MEDIA
07/19/2011 10:07 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Piers Morgan Defends Rupert Murdoch: It's 'Impossible' He Knew About Phone Hacking

CNN host and former News of the World editor Piers Morgan defended Rupert Murdoch on Monday's "Piers Morgan Tonight" in a segment on the phone hacking scandal that continues to grip Britain.

Morgan, who has faced suggestions from several members of Parliament that he should be questioned, gave full disclosure about his one-year tenure at the News of the World. In an interview with New Yorker media writer Ken Auletta, Morgan asserted that he is not involved in the scandal, saying, "I do not believe that any story be published in either title that's ever gained in a unlawful manner, nor have I ever seen anything to suggest that." Speaking from experience, the former tabloid editor also recalled that Murdoch expected his editors to "always to operate within the law."

Morgan also defended Murdoch, saying that he found it "impossible, personally knowing the man, to believe that he would have known about law-breaking on his newspapers, let alone he would condone it."

When Auletta questioned how Murdoch could fail to know how the News of the World got its "salacious, delicious stories," especially given Murdoch's routine of reviewing his titles and calling editors every day, Morgan said that the media mogul might argue that he "cannot be expected to micromanage the methodology of every single part of his company."

Writer Vicky Ward, who served as editor at several Murdoch-owned titles, also painted a sympathetic portrait of the media mogul on the program, describing Murdoch as "more devastated than he has ever been in his entire 80 years" and "appalled at what's gone on on his watch." Ward recounted that ever since Murdoch met with the parents of Milly Dowler, the murder victim whose voicemail was hacked by News of the World, Murdoch "hasn't felt the same" and "his voice has been cracking."

Recalling Murdoch's reaction to relatively minor regulatory offenses in the past, Morgan said, "I cannot accept, although there is this huge witch hunt going on to bring him down personally, I don't accept that he himself would be party to illegal activity."

Click over to CNN for video of the interview.