News Corp. Has ‘Best Friends’ in High Places

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Photo: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of New Corporation's quarterly earnings announcement this afternoon, Rupert Murdoch hosted a board meeting yesterday on the studio lot of his company, 20th Century Fox. It was the first board meeting since the phone-hacking scandal engulfed his company, and included high-profile "independent" News Corp. directors, like a former president of Goldman Sachs, as well as a member of the Bancroft family, who sold Murdoch the Dow Jones media company and The Wall Street Journal in 2007. According to the New York Times, "corporate governance experts said that the long history between News Corporation and many of its independent directors is a glaring example of how chumminess in the boardroom can allow and even contribute to mismanagement." But the potential conflicts of interests aren't just internal: Also in the room was Viet Dinh, a former member of the Bush administration and co-author of the Patriot Act. He also happens to be "best friends" with the U.S. Attorney that's supposed to be investigating News Corp.

Dinh, the Times reports, "is ultimately responsible for the independent internal investigation going on into the phone hacking scandal at News Corporation’s British subsidiary, News International." But as Massimo Calabresi explains at Time, Dinh's buddy Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is in charge of looking into Murdoch and co.'s potential wrongdoings on this side of the ocean.

Dinh and Bharara met at Harvard, and Bharara was the best man at Dinh's wedding. Dinh, meanwhile, is the godfather of one of Rupert's grandchildren. It's all very cozy. But rest assured, everything will be all good and fair. A spokesperson for Dinh told Time, “There have been no discussions between Professor Dinh and Mr. Bharara on the matter.” Nothing to see here!

Back in London, another suspect was arrested in connection to the hacking scandal. Former News of the World editor Greg Miskiw became the twelfth person detained for their alleged role in the scandal, while James Murdoch still owes U.K. lawmakers an explanation about his "mistaken" statements at last month's parliamentary hearing.

And yet, it's just a few hours now until we find out how much money they're all making.

For Murdoch, a Board Meeting With Friendly Faces [NYT]
Murdoch’s Well-Connected Point Man on the News Corp. Hacking Probe [Time]