOG: Murdoch at Leveson

UP CLOSE: What do Murdoch's notes say?

QUIZ: Who said it, Murdoch or Mr Burns

See below for the best tweets from Murdoch's appearance

Also on The Huffington Post

Rupert Murdoch At Leveson: Twitter Funnies
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction