LONDON: Rupert Murdoch today rejected accusations that he used his vast media empire to play puppet master to a succession of British leaders, electrifying a media inquiry that has shaken faith in Prime Minister David Cameron’s government.
The appearance of the most powerful media mogul in the world is the high point in an inquiry which has laid bare collusion between ministers, police and Murdoch’s News Corp, reigniting decades of concern over the cosy ties between big money, the media and power in Britain.
Murdoch was immediately asked about his relationship to politics and British “toffs”, a reference to Britain’s gilded establishment, which he lampooned as snobbish and inefficient.
He said he was keen to put straight some myths. “I have never asked a prime minister for anything,” Murdoch said when asked about his links to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “Politicians seek support of newspapers. I think that is part of democracy. ”
Cameron, under intense criticism for his own ties to Murdoch and facing calls to fire a senior minister who tried to help News Corp in a takeover deal, told parliament today that politicians from all parties had got too close to the magnate.