BBC Fights Back in Spat With Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
LONDON – The BBC has issued a terse and combative statement defending itself against accusations by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. that it “grossly misrepresented” the Murdoch company in a TV show.
The public broadcaster said it stood by the Panorama TV show’s investigation into alleged computer hacking carried out by long-time News Corp. affiliate NDS, which is also alleged to have employed computer hackers to undermine the business of Sky's chief TV rival in Britain, ONdigital.
The terse BBC statement read: "We stand by the Panorama investigation. We have received NDS's correspondence and are aware of News Corp.'s rejection of Panorama's revelations. However, the emails shown in the program were not manipulated, as NDS claims, and nothing in the correspondence undermines the evidence presented in the program."
The statement, issued Friday morning, came after News Corp. president and COO Chase Carey had claimed that the BBC had used “manipulated and mischaracterized emails" to support its claims. He also fully backed a letter from NDS executive chairman Abe Peled, which refuted the Panorama findings.
Peled's letter, published on the News Corp. Web site, focused on internal emails highlighted in the Panorama news magazine show. Peled said that he "looked forward" to the BBC's "swift response and resolution" of his complaint.
The BBC statement also came on the back of a trio of tweets from Murdoch accusing "every competitor and enemy" – although none were named – of "piling on with lies and libels."
Murdoch’s tweets, in which he said that his company's enemies had many different agendas, of which the worst were "old toffs and rightwingers who still want last century's status quo with their monopolies," have been interpreted by the media here as a sideswipe at the BBC itself.
The clash of the media titans seems certain to rumble on with News Corp. insiders also pointing the finger at the Beeb’s slow reaction time to covering the company’s reaction to the Panorama findings.