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‘I Failed,’ Murdoch Says of Tabloid Scandal While Denying Part in Wrongdoing

April 26, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT

JEFFREY BROWN: And we turn to the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal in Britain. Today, 81-year-old media magnate Rupert Murdoch took the stand for a second day, as a judicial panel continued its probe.

We begin with a report from Paul Davies of Independent Television News.

PAUL DAVIES: Darkened windows offered some protection from the attention of the photographers, but Rupert Murdoch always knew this was the uncomfortable day he’d have to explain the criminality that took place at a newspaper he owned.

Addressing the phone hacking at the News of the World, he made a blunt admission.

RUPERT MURDOCH, chairman and CEO, News Corporation: I have to admit that some newspapers are closer to my heart than others, but I also have to say that I failed.

MAN: That may be. And. . .

RUPERT MURDOCH: And I’m very sorry about it.

PAUL DAVIES: He conceded there had been a cover-up of the criminal activities at the News of the World, but then claimed he and those at the top of his empire had also been victims of it.

RUPERT MURDOCH: I think the senior executives were all misinformed and shielded from anything that was going on there. I do blame one or two people for that. There’s no question in my mind that maybe even the editor, but certainly beyond that, someone took charge of a cover-up.

PAUL DAVIES: The media tycoon said his mistake was being more interested in the other newspapers in his stable.

When allegations were first made against the News of the World’s former royal editor Clive Goodman, he says he personally should have taken charge.

RUPERT MURDOCH: I should have gone there and thrown all the damn lawyers out of the place, and seen Mr. Goodman one on one.

PAUL DAVIES: He admitted it was the public outrage at the hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone that drove him to close the News of the World.

RUPERT MURDOCH: To say it succinctly, I panicked. But I’m glad I did. Only, I’m sorry I didn’t close it years before, and put a Sunday Sun in. This whole business of the News of the World is a serious blot on my reputation.

PAUL DAVIES: His evidence had taken seven hours to give.

RUPERT MURDOCH: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.

PAUL DAVIES: It had been part contrition, but 100 percent a denial of any personal knowledge or involvement in wrongdoing.