After scandals, British media at rock bottom in public esteem
by Robert Barr
Associated Press Writer
November 13, 2012 12:34 AM | 771 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LONDON — Few seem to be enjoying the management meltdown at the venerable BBC more than Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp. chief whose rival British newspapers have been caught up in their own lengthy, embarrassing and expensive phone-hacking scandal.

But the troubles for both media organizations highlight that the news industry in Britain is at rock-bottom in public esteem, and could face increased restrictions from the government of Prime Minister David Cameron, which appears convinced it has been unable to police itself.

The British Broadcasting Corp. has moved into full-bore damage control since it retracted mistaken allegations by its marquee news program that a politician sexually abused children. That serious mistake followed the BBC’s earlier failure to report on widespread child sex abuse allegations against one of its biggest stars, the late Jimmy Savile.

“BBC mess gives Cameron golden opportunity (to) properly reorganize great public broadcaster,” Murdoch tweeted gleefully Sunday.

The scandal follows several years of turmoil over the phone-hacking scandal, which exploded with the discovery that employees of Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid hacked into a kidnapped girl’s mobile phone. The scandal widened when scores of celebrities, sports stars and politicians said they, too, had been hacked. The tabloid folded, Murdoch’s media paid out millions in compensation and still faces scores of lawsuits. Several news executives have been arrested.

A report due this month from Lord Justice Brian Leveson, based on months of jarring testimony about wrongdoing by Murdoch’s reporters and others, may prompt the government to impose statutory regulation on the British print press, which is overseen by an industry watchdog.

Many say the reputation of the British media is at an all-time low.
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