Dinner at Ruperts – Businessweek
Lon Jacobs, News Corp.’s general counsel, disagreed. For weeks he had urged Murdoch to get out in front of the widening scandal and launch an independent investigation into wrongdoing at News of the World. Jacobs had joined News Corp. 15 years earlier from the company’s primary outside law firm and rose to general counsel in 2004. With an office two doors down from Murdoch, he had been the chairman’s most trusted legal adviser. Jacobs wanted headquarters—New York—to take control of the matter instead of letting the London operation run what amounted to an investigation of itself. Murdoch, however, did not want another arm of his own empire to potentially expose Brooks and James. Rejecting Jacobs’s advice, Murdoch chose that evening to stick to the London-based containment strategy, with Brooks supervising it.Nine months later, the consequences of that decision still reverberate. Though none gathered at Murdoch’s home that evening could have foreseen the slew of allegations, arrests, and public outrage that loomed, by sticking with London’s effort to quarantine the scandal, Brooks and James Murdoch were, in particular, suspected of a coverup. In retrospect, Rupert Murdoch’s instinct to be loyal to his son that night may end up doing more than anything to prevent James from inheriting control of News Corp.