(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)
By Hugo Dixon
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) – Reverse ferret is a term coined by The Sun, one of the Murdochs’ UK newspapers, to refer to an abrupt U-turn in editorial line. This article is a reverse ferret, or at least a partial one.
Last week I wrote that James Murdoch should not be kicked out of his position as chairman of BSkyB. I admitted that he hadn’t covered himself with glory in dealing with the scandal at the News of the World, which he indirectly managed. But I argued that this was a separate business and his track record at BSkyB was good.
Since that article appeared, Murdoch has given evidence to a committee of the UK parliament about the hacking scandal. Subsequently, part of his testimony was challenged by two former senior employees. If what the former employees say is correct, Murdoch would appear to have given false evidence.
Although Murdoch is standing by his testimony, there are enough puzzles for BSkyB’s independent directors to quiz him before confirming him as chairman, as planned later this week. It could be argued that there are so many other probes going on that the directors hardly need to launch their own. But this whole saga has been bedeviled by people failing to ask tough questions when they had a chance.