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NPR's David Folkenflik reports that the story underscores close ties between the authorities and Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Former top editor Andrew Coulson told a parliamentary inquiry two years ago he had resigned to take responsibility for something he had no knowledge of.
ANDREW COULSON: During that time, I never condoned the use of phone hacking, and nor do I have any recollection of incidences where phone hacking took place. My instructions to the staff were clear: We do not use subterfuge of any kind unless there was a clear public interest in doing so.
FOLKENFLIK: In recent days, News International reversed itself, apologized, and set up a fund to compensate those victimized. But it's not clear the damage to the company will be contained.
ANDREW NEIL: Who knew - the old Watergate question - who knew, and when did you know it?
FOLKENFLIK: Andrew Neil is the former executive editor of the Sunday Times of London, one of Murdoch's most prestigious papers. He also helped found Murdoch's Sky TV.
NEIL: If it's now accepted that the rogue reporter defense has bitten the dust and is smashed to smithereens, if it's now accepted that it was going on all over the place in this newsroom, then it beggars belief that they didn't know. It is, frankly, incredible.
FOLKENFLIK: Unidentified Man: Just the one element of whether you ever pay the police for information.
REBEKAH BROOKS: We have paid the police for information in the past.
FOLKENFLIK: The deputy police commissioner who headed the initial phone hacking inquiry? He now writes a column for the Times of London. Roy Greenslade worked for Murdoch several times as a newspaper editor.
ROY GREENSLADE: Now, the view genuinely is that this showed that the police were either incompetent or, more worryingly, that there was a semiconspiracy, that they were too close to the News of the World and therefore, didn't want to investigate further.
FOLKENFLIK: Again, Roy Greenslade.
GREENSLADE: The whole episode illustrates the enormous power that Rupert Murdoch wields, in which politicians feel betokened to him for his support.
FOLKENFLIK: David Folkenflik, NPR News.
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