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Murdoch: News Corp. handled crisis 'well'

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman and top executive, said his company would survive the phone-hacking scandal that devoured one of his British tabloids. UPI /Laura Cavanaugh
Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman and top executive, said his company would survive the phone-hacking scandal that devoured one of his British tabloids. UPI /Laura Cavanaugh | License Photo

NEW YORK, July 15 (UPI) -- Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman and top executive, said his company would survive the phone-hacking scandal that devoured one of his British tabloids.

Murdoch said News Corp. has handled the crisis "extremely well in every way possible" and made only "minor mistakes" in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, another News Corp. property. The interview was published Friday.

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While defending the company's handling of phone-hacking allegations of its now-closed British tabloid News of the World, Murdoch said News Corp. would set up an independent committee to "investigate every charge of improper conduct."

The controversy focuses on shady reporting tactics at News of the World that recently prompted News Corp. to fold the Sunday tabloid and walk away from one its attempt to take full control of British Sky Broadcasting Group.

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Murdoch told the Journal the damage to the company is "nothing that will not be recovered."

"We have a reputation of great good works in this country."

He said he was more "annoyed" than anything about all the negative reporting about News of the World, its former editors and News Corp.

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"I'll get over it," Murdoch said. "I'm tired."

Murdoch said his son, James, won't be changing his role as News Corp.'s top officer in Europe, rejecting criticism that the younger Murdoch was too slow in dealing with the scandal.

"I think he acted as fast as he could, the moment he could," Murdoch said.

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The media mogul said he thought he acted appropriately.

"[When] I hear something going wrong, I insist on it being put right," he said.

Murdoch said he agreed to appear before a House of Commons committee next week after initially declining because he wants to address "some of the things that have been said in Parliament, some of which are total lies. We think it's important to absolutely establish our integrity in the eyes of the public. … I felt that it's best just to be as transparent as possible."

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He singled out former British Prime Minster Gordon Brown, who has claimed his phone and other information were obtained illegally by reporters of both News of the World and the Sunday Times, another News International property.

"He got it entirely wrong," Murdoch said, adding his family and the Browns were friendly until one of the company's tabloids withdrew support for the Labor Party before the last election.

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