Skip to comments.News of the World hacking row escalates(Murdoch newspaper scandal)
Posted on 07/05/2011 10:01:37 PM PDT by Nextrush
New allegations have emerged of payments to the police as the row around the News of the World escalates.
The paper's owners have passed to the police e-mails which appear to show that payments were authorised by the then editor, Andy Coulson.
It comes as a solicitor representing some of the relatives of people who died in the 7/7 bombings says families may have been victims of hacking.
MP's will hold an emergency debate in the House of Commons later.
BBC business editor Robert Preston says the e-mail disclosure was "a significant development."
He said it had an important political dimension, in that Mr. Coulson went to work as director of communications at 10 Downing Street. Mr. Coulson resigned from that post in January.
Our correspondent says it also shows that the police investigation into alleged illicit techniques used by the News of the World to obtain stories goes much wider than an examination of the hacking of mobile phones....
The latest developments came after allegations private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, working for the News of the World, hacked the phone of murdered girl Milly Dowler when she was missing.
News International has promised the "strongest possible action" if it is proven Milly's phone was hacked.....
The Guardian has claimed Mulcaire intercepted messages left by relatives for Milly while she as missing and that the News of the World deleted some messages it had already listened to in order to make space for more to be left......
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
While we have been hung up on Casey Anthony, this story from the UK will grab a lot of MSM attention in coming days.
Its a scandal about a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch.
Will Fox News cover this one????
You can be sure MSNBC and CNN will.....I can hear Michael Savage savaging "Rupert Moloch" right now.....
I don’t think this story is going to play in the US. Who cares what a Brit paper does, no matter who owns it.
Fire the people who did it and get on with life.
Sure...the left will try and paint Rupert, but he is so far removed from a tabloid lengths down in his portfolio that I don’t think they will get any traction.
“Will Fox News cover this one????”
Probably about as likely as NBC doing an expose on GE concerning how much it could make off the global warming scam (carbon credits).
I think people are too ready to play this down. The Sun and News of the World have so much “previous” for disgusting activity that even when celebrities and ministers were complaining of phone hacking most people just rolled their eyes.
When it comes to hacking the phones of missing schoolgirls and deleting messages off so that the investigating officers mistakenly think the missing person is still answering the phone, or tapping the phone of a distraught father in the hope of getting an exclusive, or tapping the phones of terror victims for some juicy padding for the news coverage, that’s beyond the pale.
A relative of mine was killed in a freak accident, and her distraught siblings (under the age of 10) were confronted by a Sun journalist shouting through the letterbox asking for comments, within 48 hours.
The Sun, obviously, is trying to pretend this is not a big news story, but it has to be. For the paper to be doing this kind of thing for years, it was either authorized from the top - or a consequence of mismanagement.
Let’s not forget, the Sun is the paper who consistently argue that anyone in a senior position - Sharon Shoesmith for example - should be sacked because “the buck stops at the top”, even if their hands aren’t dirty, because to be ignorant of such organizational failings implies manifest incompetence.
So, following their very own incessant editorial logic, someone at News International should go, either for malfeasance or incompetence.
The people who hate Rupert Murdoch and News Corp (and they are legion) will use this story to the hilt.
And if any of the allegations have any truth to them, I will be disgusted by them as well.
With respect I think you’re missing the big picture.
With coppers taking bungs to hand out victims’ phone numbers, PIs getting into those voicemail accounts and so on, News International having close ties to both the Blair government and Prime Minister Cameron, this scandal has the potential to be very big indeed.
Put it this way - Watergate would certainly lose its crown for “most explosive scandal” if anyone can prove that the police AND the government were in on it.
There is a big picture emerging here to be sure.
You make a good point.
But I am concerned about some other dimensions.
This is a big hit for Murdoch with news that adverstisers are pulling out in the UK over the scandal.
And there are calls for some sort of media watchdog because of the scandal.
Regulation of the press??????????
Anyone involved with this should be looking at cell walls for many, many years. I don’t give a damn who owns that paper, anyone who knew anything about what was going on (or should have) should be sent away for a long, long, long while. and be a pariah for the rest of their days on earth.
Though that may be English, could you translate that into an American idiom?
Taking a bung - accepting a bribe. On BBC Newsnight last night, the process was explained by what we call a "poacher turned gamekeeper" - a former Metropolitan Police guy explained that an officer would set up a fake informant in the system, puts what he already knows (and is confidential) against that fake informant so it appears he got his information from an external source, and then meets with a journalist, hands over the files, and walks away with a big wad of dough. One example given was of a private ex-directory home phone number of a relative of a 7/7 bomb victim, who gave the number to a police officer while trying to trace the victim - a number which within 48 hours was on News of the World's list of numbers to consider for snooping. Bear in mind if the police were to tap that line without probable cause, they would be in a world of hurt.
This way, the paper trail leads to a non-existent informant, not to the police officer.
This is a big hit for Murdoch with news that adverstisers are pulling out in the UK over the scandal.
Yes - lots of big name companies are doing it because they don't want to be associated with organisations that (it's now alleged) were wire-tapping terror victims, rape victims and their families, murder victims and their families, veterans and their families... Barely an hour goes by without us thinking "They can't have stooped any lower" only to hear that, yes, they probably have. I notice the British Legion - famously pro-Murdoch because of Help For Heroes - are also talking about walking away from the News of the World simply because of the allegations about how they've been treating the very soldiers they claim to be supporting.
And there are calls for some sort of media watchdog because of the scandal.
Not from the politicians!
For decades the press have been asked, very nicely, to do nothing more than curb their own excesses (in terms of them breaking the law with impunity and treating crime victims and their families with a complete lack of passion).
Trouble is, time and time again they've proved they couldn't care less about bribing police officers, illegally tapping phones, rifling through people's bins, stalking and harrassing victims of crime, and so on. Thirty years or more of chance after chance to clean up their act, and this shows just how much contempt the press has. And don't think for a minute this is going to remain targeted at Murdoch - even the left wing Mirror Group is in the crosshairs, as is the Daily Mail.
The politicans, to their great credit, have resisted statutory regulation at every opportunity over that period - although part of that is due to the sheer electoral muscle the press can wield. Yes there is a regulator, and the Press Complaints Commission, but the latter is toothless and the former has a very limited remit. It's quite likely there will be calls for these to be given more teeth if the industry doesn't do something itself (like create a code of conduct it has any intention of adhering to).
But you cannot have an entire industry with pockets as deep as the press, breaking the law with complete impunity, persistently and apologetically, for perpetuity, thinking they can get away with it just by buying off the victims or bankrupting the victims in lengthy court processes, without people eventually coming to conclusion that the press' claims that self-regulation will help, is a joke.
I'm waiting for Question Time tonight where I fully expect the audience to go to town on this and DEMAND regulation while the politicians on the panel remonstrate that this'd be a step too far.
So what does this all really mean? Is this the LEFT trying to silence the RIGHT and get FoxNews off the air? This is what it seems like to me, I confess I don’t understand all this.
I would find it highly unlikely that one newspaper outlet would have exclusive knowledge (and chutzpah) on this sleazy way to gather information and did not act in the same way to remain "competitive".
Since it appears that our news will remain Casey Anthony for the foreseeable future, please post any further news and add my name to your TO: header.
Thanks again for explaining what 'taking a bung' means. Was it Churchill who said we were separated by a common language?
Thanks, Dude. (Bloke)
Looks like Rupert took the John Galt route and just scuttled the whole newspaper.
Had this been the NY Times, they would have angled for a Pulitzer.
Shame on them...
This is nothing to do with left, right, or Fox News. It’s about a British newspaper systematically bribing police officers, tapping phones illegally, stalking victims of crime...
A year ago the whole British political establishment was running scared of News International, they could make or break a government. This week the revelations have been so scandalous that News International has closed the newspaper down.
Don’t buy into the idea Murdoch caved in to pressure from the British government, because he’s never done it before and he probably never will. The sheer fact is he has caved in after pressure from the sponsors, the advertisers, and the paying public, who in one voice cried in unison for him to do something - but I don’t think anyone expected him to pull the plug on a newspaper that’s a century and a half old.
Stay tuned....There are repercussions in the UK and it will probably inspire MSM, Soros funded journalists in the US to go after Fox News, The New York Post and other News Corp-Murdoch media outlets.
They may use investigative reporting and or sting operations.
You know what a bung-hole is, right?
This idiom means cops take it up the butt.
Shag you, bloke!
Now it appears that everyone’s been laid off at NotW, except for, er, the senior exec who (it’s alleged) either authorized the payments for this illegal activity, or turned a blind eye to it.
The Sun and the News of the World are two popular RIGHT WING rags, supporters of our troops, anti-union, anti-immigration, anti-Europe. Apart from the celebrity tittle-tattle and obsession with womens’ bosoms, there’s much to recommend them.
BUT: Nobody this side of the Atlantic - not even the neocons - are buying the idea that by binning hundreds of productive workers at a profitable newspaper just to save one one cretin in the boardroom violates is “good business”. Murdoch has misjudged the professional ethics of the white working class conservatives in Britain - i.e. our feeling is, if you do a good job and you make your employer a generous profit, you should not be thrown to the wolves simply to preserve one executive in the boardroom from having to apologise for something they know they’ve done wrong.
Even the leftists, who normally would gloat at the News of the World getting a kicking, now have a reason to side with the workers there, for the first time since the mid 80s.
I can only hope Murdoch Jr is after the B Sky B TV rights and has fed NotW to the lions in an attempt to stop him losing that deal, and will resurrect the NotW in another form as soon as the heat’s off- but even if that is the case it could turn out to be a very dangerous gamble.
Already, I’m told that Liverpool - which boycotted the Sun after it made disgusting slurs about the people who died in the Hillsborough fire and has never let that scandal rest - is now so animated that if you leave a copy of the Sun on a train seat nobody will touch it, not even if the toilet on the train has run out of paper the saying is “I wouldn’t want to get my arse dirty”.
God knows what the socialists are making of it - they must think it’s Christmas. Two top execs cover the arse of a third in face of mounting evidence that she’s culpable for this entire scandal... by laying off hundreds of people who for five years have bust a gut to keep the News of the World one of the top selling papers in the U.K. WITHOUT having to resort to the illegality endorsed by its past editors.
As Richard Littlejohn, right wing commentator, might put it: “you couldn’t make it up!”
I kept reading post stating: “Shut it down!” “Shut it down!” “Shut it down!”
So....he shut it down, LOL!
I will refilled my popcorn and continue watching.
Now say what you will, but since the NY Times and the Washington Post publish stories cut from whole cloth (Jason Blair, Janet Cooke) that no matter how despicably gotten, at least their stories were sourced!
The only thing people have systematically asked for, is for Rebekah Brooks or James Murdoch to acknowledge that these atrocities occurred on their watch and they’ve both known about these allegations for a very long time.
The law over here is crystal clear: if a corporation systematically flouts the law, then executives are accountable whether they knew about it or not.
The assumption being, if you don’t know what your own department is doing something illegal then you’re not fit to be a manager, and if you do know they’re doing something illegal then you’re complicit.
A manager in the UK would be expected by his own shareholders if nobody else, to tender his resignation if a scandal this big broke, and caused the collapse of the division he was responsible for.
A manager in the UK would also be expected by his own shareholders if nobody else, to resign with honor rather than throw his people to the wolves and wreck the company’s reputation purely to save his own skin.
So, no matter how you look at it, Rebekah Brooks should’ve resigned, and could’ve done so with honour.
And James Murdoch should’ve let her do so.
James Murdoch’s response suggests he genuinely doesn’t understand how seriously the whole business community, and the general public, and even the politicians, in Britain anyway, take the basic principle of “the buck stops at the top”.
On a scandal this big, to sack hundreds of blameless workers all to cover the backside of someone who’s at least tried to resign with dignity, is not going to win Murdoch any sympathy. In fact I think he’s outdone even Gerald Ratner for self-destruction.
It would be considered a tempest in a teapot here.
On a scandal this big, to sack hundreds of blameless workers all to cover the backside of someone whos at least tried to resign with dignity, is not going to win Murdoch any sympathy.
One of the first stories out of here after the closure announcement will show you the difference:
Everyone knows the days of print media is coming to an end. News Corp. just shed the money losing MySpace and now has found a perfect opportunity to shed another questionable asset and look like a "good citizen" in the process. ("We hear you and are just as appalled. We will shut this rotten business down immediately!")
Stock Tip......buy NewsCorp.
Good citizen? Ooh, that’s the gift that keeps on giving. Murdoch’s not a citizen of the UK.
I bet you wouldn’t consider it a “tempest in a teapot” if you thought your mainstream media was controlled by a foreign bloke with no interest in...
Oh, wait. You have that.
But do you have the MSM bribing police officers, to the extent where evidence of criminality literally sits in back rooms while the investigators say “there’s no evidence”?
Oh, yeah. You have that too.
Trouble is, we’ve been apathetic over here for too long about that and for anyone who thinks us Brits can’t move mountains when roused, this week should be a hell of a wake-up call.
Agree with you about the business savvy here though, but Murdoch’s howling mad if he thinks that by burning the NotW he’s going to stop people calling for management heads to roll.
Leaving the two named executives in post is strategically dangerous, even if burning the NotW is a brilliant move. The Sun and News of the World have spent twenty years scooping corporate corruption and saying “the buck stops at the top” and until Murdoch actually practices what he preaches, he won’t get much support over here.
When told, “sack the crook”, Murdoch sacked everyone EXCEPT the crook.
In the short term, that’s not good PR, it’s not good business sense, it looks reactionary, hysterical, vindictive and incompetent.
Even if mothballing the paper is good business sense in the long run, Murdoch’s just sacrificed his “kingmaker” card, the one that has given him the keys to Downing Street at every election since Thatcher went, and he might as well have flushed his reputation down the toilet.
Like I said - BIG gamble even if he thinks it’ll help his BSkyB bid.
Also, I think people over in the USA don’t really understand how the press work over here and why this might be a monumental miscalculation by Murdoch.
For starters, the press has been, till now, almost completely “self regulating”, in that there’s a voluntary body called the Press Complaints Commission which is funded by the press, run for the benefit of the press not their customers, and has no legal powers. If you have an issue with something in print, you have two options: grin and bear it, or take them on in the courts (which is a pretty good setup but obviously doesn’t help the families of serving Forces personnel who cannot hope to afford to take Murdoch on in that fashion given the costs involved).
Also, there’s been an unwritten rule (gentleman’s agreement) amongst the newspaper editors that they don’t set loose the attack dogs against each other. They all cover each others’ arses.
That being the situation on the ground, which Murdoch has benefited immensely from in the past, here’s what’s changed.
1. We have a long standing press principle over here, if a politician has a policy along a moral stand and it’s found that he’s privately doing the exact opposite, the story is in the public interest and the press have an absolute right to expose the hypocrisy. One consequence of this fallout is that the Guardian was allowed to set the precedent, that the same rule applies to newspaper editors. So, from this day forward no newspaper editor can now rely on immunity from attack from its rivals in the way it would’ve been able to a week ago, if it preaches (for example) Help for Heroes on one hand, but is illegally hacking the phones of serving members of the Armed Forces, and their bereaved families, on the other.
2. Murdoch has in effect thrown the ailing Guardian a new lifeline and an enormous boost in public opinion, because for the first time in living memory he’s been made to look weak by what is, by comparison, a minnow. Governments used to run scared of Murdoch, they won’t anymore.
3. Murdoch’s other paper, The Sun, is going to be by far the easiest target for any similar press attacks now that the gentlemen’s agreement has been effectively torn up - because of its obsession with celebrity tittle-tattle and papparazzi and underhanded tactics, rather than real news and “quality” investigative journalism.
Then there’s the Office for Communications, which is the official regulator - it has no remit as far as the press is concerned, but does have the following mandate in terms of issuing licenses for broadcast media: “it has a duty to be satisfied *on an ongoing basis* that the holder of a broadcasting license is ‘fit and proper.’” Murdoch satisfies that requirement. For the moment.
But, his bid for a majority share of British Sky Broadcasting puts Murdoch in a position where he has to MAINTAIN his reputation as being “fit and proper”, while at the same time throwing a 160 year old newspaper on the bonfire along with 200 blameless employees, ostensibly to cover the asses of James Murdoch (his son) and Rebekah Wood.
Now in America that sort of behaviour might be regarded as “fit and proper” business practise, but this ain’t America. Over here, a “fit and proper” MEDIA broadcaster would’ve asked both execs to resign, put out a glowing eulogy to them both for falling on their swords, and waited for the heat to die down before doing a slash and burn on the organization.
Murdoch’s done the exact opposite of what a “fit and proper” broadcast license holder would do. In fact, it’s the opposite of what he’s done about scandals at Sky where he’s been very careful not to fall foul of the regulators.
5. Murdoch’s just sent a massive signal to the people assessing his “fitness” to take over BSkyB, that if he can be “unfit and improper” with News of the World, he could be “unfit and improper” to BSkyB. This is a perception he has to address, and fast.
Because, press moguls can be total scumbags if they want, but over here there’s a legal requirement that media license owners ARE NOT scumbags.