Former editor says Murdoch sowed seeds of hacking scandal

LONDON Fri May 18, 2012 7:44am BST

News Corporation Chief Executive and Chairman, Rupert Murdoch, leaves with his wife Wendi after giving evidence for the second day at the Leveson Inquiry at the High Court in London April 26, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

News Corporation Chief Executive and Chairman, Rupert Murdoch, leaves with his wife Wendi after giving evidence for the second day at the Leveson Inquiry at the High Court in London April 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Olivia Harris

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LONDON (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch sowed the seeds of the phone hacking scandal that has tarnished his reputation by forcing Britain's most respected newspapers into "a Faustian bargain" with the powerful, a former editor of the Times newspaper said on Thursday.

Harry Evans told a British media inquiry how as editor of the Times he battled attempts by Murdoch to compel him to support Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

At the Leveson inquiry last month, Murdoch denied influencing the editorial stance of the Times papers. News Corp could not be immediately reached for comment on Evans' comments.

Evans is now editor at large for Reuters, which is owned by Thomson Reuters. The Thomson family, who owned the Times and the Sunday Times before Murdoch acquired them, controls Thomson Reuters.

Expressing disgust at a fall in journalistic standards that he said Murdoch helped stoke by fostering a culture of trifling scandal, Evans said reporters needed principles to prevent them getting too close to the powerful.

"It's a Faustian bargain when you get too intimate with politicians, it serves neither the politicians or the press well for the relationship to get to be one of complicity," Evans, 83, told the inquiry in the High Court.

"What happened in 1981 is entirely relevant to today, it's a manifestation of the same culture of too close a connection between a powerful media group and politicians," Evans said of his experience working as Times editor.

Evans edited the Sunday Times from 1967-1981. He agreed to edit the Times when offered the job by Murdoch but he only lasted a year. He stood down in 1982 in protest against what he saw as Murdoch's interference in editorial policy.

(Additional reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Martin Howell and John Mair)

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Comments (1)
Herby wrote:
At last someone who appears to have professional judgement and ethics.

This whole saga is down to two things Money & Power.

Murdoch has acquired both but wants more, those that have been hurt along the way have ALL accepted hard cash for their woes which makes them no different to Murdoch, none of these ‘hurt’ people have held to their principals to go for a prosecution, in Japan it’s called blood-money for a reason.

All the politicians and those in positions of influence and public office, whether a police sergeant being paid £1000 for a number plate check or David Cameron or Tony Blair on a Murdoch yacht accepting hospitality are all guilty of complacency and have been happy to be part of the gravy train.

Everyone is as guilty as each other, including the people who purchase the papers or watch the programs.

A complete waste of time, waste of money and we all have to face it that this is what makes the world go around, Money & Power, always has always will, we will never have a world full of honourable men and woman such as Harry, it may sound a desirable goal, but there would be no need for papers!

Whether the politicians like it or not they need Murdoch’s papers and they all know it.

May 18, 2012 9:39am BST  --  Report as abuse
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