Murdoch meets UK executive embroiled in scandal

Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:52pm EDT
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By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) - Media baron Rupert Murdoch flew into London on Sunday to tackle a phone-hacking scandal that has sent tremors through the British political establishment and may cost him a multi-billion dollar broadcasting deal.

Murdoch, 80, swept into his London headquarters in the front passenger seat of a car, holding up the final edition of the best-selling News of the World, the newspaper he bought in 1969 that became the foundation stone of his international media empire, which he closed last week in a bid to stem the crisis.

Murdoch later travelled across the city to his London home where he was joined by his embattled newspaper group chief executive Rebekah Brooks, and then crossed the road to a hotel

with his arm around her. Murdoch's son and heir apparent, James, later entered the hotel by a side door, witnesses said.

Best known for its lurid headlines exposing misadventures of the rich, royal and famous, the last News of the World said simply "Thank You & Goodbye" over a montage of some of its most celebrated splashes of the past 168 years. For admirers it had been a stock feature of lazy Sundays, for critics it had become a symbol of craven irresponsibility in the British media.

"All human life was here," the paper declared.

Only last week, Rupert Murdoch had seemed on the point of clinching approval for a cherished prize, the buyout of broadcaster BSkyB. But revelations that phone-hacking had extended beyond celebrities to a murdered girl and to relatives of victims of the 2005 London bomb attacks and of soldiers killed in action stirred broad public anger.

Editor Colin Myler told media massed outside the newspaper's offices: "This is not where we wanted to be and it's not where we deserve to be, but as a final tribute to 7.5 million readers, this is for you and for the staff, thank you."   Continued...

<p>News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch leaves his flat with Rebekah Brooks, Chief Executive of News International, in central London July 10, 2011. REUTERS/Olivia Harris</p>