Fox and News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch has apologized for some of the "overly emotional" comments he made in a secretly-recorded March meeting with Sun staffers, but repeatedly denied that he had any knowledge of bribery on the part of his newspapers.
In the recording, Murdoch called the police investigation into his media empire "incompetent" and made statements that seemed to suggest that he knew his papers participated in bribery and that it was a long-standing practice that pre-dated his ownership of the papers.
On Wednesday, in letters to two members of parliament, Murdoch acknowledged that he used "the wrong adjectives" in his comments, while denying knowledge of wrongdoing. He blamed his "overly emotional" remarks on the lengthy police investigation into News Corp.'s phone hacking and police bribery scandals that frustrated him and upset his employees.
"In March of this year, I was reminded of the human cost of those company decisions," he wrote. "Employees at the Sun who had been arrested asked to see me, to share their experiences. As chief executive of News Corp. I felt that it was right to hear from them and to express my personal understanding for them in this difficult time."
He continued: "I did not intend to suggest that any violations of the law are tolerable or acceptable."
News Corp. was the subject of police investigation after it was revealed in 2011 that several of its reporters and editors were hacking into phones and paying police officers for information. "News of the World" was shut down in the aftermath of the phone hacking investigations; several "Sun" staffers were arrested for bribing public officials.
Following the revelation of the secret recording, News Corp. told TheWrap that any allegations that Murdoch knew about payments "Sun" staff made to police officers were "absolutely false."
The British Parliament then voted to call Murdoch in to answer questions before its Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. In his letter to John Whittingdale, the chairman of that committee, Murdoch said he was hoping to meet with them in July but understood it would not happen until September at the earliest.
Or perhaps not at all: Keith Vaz told the BBC that Murdoch "has responded fully to the select committee in a three-page letter with a lot of detail and he's made it very clear that the words he used about police were wrong."
The secret recording was first revealed by British magazine "Private Eye."