It's teacher hunting season!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Times front page article questions how Joel Klein can objectively and effectively conduct internal investigation of scandal at News Corp.

The New York Times has this story on the front page of its Sunday, July 24, 2011 edition:
"Former City Schools Chief Emerges as Murdoch Ally,"
This article is by Jeremy W. Peters, Michael Barbaro and Javier C. Hernandez.

(The final paragraph has the crucial point.)
Joel I. Klein, the former New York City schools chancellor, was in a tricky position. Three weeks ago, Rupert Murdoch asked Mr. Klein, now his trusted deputy, to oversee an investigation into the phone hacking scandal that has deeply wounded the News Corporation and its chairman, something Mr. Klein was eager to avoid.

“I am trying to get as far away from this as I can,” he lamented to a friend.

He has not succeeded. Mr. Klein, who joined the News Corporation as a senior vice president in January, is not only responsible for the investigation that could uncover what company managers knew about the hacking, but he also has become one of Mr. Murdoch’s closest and most visible advisers throughout the crisis.

His seemingly contradictory roles — de facto chief of internal affairs officer and ascendant executive with Mr. Murdoch’s ear — are raising questions about how robust and objective the internal inquiry can be. When Mr. Murdoch summoned a team of top deputies and outside consultants to London to help him manage the fallout from the hacking, Mr. Klein was one of the first to arrive, moving into a temporary office 20 feet from the chairman’s.

Top lawyers and experts in corporate governance said the News Corporation should have hired outside legal counsel to oversee the inquiry, as dozens of companies like the American International Group and Fannie Mae have done in the past, rather than rely on an insider.

“That is not standard practice,” said Charles M. Elson, an expert on corporate governance at the University of Delaware. “You cannot be seen as objective if you are inside.”

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