The travails at News Corp.
As my colleague Alyce Lomax told you last week, the contretemps primarily involves allegations that the company's British tabloid News of the World -- which has been shuttered by News Corp. -- had "hacked into phones to mine for newsworthy tidbits."
At the same time, there's a contention that the paper's staffers indulged in paying bribes to police. The situation has already thwarted the company's efforts to acquire the share of British Sky Broadcasting, or BSkyB, that it doesn't already own.
The scandal has moved from tepid to hot, claiming careers as it goes.
On Friday, Les Hinton -- the chief executive of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., who had headed up the U.K. newspaper operations earlier in the past decade -- resigned.
Rebekah Brooks -- a confidant of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, and herself CEO of the company's U.K. newspapers division -- resigned from the company and then was arrested Sunday.
Next, Paul Stephenson, the head of Scotland Yard, stepped down from his post. Beyond that, the contagion could even sully Prime Minister David Cameron, whose former top aide, Andy Coulson, an erstwhile News of the World editor, is among the 10 people who have been arrested in connection with the alleged events at the paper.
In the U.S., the FBI is investigating whether News Corp. employees might have tried to hack into the calls or messages of 9/11 victims or their families. Originally calling for the probe was Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and the representative of a Long Island district that was home to many 9/11 victims.
In our country, News Corp. essentially means The Wall Street Journal and Fox News. For my money, and obviously owing to an admonishment I scribbled to Rupert Murdoch just prior to his company's purchase of Dow Jones (you never know, he might have read it), the Journal has been improved under the News Corp. umbrella, in part through an increase in its general news coverage that has allowed it to better compete with The New York Times Co.'s
At this stage of the controversy, with News Corp.'s stock continuing to slide and some beginning (prematurely, I believe) to allude to Rupert Murdoch's demise, I'm inclined to sit on my wallet relative to buying the stock. I likewise urge Fools to simply monitor the fast-unfolding situation; feel free to use the Fool's My Watchlist feature to aid in that task.
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We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.