NEW YORK — News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch is defended his handling of the tabloid newspaper scandal that threatens his media empire and said any speculation that he may sell off the rest of the company's British newspapers is "pure rubbish."
Murdoch made the comments to the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal in a story published on its website Thursday.
The 80-year-old executive, who commands 40 percent of the company's voting stock, said he and other top executives had handled the crisis "extremely well in every way possible" with just a few "minor mistakes."
He also said the company will establish an independent committee to investigate charges of improper conduct.
News Corp. has been rocked by allegations of widespread phone hacking in the U.K. and bribery of police officers for tips.
Murdoch described as "pure rubbish" reports that News Corp plans to separate its newspaper holdings.
Murdoch said the report of a sale or separation of the papers, which include The Sun and The Times of London in the UK, were, "pure and total rubbish... give it the strongest possible denial you can give."
Murdoch also expressed support for his son James over his handling of a phone hacking scandal at his UK newspapers. He told the Journal that James remains deputy chief operating officer. The Journal said he rejected criticism that the younger Murdoch acted too slowly in dealing with the scandal.
"I think he acted as fast as he could, the moment he could," Journal quoted Murdoch as saying. He said he also acted appropriately and quickly: "when I hear something going wrong, I insist on it being put right."
It is Murdoch's first major interview since the UK scandal erupted earlier this month.</p><p> Murdoch said the company handled the crisis "extremely well in every way possible," making just "minor mistakes."
News Corp will set up an independent committee to investigate improper conduct. The committee will be headed by a "distinguished non-employee," he told the Journal.
He said the committee will look at charges of impropriety and put together protocol for behavior for new reporters.
Murdoch also told the Journal that some of the things that have been said in Parliament in the UK about the tabloid scandal have been "total lies."
"We think it's important to absolutely establish our integrity in the eyes of the public," he told the Journal.
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