American papers gave heavy coverage yesterday to the Commons Select Committte report on Murdoch and Co, and were in general stunned by the savagery of the attack on Mr Murdoch himself.
The New York Times in shellshock, headlined their story : "British Panel Finds Murdoch Unfit to Lead Media Empire."
The paper called the report "startlingly damning" after months of investigation and said the panel concluded that Murdoch was “not a fit person” to run a huge international company.
The report amplified a public outcry against him, said the paper, but threatened further bruising divisions within the political establishment because the attack on the tycoon split on party lines. The impact of the report by the all-party committee was blunted by divisions within the panel itself with the Conservatives opposing the censure of Mr. Murdoch.
The conclusion about the world’s most influential media tycoon went much further in lambasting Mr. Murdoch, than did the general report, said the paper.
Mr. Murdoch released a message , the NYT reported, “I recognize that for all of us – myself in particular – it is difficult to read many of the report’s findings. But we have done the most difficult part, which has been to take a long, hard and honest look at our past mistakes. There is no easy way around this, but I am proud to say that we have been working hard to put things right.”
The Huffington Post reported online that the verdict, from the Culture, Media and Sport committee was "an unexpectedly damning one." Huffpo quoted Tory MP Louise Mensch saying that the report was "partisan" and had been "damaged" by the controversial sections.
Labour MP Tom Watson countered, said Huffpo, saying that he was "disappointed that some members didn’t feel sufficiently convinced or confident to hold the most powerful to account."
The Los Angeles Times called the report "stinging" and said : "News Corp. says it is studying a report from a panel of British lawmakers that Rupert Murdoch “exhibited willful blindness” toward illegal phone hacking at the News of the World tabloid and that he "is not a fit person" to head a major international company
"The report, months in the making, is certain to add pressure on the Murdochs as their global media empire struggles to deal with the continued fallout from the hacking scandal," said the LA paper.
The Washington Post which brought down President Nixon in the Watergate scandal,called the report "scathing" and said it was far more condemning of the 81-year-old media titan than expected, saying he had “turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness” over the widespread malpractice at his now-closed News of the World tabloid."
Lastly, The Wall Street Journal played it straight. The headline read "News Corp. Chastised by U.K. Committee". The story led off, "A U.K. parliamentary committee report ... said News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is "not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company" and condemned three former News Corp. executives for misleading British lawmakers over the depth of the company's phone-hacking scandal.
In the nearest thing to a comment, the WSJ said "the report had especially harsh words for the 81-year-old Mr. Murdoch." And it repeated the report's charge against the world's No 1 newspaperman, "Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking. He turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications." The corporate culture "permeated from the top," the WSJ added.