Michael Wolff, author of a 2008 Murdoch biography, says the hacking scandal could take down Rupert Murdoch's son James and perhaps Les Hinton, one of Murdoch's longest-serving lieutenants.
Rupert Murdoch has already shut the News of the World (NotW), the biggest selling newspaper in the UK, in response to the unfolding scandal over unethical practices at newspapers owned by News International, a UK subsidiary of his News Corporation. Today there were allegations that two other of his UK papers engaged in illegal practices. Murdoch was summoned to testify before parliament next week.
Monitor correspondent Jason Walsh has been tracking the scandal and caught up with Michael Wolff today. The entrepreneur and columnist wrote "The Man Who Owns the News," a 2008 biography of Mr. Murdoch. He spent hours with Murdoch while working on the book and wrote that "every second working for Murdoch is a second spent thinking about what Murdoch wants," something to think about as questions are asked about how high up responsibility for the papers' actions should run.
He spoke to Jason by telephone, ironically enough from Murdoch's New York headquarters (where Wolff was waiting for an interview with Murdoch's Sky News).
JW: Is this fatal for News International as part of News Corp?
MW: "Fatal" seems harsh. I think the company is not going to die because of this, but it may well be true [that it is fatal] to the [current] management of this company. I don't know how James Murdoch can recover from this. I think his credibility is damaged. As for Rupert: What did he know? One of the things we're also seeing is Rupert looks his age. There are legitimate questions that can be asked about who's running things.