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He's 'Never Asked A Prime Minister For Anything,' Rupert Murdoch Says

This video grab from pooled footage shows Rupert Murdoch testifying earlier today in London.
AFP/Getty Images
This video grab from pooled footage shows Rupert Murdoch testifying earlier today in London.

Among the highlights so far today during Rupert Murdoch's testimony in London before an inquiry into the ethics of the British news media, and his News Corp. tabloids in particular, is this quote from the media mogul:

"I've never asked a prime minister for anything."

NPR's David Folkenflik, who is live-tweeting, and NPR's Philip Reeves, who has been filing radio reports, will have more as the inquiry continues.

On Morning Edition today, he described Murdoch's demeanor as "soft-spoken, understated" but with "flashes of steelyness."

Philip Reeves speaks with Renee Montagne

The inquiry has also ignited a new scandal involving Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, because of emails between his office and that of James Murdoch (Rupert's son and a News Corp. executive) regarding the company's bid to take control of satellite broadcaster BSkyB. While Hunt has denied any wrongdoing, his "special adviser Adam Smith" has resigned, the BBC reports. It adds that:

"In a statement to the Commons, Mr Hunt said the 'volume and tone' of the emails which emerged at the inquiry on Tuesday were 'not appropriate.'

"Rejecting Labour calls for him to resign, he said he intended to set the record straight about his relations with News Corp on a 'number of issues' and insisted he had 'strictly followed due process.' "

News Corp., as we've been reporting for nearly a year, has been engulfed in a scandal that began with word that one of the company's tabloids — News of the World — hacked into the cellphone of a missing teenaged girl (who later, it was revealed, had been murdered). Since then, evidence has emerged that the practice was far more common than realized. Now, investigators are focusing on signs that News Corp. engaged in some quid pro quo relations with British government officials.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.