Two Former British Prime Ministers Vilify Murdoch
Two former British prime ministers have attacked Rupert Murdoch during appearances before the long-running Leveson inquiry into British journalistic ethics. Speaking passionately at the inquiry, Gordon Brown, the last Labor prime minister, accused Murdoch of lying under oath when he told the same panel that Brown made a phone call to him in late September or early October 2009 in which he threatened to "declare war" against News Corp. Murdoch described Brown as "unbalanced" during the purported conversation. Brown, however, brought along Downing Street telephone records to bolster his case that such a telephone conversation never took place. "News International have produced not one shred of evidence that a call took place, not one date for the call or time for the call." Britain's Guardian newspaper later quoted a News Corp spokesman as saying that Murdoch "stands behind his testimony." Another British Prime Minister, John Major, a member of the Conservative Party, told the inquiry, that Murdoch "disliked my European policies, which he wished me to change. If not, his papers could not and would not support the Conservative government. So far as I recall he made no mention of editorial independence but referred to all his papers as 'we.'" He added that "Murdoch and I kept our word. I made no change in policy and Mr. Murdoch's titles did indeed oppose the Conservative party."