The Guardian: News International braced as lawyer brings phone-hacking scandal to US

Lawyer's visit brings UK scandal to Rupert Murdoch's front door and raises prospect of lawsuits involving US legal system

-By Ed Pilkington

April 11, 2012- Mark Lewis, the lawyer who has been at the forefront of efforts to expose the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, is poised to bring the battle for legal redress across the Atlantic and to the doorstep of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Lewis will arrive in the US on Saturday and next week will begin legal discussions in New York, just a stone's throw away from News Corporation's global headquarters on Sixth Avenue. His arrival constitutes a major escalation in the legal ramifications of the hacking scandal for Murdoch, who has tried desperately to keep it away from the American core of his multi-billion-dollar media holdings.

Details remain sketchy about precisely what Lewis intends to do in the US, but the Guardian has learned that he will be having legal discussions that could lead to several lawsuits being lodged with the New York courts. The direct involvement of the US judicial system in allegations of illegal activity by News Corp employees would bring the scandal dramatically closer to Murdoch's adopted home.

Huffington Post: James Murdoch Out As BSkyB Chairman: Reports

-By Robert Barr and Jill Lawless

April 3, 2012- Once his father's heir apparent, James Murdoch stepped down Tuesday as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting, surrendering one of the biggest jobs in the Murdoch media empire in a bid to distance the broadcaster from a deepening phone hacking scandal.

James Murdoch's credibility and competence have come under severe questioning because of the phone hacking crisis and alleged bribery by British newspapers while he was in charge, and he faces further questioning in the scandal.

"I am aware that my role as chairman could become a lightning rod for BSkyB and I believe that my resignation will help to ensure that there is no false conflation with events at a separate organization," the 39-year-old Murdoch said.

Tuesday's announcement was just the latest in a string of setbacks for James Murdoch, who has been shedding titles since the scandal heated up.

At the end of February, he quit as chairman of News International, the company's troubled British newspaper subsidiary, a move cast as allowing Rupert Murdoch's younger son to focus on News Corp.'s extensive TV holdings. He has also stepped down from the boards of auctioneer Sotheby's and pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline PLC.

MSNBC: Phone hacking lawsuits to be filed in US courts

-By Alastair Jamieson

April 12, 2012- LONDON -- Lawsuits over alleged phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation are to be filed in United States courts for the first time.

Mark Lewis, the lawyer who has been at the forefront of efforts to expose phone hacking at newspapers opened by News Corporation's British subsidiary, expects to file civil lawsuits on behalf of three alleged victims.

One is believed to be connected to the late Diana, Princess of Wales and the Royal household while a second is linked to the England soccer team. The third is described as a "Hollywood case" because the individual was in contact with a celebrity. All three claim that the offenses took place while they were on American soil.

The threat of legal action in the U.S. is likely to expose News Corp to further embarrassing claims and bring the scandal closer to its headquarters in New York.

Lewis was flying to San Francisco Thursday, from where he will travel next week to New York in order to meet with U.S. lawyers to discuss the cases.

Gawker: How Sean Hannity Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Teleprompters

What follows is a dispatch from Joe Muto, otherwise known as the Fox Mole. It was to be the third in a series of anonymous columns Muto was planning on writing for Gawker from inside Fox News. After being discovered yesterday evening, Muto was fired by Fox effective today. Soon he will write a fuller accounting of his time at Fox and why he chose to leave in the way that he did.

Sean Hannity's interviews are a source of embarrassment for many of us at the network. Even those ideologically sympathetic to him joke about the ostentatiously friendly treatment he routinely gives Republican candidates. Not that anyone at the network is in the business of grilling GOPers, of course. But Bret Baier and Chris Wallace have been known to make politicians on the right squirm in their seats every once in a while. Hell, even O'Reilly seems to know that you've got to give the interviewee a little bit of chin music, if only to give yourself cover later when someone questions your credibility.

Gawker: Here’s a Picture of Bill O’Reilly With a Topless Woman Along With the Fox News Legal Threat Meant to Quash It

Hey, look what just came in through the Gawker mailbag from the good people at Epstein Becker & Green P.C.: "Gawker should immediately stop publishing information and videos that have been unlawfully obtained by or from Joe Muto, and return them to Fox News." I'm pretty sure they're referring to this, this, this, and this. Or at the very least, they're talking about this photo of Bill O'Reilly frolicking with his bros and some half-naked lady. We'll explain where it came from later.

TVNewser: Fox News Mole Reveals Himself as 8-Year Employee, Worked on ‘The O’Reilly Factor’

-By Chris Ariens

April 11, 2012- The Fox News employee hired by Gawker to write about his experience inside the network has revealed himself as an associate producer on “The O’Reilly Factor.” Joe Muto, who joined Fox News in 2004, says he has been suspended, with pay and was escorted out of Fox News headquarters today by “two nice gentlemen from security.”

At 8:42pm tonight, Muto wrote on Gawker:

Two hours ago I was called into a meeting with Dianne Brandi, the Fox News Executive Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs and suspended indefinitely… with pay, oddly enough. They nailed me.

I am a weasel, a traitor, a sell-out and every bad word you can throw at me… but as of today, I am free, and I am ready to tell my story, which I wasn’t able to fully do for the previous 36 hours.

Muto signs off, “Stay tuned for much, much more tomorrow.”

FULL STORY HERE:

Mediaite: Fox News Spokesperson Tells Mediaite: We Found The Mole

-by Jon Bershad

April 11, 2012- So, when we asked readers how long it would take for Fox News to find the mole that Gawker had in their midst, did anyone put money down on “24 hours”? If so, it would appear that you just won the jackpot. A Fox News spokesperson revealed to Mediaite that they have already discovered the mole’s identity.

Here is the brief statement from the spokesperson:

“We found the person and we’re exploring legal options at this time.”

More on this story as it develops.

UPDATE: Shortly after we published the statement from Fox News, Gawker posted a statement of their own, purportedly from the still-free mole.

“If Fox has smoked me out, it’s news to me. I’m still here. Back to work.”

We have contacted Fox News and are awaiting a response.

We told you this whole thing would be fun to watch.

FULL STORY HERE:

Gawker: Hi Roger. It’s Me, Joe: The Fox Mole

April 11, 2012- Hi. My name is Joe Muto. I was the Fox Mole.

Two hours ago I was called into a meeting with Dianne Brandi, the Fox News Executive Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs and suspended indefinitely... with pay, oddly enough.

They nailed me.

In the end, it was the digital trail that gave me away. They knew that someone, using my computer login, had accessed the sources for two videos that ended up on Gawker over the past few weeks. They couldn't prove it entirely, but I was pretty much the only suspect.

I denied it, which is why they didn't fire me outright. But two nice gentlemen from security escorted me to my desk to pack up my stuff, and it was pretty obvious at that point that I would not be setting foot back into 1211 Avenue of the Americas again.

So here I am. That's me in the photo, sitting in the Gawker offices, with a portrait of a rather mischievous looking Roger Ailes behind me. He was my ultimate boss for the past 8 years.

Gawker: The Thin White Line That Separates Fox News Staffers From Bill O’Reilly on the Shitter

What follows is the second installment from the Fox Mole, a Gawker columnist and current employee of Fox News Channel. Here's the inaugural column.

April 11, 2012- Fox HQ in New York is a truly soul-crushing workplace. Our building is connected to the labyrinthine system of tunnels radiating out from Rockefeller Center, which means I can go straight from the train into the News Corp. building without going above ground. At first this seems like a convenience ("I don't have to go out in the cold!") but eventually it just adds to the depression ("I literally have not seen the sun once since I left my apartment this morning.")

The basement newsroom is dreary, with no windows, fluorescent lighting, and constant worrying about an infestation from bedbugs, mice or some other vermin. Nobody really has a lunch break, so we bolt down our food at our desks like convicts and toss our sandwich wrappers and salad bowls into the wastepaper baskets under our desks, creating a tasty daily buffet for insects.

Gawker: Announcing Our Newest Hire: A Current Fox News Channel Employee

What follows is the inaugural column of a person we are calling The Fox Mole—a long-standing, current employee of Fox News Channel who will be providing Gawker with regular dispatches from inside the organization.

I always intended to keep my mouth shut. The plan was simple: get hired, keep my head down and my views to myself, work for a few months, build my resume, then eventually hop to a new job that didn't make me cringe every morning when I looked in the mirror.

That was years ago. My cringe muscles have turned into crow's feet. The ten resumes a month I was sending out dwindled into five, then two, then one, then zero. No one wants me. I'm blacklisted.

I work at Fox News Channel.

Media Matters: CNN's Kurtz: Officials At Murdoch's Sky News "Reserve The Right To Break The Law"

-by Jeremy Holden

April 8, 2012- CNN's Howard Kurtz admonished officials at Sky News, a News Corp.-owned British news channel, for "saying they reserve the right to break the law" after it emerged that officials there acknowledged hacking into private emails.

Officials at the News Corp. channel confirmed this week that on at least two occasions, reporters illegally hacked into private email accounts. 

Sky News head John Ryley made clear that the hacking was authorized and said that they "stand behind these actions as editorially justified and in the public interest." Kurtz on Sunday called that justification "bloody rubbish."

Washington Post: Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News acknowledges hacking emails, says it was in public interest

April 5, 2012- (AP) Rupert Murdoch’s British satellite news channel on Thursday became the latest branch of the mogul’s global media empire to acknowledge bending the rules in an effort to stay ahead.

Sky News admitted its reporters hacked emails on two separate occasions, insisting that it was done in the public interest.

But legal experts said that’s no defense, the police are investigating, and Murdoch’s goal of taking full control of Sky News’ profitable parent company, British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, may be at risk.

“It seems less likely, and it may not be in their best interest,” said Michael J. Mannor, an assistant professor of business strategy at the University of Notre Dame. “News Corp. is under a lot of pressure in a lot of different ways.... It’s important for a news media organization to have the trust of the public, and that’s been a big struggle.”

Shares in BSkyB fell 5 percent following the revelations but recovered somewhat in late afternoon trading, closing down about 2.4 percent at 642.5 pence ($10.16).

Huffington Post: Murdoch's Sky News Admits To Hacking

-By Raphael Satter

April 5, 2012- Rupert Murdoch's British satellite news channel on Thursday became the latest branch of the mogul's global media empire to acknowledge bending the rules in an effort to stay ahead.

Sky News admitted its reporters hacked emails on two separate occasions, insisting that it was done in the public interest.

But legal experts said that's no defense, the police are investigating, and Murdoch's goal of taking full control of Sky News' profitable parent company, British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, may be at risk.

"It seems less likely, and it may not be in their best interest," said Michael J. Mannor, an assistant professor of business strategy at the University of Notre Dame. "News Corp. is under a lot of pressure in a lot of different ways.... It's important for a news media organization to have the trust of the public, and that's been a big struggle."

Shares in BSkyB fell 5 percent following the revelations but recovered somewhat in late afternoon trading, closing down about 2.4 percent at 642.5 pence ($10.16).

Reuters: James Murdoch's BSkyB exit puts Rupert in firing line

-By Georgina Prodhan and Kate Holton

April 5, 2012- James Murdoch's exit from the chairmanship of BSkyB moves his father Rupert into the firing line in Britain, just as an inquiry into a phone-hacking scandal turns its focus on his peculiar influence in the country.

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp's chief executive, is due to appear this month before a judge-led inquiry into ethics and standards in the press, which will be turning its attention to newspaper proprietors and politicians.

So far, James has taken most of the heat for a scandal over phone hacking at the Murdochs' best-selling Sunday tabloid, the News of the World. Rupert's youngest son ran the family's newspaper publisher News International when the scandal erupted last year, and has faced hard questions about how much he knew about illegal activity.

But media experts say the inquiry, which has a broad brief to examine the press, is now turning to the fundamental problem of the sway media barons hold over politicians.

"If we are talking about influencing politicians from Margaret Thatcher onwards, then it is Rupert, not James, who was, is and will be 'in the frame'," says Ivor Gaber, political journalism professor at London's City University.