Rupert Murdoch fires back over "not fit" finding

Parliamentary committee blasts Rupert Murdoch
Members of the British Parliament investigating the News Corp. phone hacking scandal blasted Rupert Murdoch for his performance in running an international company. Elizabeth Palmer reports this could be trouble when Murdoch tries to renew broadcasting licenses in Britain.
Noah Berger

(CBS News) Rupert Murdoch is pushing back against a critical report on the tabloid hacking scandal.

A parliamentary committee said pointedly on Tuesday that Murdoch is "not fit to run an international company." In a statement, Murdoch called the report "unjustified and highly partisan."

UK lawmakers: Rupert Murdoch unfit to lead company

The situation now is highly politicized, John Burns, London bureau chief of the New York Times, said on Wednesday "CBS This Morning." "We're in a very convulsed situation here," Burns said. "The committee that made this finding split politically between the conservative party, the ruling conservative party and the Labor Party and liberal Democrats, who are junior members of the ruling coalition. That has made this finding highly political. It's been described by one of the conservative members of the committee that made the finding, the report and that particular finding of unfitness, as being worthless."

News Corporation issued a statement in which they've acknowledged wrongdoing, saying that they are doing everything possible to clear it up. And they've rejected the unfit finding, Burns said.

Burns explained, "The significance of the unfit finding is that there is an investigation going on by British broadcast regulators as to the fitness of News Corporation through BSkyB, British SKY Broadcasting, to be the holder of a broadcast license for a property, which is one of the most lucrative in the Murdoch stable.

"That's a major threat to News Corporation," Burns continued. "But the fact that this report has been so political, so divided as between the parties, suggests that its effect, if not worthless, as this conservative member of Parliament suggested, will at least be blunted."

However, the Parliamentary committee, Burns added, did agree on a number of "highly damning" things that the lower executives and Murdoch had done.

"'Willful blindness' was used to describe their attitude towards the scandal as it emerged over the last year," Burns said. "So it's not as if the unfit ruling was the only thing. The conservatives lined up with the rest of the committee on much that was highly damning of Mr. Murdoch, his son and of his senior executives."

For more on the scandal with John Burns of the New York Times, watch the video in the player above.