Boston Bombing: Rupert Murdoch Defends N.Y. Post's Coverage

2012-29 REP Rupert Murdoch P

$224 million: That's what the Rupert Murdoch conglomerate spent during its fiscal year ending June 30, with the bulk of the money going toward legal fees, say insiders.

The News Corp. mogul says a front-page photo of two innocent men was "distributed by FBI" and "instantly withdrawn" after they were cleared of wrongdoing.

News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch has responded to harsh critics of his tabloid the New York Post's erroneous -- and many call irresponsible -- coverage of the Boston bombings.

Hours after Monday's horrific twin bombings, the Post claimed the terrorist act had claimed 12 lives and that a "Saudi national" was in custody. The facts remained on the Post's website for hours after they had been proved wrong. 

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But the tabloid's biggest misstep was yet to come: Thursday's edition featured a front-page color photo of two innocent men, one a 17-year-old Moroccan track athlete, under the headline, "Bag Men: Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon." The story was deemed "reckless and appalling" by the Columbia Journalism Review, a sentiment echoed by much of the media world.

"All NYPost pics were those distributed by FBI. And instantly withdrawn when FBI changed directions," the 82-year-old media mogul tweeted Saturday morning, 48 hours after the edition, which has a circulation of 520,000, landed on newsstands. 

Murdoch's stance echoes that of Post editor in chief Col Allan, who on Thursday issued a statement defending his choice.

"We stand by our story," Allan said. "The image was e-mailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects."