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A trio of moguls — Donald Trump, Barry Diller and Jack Welch — are jumping to Rupert Murdoch’s defense in the U.K. phone-hacking scandal where a parliamentary committee dubbed the News Corp. leader “not fit” to run a major global company.
On Tuesday, the committee condemned Murdoch, his son (and News Corp. deputy COO) James Murdoch and the conglomerate’s News International U.K. newspaper unit for not being proactive or misleading probes into the hacking scandal.
“Their instinct throughout, until it was too late, was to cover up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators, as they also professed they would do after the criminal convictions,” the report stated. “In failing to investigate properly, and by ignoring evidence of widespread wrongdoing, News International and its parent News Corp. exhibited willful blindness, for which the companies’ directors — including Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch — should ultimately be prepared to take responsibility.”
As for Murdoch, he’s “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company,” said the report.
Trump would beg to differ.
Murdoch “is a superb businessman and a world class CEO. He has built a tremendous empire and is certainly ‘fit’ to run his corporation,” he real estate tycoon tweeted in solidarity.
Diller, meanwhile, felt strongly enough to give an interview to The New York Times, calling the U.K. report “wholly politically motivated.”
“I think it’s terrible to put him in the position of having to justify his fitness to lead a company when he hasn’t been indicted or charged with anything,” said the IAC/InterActiveCorp chairman, who worked with Murdoch in the ’80s and ’90s during the creation of the Fox Broadcasting Company.
Copy that for Welch, former CEO of General Electric, who said in a statement: “He has never been anything but straightforward and above the board in all his interactions with me and his courageous and innovative moves in business have always been a source of inspiration.”
Not for Ted Turner. The CNN founder took a swipe at his rival while accepting a lifetime achievement award from the Overseas Press Club last week.
“We didn’t do anything to compromise our principles or anything else,” he said. “Unlike Rupert Murdoch, I’m not being indicted for anything.”
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