Rupert Murdoch has spoken out for the first time since the phone hacking scandal exploded in Britain.
In an interview with his own Wall Street Journal, Murdoch said that he thinks his company, News Corp, has handled the crisis surrounding it "extremely well" and has only made "minor mistakes," and that the organization will bounce back.
That may raise some eyebrows, though in some ways there is little any company could have done to stem the rising tide of public and political outrage that the scandal has engendered in past weeks. Murdoch himself has cut a rather elusive figure, being mostly photographed coming in and out of cars and making no extended public statements. When News Corp withdrew its $12 billion bid for BSkyB, it was the company's COO Chase Carey who released a statement, not Murdoch himself. He also tried to avoid appearing before the House of Commons to give evidence about the scandal until, in a move that is rarely required, a personal representative from the chamber turned up at his office with a summons. Murdoch told the paper that he wanted to clear up "lies" that had been told about him in Parliament.
The interview with the Journal was presumably conducted before news broke that the FBI is conducting an investigation into News Corp's alleged hacking of the phones of 9/11 victims. Murdoch did not address those claims, but said he was setting up an independent committee to investigate the company's misconduct.
The reports, he said, were "pure rubbish. Pure and total rubbish." In addition, Murdoch pledged his loyalty to his son, James, who has been deeply implicated in the hacking scandal.