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BLITZER’S BLOG: Murdoch’s damage control expert
Joel Klein (pictured in top left behind James Murdoch) is executive vice president and on the board of directors of News Corp.
July 19th, 2011
04:19 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: Murdoch’s damage control expert

(CNN) - He was wearing a bright green tie and sat right behind Rupert and James Murdoch in that first row. To those of us who know Joel Klein, his presence could clearly be felt even though he didn’t say a word.

I’ve known Klein ever since he worked for President Bill Clinton as a White House deputy counsel during his first term. A highly respected lawyer in Washington, Klein later moved over to the Justice Department to become its anti-trust chief. Most recently, he served for eight years as New York City’s Education Chancellor under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Since leaving that position, the 64-year-old native New Yorker has gone to work for News Corporation as an Executive Vice President and head of its education division. But make no mistake: he’s been deeply involved in helping Rupert and James Murdoch navigate their way through this phone hacking and bribery scandal. They are smart to have hired him.

That full-throated Murdoch apology that was published in the major British newspapers, in my opinion, had Klein’s fingerprints. So, too, that emotional meeting Rupert Murdoch had with the family of that murdered British girl whose voicemail had been hacked by Murdoch’s now-defunct “News of the World” tabloid newspaper.

Klein is a real expert in dealing with damage control. He honed those skills while working for President Clinton. Rupert and James Murdoch are fortunate to have him now.

Having said that, let’s not forget there are real limits to even Klein’s proven damage control skills.

RELATED: Murdoch, Brooks defend handling of phone-hacking scandal

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Filed under: Murdoch • News Corporation • News of the World • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. fairly balanced

    As Murdoch was hit with the pie, I wondered if Klein's fingerprints were also on that incident. It was a distraction from Murdoch's appearance in Parliament and among some people it created sympathy for the Dirty Digger. From what I've seen, it's unlikely that the legal penalty will be too stiff; I wonder if that comedian's bank account just grew. And, for PR purposes, Wendi is the right kind of "heroine". Nah, Murdoch and Klein would never do anything like that.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  2. Amelia Seale

    Piers Morgan: "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" – William Shakespeare.

    July 20, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  3. praditya

    Hmm..I don't know guys, this is not the first time News Corp's subsidiaries is in the news for foul play. I still remember Fox News and their so called "coverage" of the war in Afghanistan (Geraldo anyone?). Maybe Murdoch didn't know about this hacking practice (or maybe he did know), but for sure there is something called company's culture..

    July 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  4. us1776

    gw, Gary,
    You two are fantasizing that Murdoch did not know about some lowly underling's behavior and therefore gets to have a Get Out Of Jail FREE card.

    We're not talking about some one day, one time event here. This phone hacking had become engrained in the corporate culture, it was part of their business practice, and it had been going on for years. And it was not just underlings, but Murdoch executives that were promoting it within the ranks. And you can bet your bottom dollar that with the success of the very first series of these hackings that this spread like wildfire throughout the company. When you find something that works in one subsidiary it is only a short time before all subsidiaries are using it.

    And it beggars belief that Mr. Murdoch, the iron fisted micromanaging tyrant, would not know about a successful, albeit illegal, business practice that had been going on for years and was even being promoted by his own execs.


    July 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  5. king theodore

    another phony upchuck all around, by overstuffed egos, people will continue to be hungry, poor, and oppressed, until more Tunisias and Wisconsins win out, the interminable flailing by ruling class liberals and conservatives to cloak the truth fails to do this , and side shows like these, have long since failed to move things forward in substantial ways, people make history, not media, history is class warfare, and the people always win eventually

    July 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  6. Gary

    Wolf: Your analysis of this situation is typical "got ya" positioning. I understand your "glee" in seeing a competitor called on the carpet, however you must be weary of your glee. Events, even at CNN are continually under scrutiny and maybe your own newwork will be called on the carpet one day. As an employee of a large corporation, it is, as gw above indicated, quite possible that a trusted underling could easily manipulate the code of conduct they signed as a condition of their employment. After moving up the ranks, I deligated more and more responsibility to trusted subordinates. I maintain that is the same situation in which Mr. Murdock finds himself. There is absolutely NO WAY he would be able, nor should he be expected to know every detail of his operation. I believe him, and your coverage of the hearings in my opinion is biased and unfair. You should take a page out of Mr. Murdocks book and be more "fair and balanced", something which your coverage of this story is not.

    July 19, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • cteach

      did you just use the "fair and balanced" card when his network isn't even REPORTING this?!?!


      July 19, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  7. shaz

    To Piers Morgan: What a lotta bollocks mate! You were the editor of NOTW. You seriously believe an editor doesn't ask where stories come from, who are the sources? You really believe Murdoch's son and Rebekah Brooks "like a daughter to me" wouldn't share any information across the dinner table?

    July 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  8. steve in Phoenix

    It is AMAZING to me, how a CRIMINALLY BIASED "news network", CNN and its "commentators" are making accusations against the Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and Fox News......Wolf Blitzer and his ilk should be REALLY careful what they say....I can CLEARLY see a FAT LIBEL suit against many of them....Trust me on that one....Not to mention the fact , that if I was guilty myself of borderline illegal operations....the INCREDIBLE manipulations of the daily news....I'd keep my mouth shut....

    July 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  9. jason

    Just to let you know the stuff yall just said on the situation room kinda scared anons and lulzsec. Now, they are one group by the name of antisec.

    July 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  10. gw

    I was once a low-level employee at a national corporation working at on of the corporation's local plants. the company was a respected food testing company, testing for salmonella, e. coli, and listeria in such foods as hershey's cocoa, fast food sandwiches at sheetz, etc... The company had impressive corporate policies for conduct, procedures, and safety. But the local plant managers and supervisors frequently took shortcuts not approved by corporate management in various aspects, including testing procedures, using unsafe or malfunctioning equipment. Even to the point of taking shortcuts in the clients food sample testing. All this was encouraged by plant management, but whenever corporate officials arrived to do audits, including procedural audits, then supervisors and plant managers made sure everything was by the book. I really believe that in any company underlings can get away with just about anything because corporate execs can be everywhere all the time, and they can't know everything. Most execs rely on trusted underlings to get the job done. I don't particularly like Murdoch, but I do believe him.

    July 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Gary

      well said, gw. I wholeheartedly agree with your position.

      July 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm |

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