Rupert Murdoch hires PR firm Edelman – PR problem or Moral problem?

Rupert and James Murdoch make Commons U-turn - PR problem or Moral problem

July 16th update: “Richard Sambrook, Global Leader of Edelman Crisis and Issues Management, former BBC’s Director of Global News confirms zero involvement in Rupert Murdoch PR file

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From Guardian, “Phone hacking: Rupert Murdoch calls in PR firm Edelman – PR company will report directly to general manager of News International

Jeff Jarvis has a point in saying, “Murdoch hires Edelman PR. This ain’t a PR problem, folks. It’s a moral problem.

In case you care, Edelman’s Global CEO and President Richard Edelman blogs here.

On a personal note, I started paying attention to global PR firm Edelman probably around the time Richard Sambrook (former BBC’s Director of Global News & member of the BBC’s Management Board) joined Edelman in Feb 2010.

As you can see in my 2010 Feb comment left in Richard Sambrook’s blog entry, while I congratulated Richard on his move, I expressed my serious concerns and reservations of seeing a respected newsman joining a PR company. While we don’t know if Mr. Sambrook is involved in this engagement personally according to Guardian,

Edelman last year hired the BBC’s former director of news, Richard Sambrook, to head up its “crisis and issues practice”. It is unclear whether he will be part of the firm’s News Corp team.

I will not be surprised if his insights have a very strong influence in the Murdoch file. This is why big bucks are paid to hire Edelman to have access to people like Mr. Sambrook.

More excerpt from “Rupert Murdoch calls in PR firm Edelman” (emphasis added),

The appointment of Edelman comes after 11 days of sustained coverage of the phone-hacking scandal, which has forced News International to close the News of the World and News Corp to abandon its BSkyB takeover.

Robert Phillips, chief executive of Edelman’s Europea, Middle East and African operations, said the company had been providing News International with “ad hoc” advice since 20 June – before the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone was made public – and was formerly appointed to provide “communications and public affairs support and counsel” to its management and standards group on Tuesday. This group is handling the internal inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal.

The Edelman team will be run by Alex Bigg, its managing director for corporate affairs, and James Lundie, its managing director of public affairs. Lundie is the long-term partner of David Laws, the former chief secretary to the treasury.

Edelman will report to News International’s new management and standards committee, which consists of Lewis, a former editor of the Daily Telegraph who joined NI in 2010, Simon Greenberg, the director of corporate affairs who arrived in January, and general counsel Jeff Parker.”

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