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NEWS CORP SCANDAL HITS U.S. AS WALL ST. JOURNAL CHIEF QUITS

July 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Les Hinton

Les Hinton, CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and the Dow Jones news service resigned today (Friday), becoming the first high-profile casualty in America of the continued scandal stemming from allegations of telephone hacking by the now-shuttered News of the World. Hinton had headed News International, the umbrella group for News Corp’s British newspapers, from 1997 to 2007, when the voicemail hacking of what is now believed to be thousands of British citizens by reporters and private detectives working for the Sunday tabloid is said to have taken place. In a statement, Hinton denied that he was aware of the alleged wrongdoing, but called his ignorance of the situation “irrelevant” — seeming to imply that he should have known. However, as recently as 2009, Hinton had told a committee of Parliament that News of the World had gone to “extraordinary lengths” to investigate the hacking charges and no evidence had been found. In reporting on the resignation, the London Daily Telegraph observed, “Given the industrial scale of phone-tapping, bribery and other misconduct now acknowledged by the company, media experts questioned how Mr Hinton did not know what was going on.” Hinton is regarded as one of Murdoch’s top lieutenants, having continually worked for him from the time he was a 15-year-old in Adelaide, Australia. He is now 67. Accepting his resignation, Murdoch expressed “much sadness.” Hinton had held numerous top positions within News Corp, including chairman and CEO of Fox Television Stations. He was named Publisher of the Year by Editor & Publisher last year. “Few individuals have given more to this company than Les Hinton,” Murdoch said oday. Meanwhile, the London Independent disclosed that actor Jude Law has sued another Murdoch newspaper, The Sun for allegedly hacking into his voicemail. News International denied the allegation. “We believe this is a deeply cynical and deliberately mischievous attempt to draw The Sun into the phone-hacking issue,” it said in a statement. “The allegations made in this claim have been carefully investigated by our lawyers and the evidence shows that they have no foundation whatsoever.”