-By Paul Thomasch and Lisa Richwine
September 30, 2011- After a summer of scandal, the spotlight has shifted from News Corp's phone hacking crisis to its entertainment business, where its TV network and movie studio are searching for fresh hits to meet sky-high expectations.
Fox's tentpole shows -- "Glee," "The X Factor," and "Terra Nova" -- debuted this month to audience figures that fell short of Hollywood's expectations, partly due to out-sized ratings hopes and partly to the highly competitive, fragmented TV landscape that has made business tough for all the networks.
For "Terra Nova," believed to have cost Fox about $20 million for the first episode and featuring Steven Spielberg among a roster of a dozen big-name producers, the ratings bar was set extremely high.
But the premiere episode pulled in only half as many viewers as the 20.5 million that tuned into "Two and a Half Men" on CBS the same night, putting it in danger of being labeled an underachiever.
The premiere of "The X Factor," which creator Simon Cowell predicted would match the 20 million-plus viewers that his former show, "American Idol," regularly generates, only drew 12.1 million viewers in its premiere.
NoW's former chief reporter taking defunct tabloid's publishers to an employment tribunal, claiming he was a whistleblower
-by Lisa O'Carroll
September 27, 2011- A News of the World reporter at the heart of the phone-hacking scandal is taking the defunct tabloid's publishers to an employment tribunal, claiming he was a whistleblower.
Neville Thurlbeck, the paper's former chief reporter, is claiming that he was unfairly dismissed by Rupert Murdoch's News Interrnational. There is scheduled to be a preliminary employment tribunal hearing in east London this Friday. It has only just come to light that Thurlbeck – who had been behind a string of high-profile exclusives at the News of the World – had been fired by the company.
News International said: "We will vigorously contest this case." Thurlbeck was arrested in April on suspicion of unlawfully intercepting mobile phone voicemail messages but remained on the payroll of the paper until recently, possibly this month.
British group hires American lawyer to investigate class action suit against Murdoch’s News Corp.
-By Abby Ohlheiser
September 23, 2011- A group of British phone hacking victims is looking to the other side of the Atlantic in search of higher compensation from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Mark Lewis, a U.K. lawyer representing the New of the World hacking victims, has retained a U.S. attorney who previously represented the families of those killed on 9/11 to explore whether legal action can be taken against Murdoch’s media empire in American courts, the Associated Press reports.
While still in the early stages, the potential U.S. lawsuit could increase the scope of the scandal that has made the previously seemingly invincible Murdoch an easy target both at home and abroad.
News Corp., based in the U.S., is the parent of News International, the British company behind the News of the World and other tabloids.
The U.S. attorney, Norman Siegel, is evaluating the possibility of a class action suit against News Corp. and its directors. According to the Guardian, such a case would use "American foreign corruption laws, which make it illegal for U.S. companies to pay bribes to government officials abroad."
Peter Oborne's pamphlet makes outlandish claims about a pro-European conspiracy to control the British media
-by Denis MacShane
September 23, 2011- Today sees the publication of a pamphlet called Guilty Men, written by the Telegraph journalist Peter Oborne. Arguing that "the political class sought to tie the fortunes of the British to the euro", it has all the characteristic rococo exuberance of its writer. The pamphlet is published by the Centre for Policy Studies, whose director has spent his life in the trenches of anti-EU ideological warfare, and must be delighted to get a journalist of Oborne's standing on the high Tory right to produce the pamphlet.
Its appearance coincides with the increasing emergence of a group, consisting of nearly half the Tory parliamentary party, dedicated to the neo-isolationist ideology that Britain would be better off out of the EU. Britain is one of the weakest European economies, with almost zero growth, a huge deficit, high inflation and rising unemployment. Yet there is a solipsistic belief among the rightwing commentariat that we can lecture Germany, Finland, Estonia, France and the Netherlands on what to do.
Mark Lewis instructs lawyer of 20 9/11 families over allegations News of the World staff may have bribed police
-by Lisa O'Carroll
September 23, 2011- The solicitor who represented the family of Milly Dowler in their phone-hacking claims against News Corporation on Friday announced he has teamed up with US lawyers with a view to initiating proceedings targetting Rupert Murdoch and his son James.
Mark Lewis of Taylor Hampton has instructed Norman Siegel, a New York-based lawyer who represents 20 9/11 families to seek witness statements from News Corp and directors including the Murdochs in relation to allegations that News of the World staff may have bribed police.
He says he intends to assess whether he can launch a class action against News Corp using American foreign corruption laws, which make it illegal for US companies to pay bribes to government officials abroad.
"There is a provision within US law, before you start an action to seek depositions from individuals, in this case, such as James Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch and other directors of News Corp," said Lewis.
He added Siegel would examine allegations of not just police bribery but also phone hacking and "foreign malpractices."
Scotland Yard forced into abrupt climbdown over attempt to make Guardian reporters reveal phone-hacking sources
-by Owen Bowcott and Vikram Dodd
September 20, 2011- The Metropolitan police has dropped its attempt to order the Guardian to reveal confidential sources for stories relating to the phone-hacking scandal.
The Met had been hoping to force Guardian reporters to reveal confidential sources for articles disclosing that the murdered teenager Milly Dowler's phone was hacked on behalf of the News of the World. But after an intervention by the Crown Prosecution Service and widespread outrage, Scotland Yard was forced into an abrupt climbdown.
The Met claimed that one of the paper's reporters, Amelia Hill, could have incited a source to break the Official Secrets Act and broken the act herself.
At an Old Bailey hearing scheduled for this Friday, the Met had been due to apply for a production order to obtain all the material that the Guardian holds that would disclose sources for the newspaper's coverage of the phone-hacking inquiry this year.
September 19, 2011- News International is expected to pay three million pounds ($4.7 million) to settle hacking claims by the family of murder victim Milly Dowler against Britain's now defunct News of the World newspaper, sources close to the issue told Reuters on Monday.
The settlement is likely to involve close to a two million pound payment to the schoolgirl's family and a donation of at least one million pounds to charity.
"News International confirms it is in advanced negotiations with the Dowler family regarding their compensation settlement," a spokeswoman for the company, parent company of the News of the World, said in a statement.
"No final agreement has yet been reached, but we hope to conclude the discussions as quickly as possible."
Mark Lewis, lawyer for the family, declined to comment.
If the settlement goes through, it would be the biggest payout made by News International, the British newspaper arm of News Corp, in the phone-hacking scandal.
Suggestions in July that a News of the World investigator listened in to, and deleted, messages left for the cellphone of the 13-year-old girl after she went missing, misleading police and her family, caused uproar in parliament, and outrage among the public.
Huffington Post: Hugh Grant Says 'Job Half Done' On Phone Hacking, Attacks 'Good Cops' Of Operation Weeting
-by Michael Rundle
September 18, 2011- Hugh Grant said the fight against phone hacking is a "job half done" and criticised some members of the culture committee in a press conference at the Liberal Democrats annual autumn party conference.
The actor, who has been named as a "core participant" in the inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World and other media, said that Scotland Yard's attempt to force The Guardian to disclose the source who told it Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked was "deeply mysterious".
"It's a very worrying, upsetting development," Grant said at a packed press conference, as LibDem children's minister Sarah Teather addressed the main hall elsewhere at conference . "We had come to the view that the new inquiry… were good cops. So for them to turn on their fellow goodies in this battle is worrying and deeply mysterious."
Appearing with Martin Moore, one of the founders of the Hacked Off campaign, and Dr Evan Harris, a former LibDem MP, Grant said that he would be attending each of the party conferences in order to keep the pressure on politicians.
Think Progress: Defending Decision Not To Investigate News Corp., Issa Contradicts Own Claim That He Knows Rupert Murdoch
-By Travis Waldron
September 20, 2011- House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has refused repeated calls to investigate News Corporation over alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act tied to the British phone hacking scandal and allegations that the company hacked the phones of 9/11 victims’ families immediately after the tragedy. The investigations, Issa complains, would amount to “picking on [the] media.”
September 18, 2011- Rupert Murdoch's Fox network cut a joke by Alec Baldwin about the company's phone hacking scandal out of a skit for Sunday's Emmy Awards, causing Baldwin to pull out of the ceremony.
"Fox did kill my NewsCorp hacking joke," Baldwin wrote. "Which sucks bc I think it would have made them look better. A little."
Baldwin had made a reference to the omission in an earlier tweet, writing, "I did a short Emmy pretape a few days ago. Now they tell me NewsCorp may cut the funniest line. #NewsCorphumorlessaswellascorrupt."
-by Eric Boehlert
September 16, 2011- In another sign that allegations of News Corp. misconduct are being closely reviewed by law enforcement in the United States in the wake of the company’s sweeping phone-hacking scandal in Britain, Media Matters has learned that investigators have reached out to Robert Emmel, a former News Corp. employee turned-whistleblower.
Emmel has been a key source of insider information regarding alleged misconduct at the News Corp. subsidiary, News America, which previously admitted that its computers were used to hack into a competitor’s secure website. That revelation that has attracted new attention in recent months.
Major US banks accuse Murdoch and News Corporation of corporate misconduct extending far beyond UK
Full text of shareholders' complaint
-by Ed Pilkington
September 13, 2011- A prominent group of US banks and investment funds with substantial investments in News Corporation has issued a fresh legal complaint accusing the company of widespread corporate misconduct extending far beyond the phone-hacking excesses of News of the World.
The legal action, lodged in the Delaware courts, is led by Amalgamated Bank, a New York-based chartered bank that manages some $12bn on behalf of institutional investors and holds about 1 million shares of News Corporation common stock. Its lawsuit is aimed against the members of News Corp's board, including Rupert Murdoch himself, his sons James and Lachlan, and the media empire's chief operating officer, Chase Carey.
-By the CNN Wire Staff
September 14, 2011- London (CNN) -- News International chief executive James Murdoch is to be recalled to testify before a parliamentary committee over a phone-hacking scandal involving journalists at the now defunct News of the World newspaper, a spokesman for the panel said Tuesday.
Former senior News Corp. executive Les Hinton is also being called to appear before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, the spokesman told CNN.
James Murdoch -- who gave evidence before the parliamentary committee in July with his father Rupert -- will face fresh questions from lawmakers after Hinton testifies, provided that the latter agrees to attend, the spokesman added.
A News Corp. spokesman told CNN James Murdoch was "happy to appear in front of the committee again to answer any further questions members might have."
Lawmakers are seeking to determine whether James Murdoch misled them about the scale of illegal eavesdropping at News of the World in previous testimony.