Two articles in the FT yesterday suggest that the intense spotlight shining on the News of the World (NOTW) phone hacking scandal has now turned towards Les Hinton, CEO of Dow Jones. Mr Hinton was Executive Chairman of News International, publisher of NOTW, from 1995 to 2007, during which time the alleged crimes were committed. Mr Hinton told a House of Commons Culture Committee inquiry in 2007 that a thorough internal investigation had been carried out and that he was "absolutely convinced" that the hacking was the work of one rogue reporter.
The headline of one of the FT articles is "Loyal Lieutenant Faces Being 'Sacrificed'." Hinton has worked for Rupert Murdoch, Chairman of News Corp which owns both Dow Jones and News International, for 52 years and was due to retire next year. Mr Murdoch flew into London at the weekend and made it clear that Rebekah Brooks, the current CEO of News International, still has his support. Apparently when asked what his first priority was he pointed to Mrs Brooks and said "this one." The FT quotes two people who are apparently familiar with the company: "Les [Hinton] will be sacrificed to save James [Murdoch] and Rebekah" said one, while the other said "It happened on Les's watch. James was not even a director of News Corp at the time." It may not be a case of Hinton being sacrificed but rather of Murdoch being unable to save him if it transpires that he was involved in a cover-up.
This morning there appears to be no mention on the Wall Street Journal's website (http://www.wsj.com/) that Mr Hinton could face renewed questioning about the affair. WSJ is published by Dow Jones