*What's behind the sudden contrition at News Corp.?

From the NYT:

The public apologies seemed to follow News Corporation's acknowledgment that it had hired the public relations firm Edelman to handle the crisis. It appeared to reflect a strategy to tamp down a scandal that has already forced the closure closing of The News of the World, a tabloid, and the collapse of a $12 billion bid to assume full control of Britain's biggest satellite broadcaster. The head of crisis management at the firm, Mike Seymour, declined to comment on any work for Mr. Murdoch's company, saying "I'm sure you understand."

I wouldn't begin to speculate on what's happening behind the scenes, other than to note that CEO Rupert Murdoch sounded defensive in yesterday's interview with the WSJ, and today his tone seemed more somber.

The departure of [Dow Jones CEO] Les Hinton] and [Rebekah Brooks] began a day of stepped-up damage control by Mr. Murdoch, the chairman of News Corporation, who on Friday released a copy of an apologetic note to be published in all British newspapers over the weekend. He also visited the family of a murdered 13-year-old girl, Milly Dowler, whose voice mail was hacked by reporters at The News of the World while she was still listed as missing. According to the Dowler family's lawyer, Mark Lewis, Mr. Murdoch offered a sincere apology for the actions of his employees, who deleted phone messages after the girl's mailbox had been filled, so they could collect more messages from concerned family members. Mr. Lewis said that Mr. Murdoch apologized "many times," The Associated Press reported, and that he was "very humbled, he was very shaken and he was very sincere."

By the way, Reuters blogger Felix Salmon thinks it's possible that both Rupert and his son James will ultimately resign from News Corp., with a non-family member perhaps taking over on an interim basis.

*Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff tweets:

From a source inside News Corp: "Holy shit. Oh man. Those shells are landing closer and closer. "

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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