Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The "Had I But Known" Defense

Following up on the Rupert and James Murdoch testimony before a House of Commons Committee earlier this week, yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron appeared before the House of Commons to make a statement and answer questions about what he knew, and perhaps should have known about what was going on at News of the World, considering that he had hired former NOTW editor Andy Coulson as Director of Communications (Coulson has now been arrested). PM Cameron said several times in different ways that hindsight is 20/20 and that had he but known then what he knows now, he would have made a different employment choice. But others, including Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats, are saying that they raised questions with Mr. Cameron about the employment of Mr. Coulson.

The Murdochs made essentially the same responses--had they but known about the behavior (phone hacking) then, in 2009, or 2010, they would have put a stop to it. Rupert Murdoch said specifically that he does not take "ultimate responsibility."

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/media_law_prof_blog/2011/07/the-had-i-but-known-defense.html

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