Rupert Murdoch accepted the resignation of the Wall Street Journal's publisher today as the once-defiant media mogul struggles to control the escalating phone hacking scandal. The controversy claimed its first victim in the United States as Les Hinton, chief executive of the Murdoch-owned Dow Jones & co. and publisher of the WSJ, announced he was resigning with immediate effect. Murdoch's British lieutenant, Rebekah Brooks, stepped down earlier today.
Hinton has worked for Murdoch's News Corp. for 52 years and is one of the media baron's staunchest allies. He was chairman of Murdoch's British newspaper arm during some of the years the abuses took place, but testified to a parliamentary committee in 2009 that he had seen no evidence phone hacking had spread beyond a single jailed reporter. "That I was ignorant of what apparently happened is irrelevant, and in the circumstances I feel it is proper for me to resign from News Corp. and apologize to those hurt by the actions of News of the World," he said.