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Media magnate Rupert Murdoch says his executives were the victim of a cover up

LONDON – News Corp. executive chairman Rupert Murdoch said Thursday that his U.K. newspaper company was the victim of a cover up, alleging that he and his son were deliberately kept in the dark about phone hacking at the News of the World.

Murdoch was being questioned at a media ethics inquiry led by Lord Justice Brian Leveson, which was set up following the scandal over large-scale wrongdoing at the Sunday tabloid.

“The senior executives were all misinformed, and shielded from anything that was going on there,” he told the inquiry. “I do blame one or two people for that.”

He didn’t name them, but in suggestive comments identified one of those people as “a clever lawyer” who drank with many of the journalists involved.

“This person forbade them to go to (News International chief executive) Mrs. (Rebekah) Brooks or (Murdoch’s son) James,” he testified.

Murdoch has condemned phone hacking and other media misdeeds but claims he was unaware of its scope.

“All I can do is apologize,” the 81-year-old said at Thursday’s hearing, allowing that he could have done more to nip the scandal in the bud.

Murdoch’s earlier testimony has focused on his political influence. Murdoch has downplayed his political role in Britain and says he has not sought special favours.