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Media Watch: Murdoch Update; Brooks Resigns; Murdoch's Apology UPDATED

Thompson on Hollywood By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood July 15, 2011 at 4:59AM

Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International, has resigned. Brooks was editor of the News of the World from 2000 to 2003, during the time that the phone of murder victim Milly Dowler was hacked. In her interoffice memo, deciphered line by line by The Guardian, Brooks claims that she resigned because she was a distraction in the media, writing: “My desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate.” Another resignation in the phone scandal story reveals the growing pressure on Murdoch's beleaguered U.K. media group. Here's a colorful Guardian Brooks profile.
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Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood

Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International, has resigned. Brooks was editor of the News of the World from 2000 to 2003, during the time that the phone of murder victim Milly Dowler was hacked. In her interoffice memo, deciphered line by line by The Guardian, Brooks claims that she resigned because she was a distraction in the media, writing: “My desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate.” Another resignation in the phone scandal story reveals the growing pressure on Murdoch's beleaguered U.K. media group. Here's a colorful Guardian Brooks profile.

UPDATE: Murdoch's apology will run as an ad in Sunday's U.K. papers (full text below).

FURTHER UPDATE: The Huffington Post reports that the News Corps owned Fox and Friends has defended the scandal by dismissing its importance. Co-host Steve Doocy along with his guest Dilenschneider shrugged off the cell phone scandal, saying, "We've got some serious problems in this country... and what do they do? They talk about this."

FUTHER UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times reports that Les Hinton, one of News Corp.'s top senior executives and publisher of the Wall Street Journal, has also resigned.

Rupert Murdoch 'sorry' ad

According to Variety, Brooks will be replaced by Tom Mockridge of Sky Italia; Mockridge will assume Brook’s position as CEO of News International immediately.

Reuters reports that both Rupert Murdoch and his son James will now attend a British parliamentary hearing that will investigate instances of criminality at News of the World. They initially turned down this request.A string of British politicians have stepped up to criticize and condemn Murdoch, from an impassioned Gordon Brown (video below) to British Business Secretary Vince Cable to BBC Radio, who said that the atmosphere was "a little bit like the end of a dictatorship when everyday suddenly discovers they were against the dictator."

On this side of the pond the fallout has just started...the FBI is looking into reports that Murdoch’s News Corporation might have hacked phones of 9/11 victims. Here's more on news gathering methods at the NY Post.

Meanwhile, journalists at the esteemed Wall Street Journal are struggling to cover the scandal of their own boss and survive in the process. In an interview with his own paper, Murdoch vehemently defended the way his company handled the scandal, saying only “minor mistakes” were made in the media crisis.

NPR's interview with Ken Auletta features a clear-eyed perspective on News Corp and Fox News' influence within the US and how the fallout might affect the media conglomerate's holdings in the States.

Not everyone’s reputation has been shattered; The Hollywood Reporter writes that Chase Carey, Murdoch's deputy chairman, president, and chief operating officer, might emerge from the wreckage with an even better reputation. The No. 2 at the company now has a reputation of keeping the company on track.

This article is related to: Studios, Video, Media, Twentieth Century Fox


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.