Murdoch's Watergate?

The phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News of The World appears to be jeopardizing his plans to expand his media empire. And some say it could threaten more of his existing operations. We're asking what the future holds for Rupert Murdoch.

Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

Part One of The Current


It's Tuesday, July 12th.

North Korea will chair a UN conference on nuclear disarmament.

The hope is for the same kinds of results they got from a conference the UN chaired on irony disarmament.

This is The Current.

Murdoch's Watergate?

We started this segment with a clip from U.S. President Richard Nixon, speaking almost 40 years ago, after the Watergate scandal broke and swearing he would tough it out. Of course, we now know that he couldn't ... and didn't. That scandal ultimately forced Nixon to step down.

And this morning, amidst new allegations of unethical -- even illegal -- behaviour at The News of The World tabloid in London, some are suggesting that media mogul Rupert Murdoch could be facing his own Watergate. And while he doesn't face losing a presidency ... he's still got a lot to lose. Murdoch's News Corp. is one of the largest media empires on the planet. Its holdings include not only the News of the World but the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Harper Collins, Fox Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox.

Overall, we're talking 160 newspapers, 27 TV stations, 11 movie production companies and about 50,000 employees world-wide. Last year, the global corporation raked in 32 Billion dollars in revenue. But in the wake of the hacking scandal, Murdoch has shut-down The News of The World, his plan to buy another TV network is in jeopardy, and some observers think that his once-unassailable empire could be on the verge of collapse.

Eric Boehlert is one of the people who sees parallels between this scandal and Watergate. He's a writer with Media Matters for America, a liberal media watchdog group. Eric Boehlert was in Montclaire, New Jersey. Paul La Monica is the assistant manager editor of CNN Money and author of Inside Rupert's Brain. He was in New York City. And Margaret Heffernan is a businesswoman and journalist whose most recent book is Willful Blindness. She was in London today.

We reached out to News Corp. for comment, but company officials said they had been swamped by British media requests. So in lieu of a statement, they sent us a lengthy internal memo sent by Murdoch's son, James - CEO of News Corp. International - to company staff last week. It reads, in part:

The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself ... So, just as I acknowledge we have made mistakes, I hope you and everyone inside and outside the Company will acknowledge that we are doing our utmost to fix them, atone for them, and make sure they never happen again.

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