Resignations rock Murdoch media empire

Every day, this story intensifies a little more. Today, it was more than a little.

Les Hinton, the chairman of Dow Jones, announced his resignation on Friday, joining Rebekah Brooks, the embattled chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper operations, in the exodus of top officials from Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

Mr. Hinton, a long-time confidant of Mr. Murdoch, ran News International, the British publishing subsidiary of Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation from 1997 to 2005, during the time when the phone hacking that touched off the scandal took place.

For his part, Hinton headed News Corp’s News International unit when the phone-hacking allegations first arose, and came under increasing scrutiny this week when it appeared Hinton may have misled a parliamentary committee about the controversy.

Brooks, meanwhile, was a top Murdoch lieutenant and former editor at the now-closed News of the World tabloid.

Of course, Murdoch is not completely without allies. Rudy Giuliani is willing to come to Murdoch’s defense, even after allegations that News Corp hacked the phones of the 9/11 fallen and the family members of terrorist victims. “He’s a very, honorable, honest man. This can’t be something that he would have anything to do with,” Giuliani said of the News Corp CEO.

That Murdoch is a former client to Giuliani’s consulting firm is a detail that’s gone largely overlooked.

Meanwhile, Murdoch’s Republican cable news outlet would prefer that everyone just stop paying attention to the scandal.

Fox News finally addressed their parent company’s hacking scandal head on this morning, with Fox and Friends launching a comically sycophantic and pathetically inaccurate defense of News Corp. Host Steve Doocy and guest Robert Dilenschneider, a media consultant, agreed News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch has done “all the right things” and argued that the scandal is way overblown.

“For some reason, the public, the media, keep going over this, again, and again, and again” the guest said. “It’s too much,” he added, “We should move on.” Doocy agreed, scolding the media for not devoting its time to covering more important issues. (His show later featured a segment on actress Mila Kunis and a performance by second-tier boy band Lifehouse, popular in 2001.)

But their defense of News Corp. really got embarrassing when Dilenschneider and Doocy engaged in some stunning subject/object slight of hand, comparing News Corp. to companies that have been hacked, while failing to note it was News Corp. that did the hacking in this case.

Given the sudden number of opening in the corporate hierarchy, maybe Doocy is angling for a promotion by sucking up to the boss.