Will the UK's Phone Hacking Scandal Touch Dow Jones' Les Hinton?
The Hollywood Reporter is asking whether the wide-ranging (and continually expanding) "phone hacking" scandal in Britain could end up tarnishing Les Hinton, head of Dow Jones.
The scandal exploded when it was reported that people working for Britain's best-selling newspaper, the weekly News of the World, had not only hacked into the private phone messages of a murdered girl but had deleted some messages, leading the girl's parents to believe their daughter might still be alive. News of the World and Dow Jones are both owned by News International, a sprawling international media company headed by Australian-turned-American Rupert Murdoch.
Earlier today, the Guardian – a competitor of News of the World that has basically led the investigative attack on the now-defunct paper – reported that "[p]olice are investigating evidence that a News International executive may have deleted millions of emails from an internal archive, in an apparent attempt to obstruct Scotland Yard's inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal." Other allegations that have been discussed by British media and government officials is the alleged payment of bribes to police officers by News of the World agents and the hacking into phones of other victims, including the families of British soldiers killed in Iraq. This week, News International announced that it was canceling the 168-year-old News of the World in the wake of the scandal. But even that move hasn't stopped party leaders in the British Parliament from calling for the resignation of the head of News International's UK papers, and it is unknown whether the purchase of the remaining shares of satellite company BSkyB that Murdoch doesn't already own will be derailed by this mess.
Les Hinton's being dragged into the sordid mess because, reports The Hollywood Reporter, he twice testified before Parliament about a News of the World reporter implicated in a different round of phone hacking. He also used to be responsible for the paper in question. "At News International [Hinton] oversaw The Times, The Sunday Times and the tabloid paper The Sun, as well as The News of the World. Parliament member John Whittingdale, who chairs a subcommittee before which Hinton appeared, said that given the events of this week, Hinton's statements 'now look increasingly unconvincing.' But he added, 'Les gave very clear assurances that he himself was not involved, and I have no reason to doubt that,' " according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Hinton visited The Commonwealth Club in May of this year to talk about "Technology, Mobility and Accelerating the Collective Intelligence." You can watch video of his speech.