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Glenn Halbrooks

British Lawmakers Blast Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch

By May 2, 2012

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The investigation into Rupert Murdoch and his vast media empire has taken a dramatic turn in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that forced him to shut down the British newspaper News of the World last year. A group of British lawmakers say Murdoch is simply not fit to run an international media company.

A photo of News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch has now been told he's "unfit" to run a global company.
Photo © Getty Images
This wasn't an off-the-cuff comment made at an emotionally-charged news conference, like would be typical in the U.S. Instead, this was in a report from a parliamentary committee looking into the scandal and how Murdoch and his executives at News Corp. handled it.

Remember, Murdoch's media holdings are vast, including the Fox broadcast and cable channels, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. Anything that happens to him in the U.K. will likely have ripple effects in the U.S. While most Americans may not be following the phone-hacking scandal, they are very familiar with News Corp.'s U.S. brands.

Murdoch is already one of the 10 media people to watch in 2012 because of the controversy that surrounds him. Now we'll have to watch to see how he handles it.

Even though Murdoch turned 81 years old in March, industry observers don't expect him to resign. In fact, he's already criticized the parliamentary committee report as being partisan.

That's a typical first step for anyone in the public eye who faces scrutiny from government -- simply say you're the victim of politics. While Murdoch has been under fire before, he may need more weapons in his arsenal to defend himself this time.

Because News Corp. is traded on the stock market, shareholders will have a stake in the outcome. It's not just a political story, or one of journalism ethics or public relations, it has a potential financial impact.

The News of the World, which may have been Britain's biggest-selling Sunday paper, was only a tiny part of the company. But now that the story involves Parliament and has greatly affected Murdoch's son James from taking over the company, the scandal is starting to spin out of control.

Critics have long said Murdoch has too much power over global media. Watch to see if his power can now help him keep his seat at the top of the company.

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