U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, who chairs the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, called today for the federal government to investigate possible wrongdoing by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (and its many subsidiaries) in the United States.
Rockefeller is among the first elected leaders in the United States to weigh in on the News of the World phone hacking scandal, which has revealed that the Australian media mogul’s U.K. holdings have been operating for years as a criminal enterprise.
“The reported hacking by News Corporation newspapers against a range of individuals — including children — is offensive and a serious breach of journalistic ethics,” Rockefeller said in a statement released by the committee.
“This raises serious questions about whether the company has broken U.S. law, and I encourage the appropriate agencies to investigate to ensure that Americans have not had their privacy violated. I am concerned that the admitted phone hacking in London by the News Corp. may have extended to 9⁄11 victims or other Americans. If they did, the consequences will be severe.”
Meanwhile, over in the United Kingdom, Parliament appears set to vote on a simple motion urging News Corporation to drop its bid for British Sky Broadcasting (popularly known as BSkyB). The Guardian reports:
Rupert Murdoch will today face the humiliation of the Commons issuing a unanimous all-party call for his scandal-ridden News Corporation to withdraw its £8bn bid for BSkyB, the great commercial prize he has been pursuing to cement his dominance of the British media landscape.
In an extraordinary volte-face, David Cameron will disown the media tycoon by leading his party through the lobbies to urge him to drop the bid. Murdoch can defy parliament and press ahead with the bid, prompting a Competition Commission inquiry, but he risks finding himself ostracised by a political class that once scrambled to bend to his wishes.
Labour leader Ed Milliband released the text of the motion that he and his party want Parliament to vote on. It is extremely short and reads as follows:
This House believes that it is in the public interest for Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation to withdraw their bid for BSkyB.