WASHINGTON — News Corp. chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch said in an interview published Thursday that his company has handled the phone-hacking crisis in Britain "extremely well" and will recover.

In an interview with the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal, Murdoch also said he would set up an independent committee to "investigate every charge of improper conduct" made against News Corp.

The 80-year-old Murdoch said the damage to the company in Britain, where News Corp. was forced to shutter the News of the World tabloid because of the phone hacking, is "nothing that will not be recovered."

"We have a reputation of great good works in this country," he said.

Murdoch, in what the newspaper said were his first significant public comments since the scandal, said News Corp. has handled the crisis "extremely well in every way possible," making just "minor mistakes."

Murdoch also defended the handling of the crisis by his son, James, the deputy chief operating officer of News Corp. and non-executive chairman of British satellite TV broadcaster BSkyB.

News Corp. was forced to drop its bid for full control of BSkyB because of the phone-hacking by News of the World reporters.

"I think he acted as fast as he could, the moment he could," Murdoch said of his son.

Murdoch also strongly denied reports he may be considering a sale of some of his newspapers. "Pure rubbish," he said. "Pure and total rubbish... give it the strongest possible denial you can give."