Murdoch’s newspaper empire threatened from within

Jeremy Hobson Feb 16, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: Rupert Murdoch is expected in London today where he’ll face some angry employees. Nine journalists from his U.K. tabloid The Sun have been arrested in the last few weeks after Murdoch’s own company — News Corporation — turned them in for alleged corruption. This is of course related to allegations of phone-hacking by reporters at News Corp.

Roy Greenslade is the former editor of the British tabloid The Mirror, and now a professor of journalism at City University in London. He joins us now. Good morning.

Roy Greenslade: Good morning.

Hobson: So it sounds like this scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s publications is very different today than it was just a few months ago.

Greenslade: Yes it’s expanded out from his Sunday newspaper, which he had to close. And now the heat is turned on his daily newspaper — the hugely successful, high-selling Sun — where there are allegations now that journalists have been for many years bribing public officials to obtain information.

This has led to the arrest of nine Sun journalists — high-ranking, way up to the deputy editor level. And now, Murdoch finds himself in a strange situation where one half of his company is helping the police and the other half — the Sun journalists — are extremely upset that their colleagues are being arrested on this information.

Hobson: Rupert Murdoch, obviously, is a very powerful man all around the world. Is this scandal at this point threatening his power, and his entire empire?

Greenslade: It’s quite clear that he’s in a strange situation where he appears to have lost control of his newspaper empire. His own Sun newspaper ran an article on Monday by an associate editor in which he referred to a “little local difficulty” — a code for saying that they were in fact under siege from their own side. So this civil war at his own company is something that he needs to deal with, but it’s going to be a tough task.

Hobson: Roy Greenslade is former editor of The Mirror, the British tabloid, and he’s also a professor of journalism. Thanks so much.

Greenslade: Thank you.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.