Rupert Murdoch and Co. Admit Celebrity Phone Hack; David Paterson Eyeing Move to Radio

Rupert Murdoch's News International, which owns News of the World, one of England's biggest tabloids, apologized on Friday for hacking into celebrity voicemails, ending a months-long scandal that included some of the world's top athletes and royalty, as well as Murdoch's gigantic empire, still attempting expansion in the UK market. In a statement today, the company said it has "decided to approach some civil litigants with an unreserved apology and an admission of liability in cases meeting specific criteria," calling the misdeeds "a matter of genuine regret." The company previously blamed a "rogue" reporter and investigator, but seem now to just want the whole thing over with. Why? It's probably not the royal wedding! More inside a Friday afternoon edition of Press Clips, our daily media column.

Foul Play: This week, two more News of the World journalists were arrested, all but decimating the "rogue" reporter defense. The company "would not say Friday why it had made the decision to apologize now, although the search of the newsroom is likely to have shaken the tabloid," the New York Times reports, also noting that a judge recently ordered the newspaper to turn over hundreds of thousands of emails.

"I suspect they were forced into making this move as an effort to try and manage a situation that is going against them," said one of the prosecuting attorneys. "The publicity has probably been very damaging."

But moreover, it may have gotten in the way of business in a more cornet way. Murdoch is in the process of acquiring British Sky Broadcasting, a.k.a. BSkyB, adding the TV company to an already huge media arsenal. Reuters reports that British Home Secretary John Prescott wrote on Twitter, "The NOTW (News of the World) has now admitted mass criminality. The Gvt should NOT approve Murdoch's bid for BSkyB until all investigations are complete."

But the sooner News International settles -- they hope to give less than $33 million to the victims -- the sooner they can get back to their standard shadiness, making the big bucks in peace.

A Face For Radio: Ex-New York Governor David Paterson recently hosted a show at WFAN all by himself, telling FishbbowlNY that as a child, his blindness drew him to radio. "That's how I heard the news," he says. Now he's considering making his longtime passion a job, according to the interview.

"All these different groups tell me, 'Oh, you should keep doing this. You're a natural,'" he says. "At this point, I've done it so much, I guess I would actually ... have to seriously think about it," Paterson continues. "I'm obviously drawn to it."

"Right now, I prefer being a morning show host to being governor," he jokes. Read the rest here.

Tribe War: If you're the kind of person that has kept up at all with either the ongoing Huffington Post battle against the New York Times, often on the subject of aggregation, or yesterday's attack on "Journalism 2.0," then this blog entry from John McQuad is a must-read. He writes:

Markets, technology, clicks and eyeballs aren't personal. Attacking individuals instead of acknowledging this reality is unserious. The problem here is oversimplifying and anthropomorphizing complex forces, putting a human face on uncontrollable trends the writer disdains. This a common feature of politics - which should tell you something. It's a terrible way to do journalism.

If any of this tickles you at all, don't miss the whole thing.

Outsourcing: Lady Gaga will guest edit an edition of Metro in May, but the paper will still sit crumbled on your subway seat.

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]


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