Fox hunting

This whole Murdoch phone-hacking thing seems like a big deal. I don’t know anything about British politics, so I’ll just make these questions. In the United States, Rupert Murdoch owns the Republican party (via Roger Ailes) and the idea of a Republican-led investigation of any of his ventures is ludicrous. Does he own the Tories in England too?

Also too, does the fact that the current UK government is a coalition government affect things? I realize Nick Clegg is too much of a dickless dweeb to stab the Tories in the back over this, but could he, if he had the balls?

Update. Again, I don’t know how things operate in the UK and truth be told, Murdoch would be golden here even if he’d killed this girl himself, but this is pretty fucked up:

But, this week, the extent of the alleged hacking has broadened dramatically with reports that the newspaper hacked the cellphone of the slain 13-year-old girl nine years ago, deleting some messages to make room for more in a move that added to vain hopes that she was still alive.






75 replies
  1. 1
    cleek says:

    OT: i hear Nick Clegg has a wooden leg.

  2. 2
    Culture of Truth says:

    The BBC has reported that News International passed e-mails to the police that showed Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor, authorized payments to police officers worth tens of thousands of pounds.

    Coulson resigned in 2007 when a reporter was jailed for phone hacking, and went to work for Prime Minister Cameron as director of communications.

  3. 3
    Chris says:

    I’ve heard it said that Rupert Murdoch pretty much “owned” the Tony Blair cabinet. I have no idea what his relations with the Tories are exactly, but even if he does own them like he does the GOP, it seems they’re not his only asset.

  4. 4
    AAA Bonds says:

    One thing to remember is that there is a slightly higher rate of true muck-raking in the overtly political British press, including of other people in the press, and it’s slightly more likely that press revelations will result in action by the government.

    Slightly, mind you.

  5. 5

    @cleek: Also OT: Damn it, now I have a reply button (thanks to MonkeyBoy for the tip) and nothing to say.

  6. 6
    Han's Solo says:

    In the United States, Rupert Murdoch owns the Republican party (via Roger Ailes) and the idea of a Republican-led investigation of any of his ventures is ludicrous. Does he own the Tories in England too?

    Not only that, but if Murdoch’s victims were to sue in the USA they would lose. Oh, they may win in the lower courts, but SCOTUS would lower the fines to a pittance and Murdoch’s organization would just continue hacking cell phones to their hearts content.

    For an example of this look at Exxon V. Baker. It was the Exxon Valdez case. SCOTUS lowered the jury award to next to nothing and now Exxon is once again fouling our environment; this time it is the Yellowstone river they are polluting. They could have turned off the pipeline when the river started to rise, but the SCOTUS has made it clear that they have Exxon’s back. I’m absolutely positive that today’s SCOTUS would rather masturbate with a cheese grater than allow any harm to come to News Corp.

    Go ahead and sue. Even if you win, once SCOTUS has its say, you will lose.

  7. 7
    Alexandra says:

    Does he own the Tories? Yes.
    Could Nick Clegg bring the government down over this? Possibly, but unlikely. They’ll keep their heads very low.

    Crowdsourced questions over at The Guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/medi.....s-answered

    Would be a great time for that cold beer in Kensington, Doug. :)

  8. 8
    D0n Camillo says:

    I don’t know. I doubt that even Rupert Murdoch would be golden if something like this happened in the US. There is just something so visceral and sociopathic about impeding the investigation of a teenage girl’s disappearance. I’ve read in other reports that one reason the police didn’t pursue News of the World at the time is that so many other journalists were doing dirty tricks at the same time and the police just didn’t have the resources to go after them. Uggh.

  9. 9
    trollhattan says:

    The good news is Murdoch has inspired the Koch bros with a ton of new ideas!

  10. 10
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    It may be just a wild dream at this point, but wouldn’t it be so nice if the old bastard finally went to prison? Hope this stays in the news.

  11. 11
    Maude says:

    This really crossed the line in Britain.
    The parents suffered so much as a result of the hacking.
    If it happened here, there would be outrage.

  12. 12
    Brachiator says:

    Does he own the Tories in England too?
    __
    Also too, does the fact that the current UK government is a coalition government affect things? I realize Nick Clegg is too much of a dickless dweeb to stab the Tories in the back over this, but could he, if he had the balls?

    Murdoch has some pull, but he is a small fry compared to other British moguls. The Brits are strange people. To a certain segment of the ruling class, Murdoch is just an Aussie upstart.

    The idea of Clegg stabbing the Tories in the back is funny. Breaking away from the coalition would return the Lib Dems to their old status as the mostly irrelevant alternative to Labour.

  13. 13
    Culture of Truth says:

    I hacked Jude Laaaaw
    and Jude Laaaaw won

    I hacked Jude Law
    and Jude Law woooon

  14. 14
    DougJ in Damascus says:

    Would be a great time for that cold beer in Kensington, Doug. :)

    Yes, it would!

  15. 15
    pharniel says:

    The main issue is that this was to some kidnapped pretty white girl – and hurt the upstanding pretty white parents.

    If this happened in the US you can believe that there would be repercussions and brutal reprisals for every slight, real or imagined, that fox news ever dolled out.

    Especially now that the reports of flat out police bribery are added to the fire.

    The only thing this would need to have real legs is some payouts in hookers and blow and then you’re talking a real scandal.

    I may not believe in justice for justice sake but I also never underestimate people’s abilities to go all in for some good old fashioned payback.

  16. 16
    Chris says:

    The good news is Murdoch has inspired the Koch bros with a ton of new ideas!

    Somewhat OT, but I wonder who else comes out on top if you break it down to the main financial empires behind the conservative movement? The Kochs and Murdoch are the two I’d have thought of. Who else are the big fishes in their pond?

  17. 17
    Brachiator says:

    OT note on the ongoing effort of the GOP to defund the government.

    The Federal Unemployment Tax Act surtax is set to expire Thursday after House Republicans refused to extend the 35-year-old “temporary” unemployment surtax.
    __
    The surtax has been extended eight times since it was originally enacted in 1976.
    __
    The original purpose of the “temporary” 0.2 percent surtax was to repay federal general revenues used to provide federal unemployment benefits paid in the wake of the 1973-75 recession. While the tax raised $27 billion (adjusted for inflation) and the general revenues were fully repaid by 1987, the 0.2 percent surtax remains on the books today. Since 1987, the tax has raised an additional $46 billion (adjusted for inflation) above and beyond what was needed at the inception of the tax in 1976.

    Just another bargaining chip in the battle over the debt ceiling issue.

  18. 18
    Calouste says:

    How things operate in the UK?

    Well, in 1989 the Sun, the largest newspaper in the UK (also Murdoch-owned and the weekday companion of the sunday-only News of the World), published a story falsely accusing Liverpool supporters of interfering with first responders during the Hillsborough football disaster.

    Liverpudlians started a boycott of the Sun, and even now, 20 years later, you can get the Sun in many parts of Liverpool because newspaper agents refuse to stock it, at even if they did, no one would buy it or even accept it for free.

    I think, specially with the advertizer boycott, the NotW as a title is going to fold.

  19. 19
    SpotWeld says:

    … do we have any way of knowing that this has not happened in the US?

  20. 20
    srv says:

    Krugman decides Obama is just as incurious and co-opted as his predecessor and the evil republicans who won’t investigate the evil Fox News.

  21. 21
    Barney says:

    Murdoch has some pull, but he is a small fry compared to other British moguls. The Brits are strange people. To a certain segment of the ruling class, Murdoch is just an Aussie upstart.

    No, he’s pretty big. For instance, Blair flew all the way to Australia just to meet Murdoch executives in the mid 90s. Murdoch has had unofficial meetings in 10 Downing St with both Labour and Tory PMs. Gordon Brown and David Cameron were both guests at Rebekah Brooks’ wedding, and Cameron had dinner with her twice while his government was considering if it was OK for her company to completely own the only UK satellite broadcaster.

    But there are other media barons that get kowtowed to to a less extent – Paul Dacre at the Mail, for instance.

  22. 22
    Barbara says:

    This just goes to show that you can never really tell what incident or occurrence will be the final straw. I doubt if this will have much impact in the U.S. but it does seem that David Cameron won’t have much choice but to distance himself a lot from Murdoch’s empire. Murdoch and Brooks seem finally to have run out of teflon. My guess is that she, at least, will be toast by the beginning of next week.

  23. 23
    Keith says:

    @Chris

    I’ve heard it said that Rupert Murdoch pretty much “owned” the Tony Blair cabinet. I have no idea what his relations with the Tories are exactly, but even if he does own them like he does the GOP, it seems they’re not his only asset.

    Try this concept – he either owns them all, or tries to own them all. Sometimes his efforts succeed and he then owns them all.
    He was staunchly anti-Labor pre-Thatcher, staunchly pro-Thatcher for pretty much the entire duration of her tenure as Prime Minister. Things only took a turn toward Blair later, when it appeared Tony was going to mop the floor with the now befuddled Tory party.

    The one constant through it all was that Murdoch was a mercenary. Was it Shafer at Slate who said recently Murdoch isn’t a conservative, but rather a nihilist? In a way, that is more chilling for our least favorite media mogul – belief in nothing as the center of one’s philosophy.

  24. 24
    Corner Stone says:

    I could’ve sworn I saw a post about this exact thing somewhere around here…

  25. 25
    Culture of Truth says:

    He’s one of the moguls who say Nih-ilist

  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @srv:

    Yes, he has to make compromises on policy grounds — but that doesn’t mean he has to adopt the right’s rhetoric and arguments. The effect of his intellectual capitulation is that we now have only one side in the national argument.

    God damn, Kthug. Just do the damn thing then!

    Second, since Obama keeps talking nonsense about economics, at what point do we stop giving him credit for actually knowing better? Maybe at some point we have to accept that he believes what he’s saying.

  27. 27
    Corner Stone says:

    And for everyone here who screamed themselves hoarse telling us the Catfood Commission never issued a final report…”

    Most of us already agree that to truly solve our deficit problem, we need to find trillions in savings over the next decade, and significantly more in the decades that follow. That’s what the bipartisan fiscal commission said, that’s the amount that I put forward in the framework I announced a few months ago, and that’s around the same amount that Republicans have put forward in their own plans

    Maybe you should tell the president, too. Also.

  28. 28
    Bailey says:

    If you missed this earlier, Hugh Grant’s entry into the hacking story was actually quite amusing. “The Bugger, Bugged” indeed: http://www.newstatesman.com/ne.....on-murdoch

  29. 29
    Yevgraf says:

    In actuality, Murdoch is a Bond villain.

    Imagine world headlines after the ruin of any of them (and wasn’t there a media guy in one of the Brosnan Bonds?).

  30. 30

    This story has major relevance here in the U.S. for several reasons I outline here, not the least of which being the Wall Street Journal’s CEO and publisher was in charge of Murdoch’s British newspaper when the “alleged” hacking occured and he was also in charge of the company’s internal investigation — and amazingly, found no wrongdoing! Shocking how that happens!

    It is reasonable to ask whether these activities happened here in the U.S. I see no reason to believe they didn’t.

  31. 31
    slag says:

    Thanks so much @TooManyJens! And MonkeyBoy! But the only code that worked for me in Chrome for Mac was John D.’s. So, thanks, John D!

  32. 32
    Dave says:

    You guys are fucking adorable.

    Newsflash: Unless evidence is revealed that has Murdoch on the phone hacking those voicemails himself, he’s not going to jail. Period.

    Everyone who’s ever worked for News of the World for the last 10 years will be in jail before Murdoch.

  33. 33
    Martin says:

    That’s what the bipartisan fiscal commission said

    Yeah, but you don’t know what the fiscal commission actually said. Did you see the SS proposal that would increase payouts to lower income workers to the tune of almost 50% and decrease it for higher income workers, with a net overall savings to the program?

    Indeed, that would be horrible.

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    @Barney:

    No, he’s pretty big. For instance, Blair flew all the way to Australia just to meet Murdoch executives in the mid 90s. Murdoch has had unofficial meetings in 10 Downing St with both Labour and Tory PMs. Gordon Brown and David Cameron were both guests at Rebekah Brooks’ wedding, and Cameron had dinner with her twice while his government was considering if it was OK for her company to completely own the only UK satellite broadcaster.

    Fair point, and Murdoch appears to wield a fair bit of power as a media mogul. I just don’t know how he rates against others in the ranks of UK power brokers.

  35. 35
    Joel says:

    Of course Murdoch isn’t going to jail. But Wade (Brooks) might.

  36. 36
    Chris says:

    @ Yevgraf,

    Imagine world headlines after the ruin of any of them (and wasn’t there a media guy in one of the Brosnan Bonds?).

    Yep, Tomorrow Never Dies; the guy was supposedly based on more than one media mogul, but everyone saw him as Rupert Murdoch.

    Interestingly the plot, thin as it was, revolved around the villain trying to secure broadcasting rights in China. There’s been bad blood between NewsCorp and the Chinese regime for years in real life, ever since Murdoch acquired a Hong Kong based company in the early 1990s and the Chinese placed restrictions preventing it from reaching most of the country.

  37. 37
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Maude:

    If it happened here, there would be outrage.

    Yeah, but would anything happen?

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ Martin

    Don’t forget about the Commission’s terrible, horrible, no-good plan to destroy Social Security by increasing the salary cap from $100K to $250K. Clearly they want to destroy the program by increasing its revenues!

  39. 39
    Corner Stone says:

    @Martin: If you want to debate the hit or miss proposals here, that’s fine. My post, as you are no doubt aware, speaks to the people here who continue to claim there was *nothing* to the formation or outcome of that commission.
    And you are quoting the president there, not me. Right after he spoke about trillions in savings to reduce the deficit.

  40. 40
    pharniel says:

    Actually in the hardbound cumulative volume “On her Majesty’s Occult Service” by charles stross (which has jennifer mourge and atrocity archives as one volume, plus some more) the ‘more’ was an essay about how rupert murdoch and the like already ARE bond villans.

  41. 41
    superluminar says:

    I just don’t know how he rates against others in the ranks of UK power brokers.

    Oh he’s pretty much the most important, no one else has anything like his market share (apart from the BBC, which is not a power broker in any real sense). I never thought I’d see the day (I honestly didn’t think they’d stoop so low as to delete the messages of a murder victim?!), but Murdoch’s done here now. There’s no way they can excuse any of this, there’s no way the govt. can approve the Sky takeover either, now. I hate to say anything nice about the Tories, but I get the impression a fair number of the lower ranks there (also in the Labour party) are disgusted at the constant sucking up of their leadership to this guy.

  42. 42
    Yurpean says:

    The Tories aren’t owned by Murdoch in the same way he’s captured the tea-twats via Fox News in the States, no; in many ways Fox News is very unusual for a Murdoch operation.

    To get an idea of how it works, the 1992 general election looked to be pretty tight, with Labour slightly favoured to win. Murdoch didn’t like Neil Kinnock’s policies so the Sun was strongly in favour of the Tories, going so far as to print the headline “If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights” on the day of the election. After the election they ran their infamous ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It’ headline. When Tony Blair became leader of the Labour party in 1994 one of his first priorities was to get Murdoch on-side, which he did by a combination of grovelling, changing policies to be more to Murdoch’s liking, and not being John Major, whose government was collapsing in acrimony. The Sun switched allegiance and when Blair won in ’97 his government and News International were incredibly close, a situation that persisted until Blair resigned as PM in 2007.

    In the meantime, Cameron rose to leadership of the Tories, was acceptable to Murdoch (and indeed was very friendly with Brooks, who lives near to his constituency home) and got the endorsement for 2010. The fact that the Tories could only scrape into power by going into coalition with the Lib-Dems reputedly cheesed Murdoch off no end.

    The main lesson to draw from this is that Murdoch knows what he want politically and will push his papers to fight for it, but he’s not wedded to a single party and indeed knows the value of backing the winning side. This is very different from Fox News, where Ailes has far greater autonomy than any of the Murdoch newspaper editors have, and uses it to push further to the right than Murdoch is reputedly comfortable with. The wider Murdoch clan are even less happy with the state of Fox News, and have made that fact quite clear to Rupert. At the end of the day however, Murdoch is in it for the money and since Fox News is bringing it in, he doesn’t want to risk trying to bring Ailes to heel.

  43. 43
    valdemar says:

    This is a rapidly evolving story. The latest claim is that Murdoch minions phone-hacked grieving relatives of the 7/7 victims (Islamist terrorist bombs on London transport). Goes way beyond ‘pretty white girl’ stuff, but that’s bad enough – it seems Murdoch employees hacked away merrily every time a photogenic child was abducted and/or murdered.

    It’s become very notable that every time new claims are published, nobody at News International denies them. Also, lots of firms are withdrawing their advertising from the News of the World, Murdoch’s most profitable British title. It could collapse in a few weeks.

    One fact that is becoming very awkward for the evil empire is that Rebecca Brooks, Murdoch’s ‘Pussy Galore’ in the UK, admitted years ago that she had paid police officers for money. She actually got away with telling this to a parliamentary committee. Bribing cops is as illegal here as it is anywhere. Brooks (then Rebecca Wade) admitted criminal activity and nothing happened.

    This is because our largely useless MPs have long been terrified of the tabloid press. (If you’re a Kipling fan – once you have paid him the Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane.) Murdoch genuinely had the authorities running scared and now a whole bunch of fairly powerful people who hate themselves for being cowards will probably take out their hatred on News Int.

    And bad news for Murdoch is great news for the BBC. He’s been gunning for the BBC for years, smearing it over many a non-issue or pseudo-scandal and generally trying to have it crippled and/or privatised. This will take the heat off for a while at least. So it’s good for the quality of British news coverage.

  44. 44
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @pharniel:

    Actually in the hardbound cumulative volume “On her Majesty’s Occult Service” by charles stross (which has jennifer mourge and atrocity archives as one volume, plus some more) the ‘more’ was an essay about how rupert murdoch and the like already ARE bond villans.

    Bond villians ain’t got nothing on the morbidly evil bond vigilantes.

  45. 45
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Martin:

    Yeah, but you don’t know what the fiscal commission actually said. Did you see the SS proposal that would increase payouts to lower income workers to the tune of almost 50% and decrease it for higher income workers, with a net overall savings to the program?

    Indeed, that would be horrible.

    The more you means-test Social Security, the closer it comes to being old-age welfare. We all know how sacrosanct the funding for welfare programs is. If means-testing Social Security now means that in 40 years some Republican asshole Congress will be making draconian cuts in aid to the old-fart bucks gumming their t-bones, I’ll pass.

  46. 46
    eemom says:

    believe it or not, I’ve been waiting since the 1970s for something to bring Murdoch down — since before most people even knew who he was.

    It’s because back then, when I was a wee lass of 15 or so, he bought the previously quite respectable New York Post and turned it into the piece of tabloid shit that it remains today. My daddy, a lifelong Post reader, was furious. He explained to me how “Murdoch” had done this, so all my life since then the name has been synonymous with filthy grasping greed that destroys everything it touches.

  47. 47
    Yurpean says:

    Superluminar, while I’d love for it to be the case, I’m afraid I don’t share your optimism in Murdoch being done in the UK. He’s still too powerful, even now, and the way the Mirror, Mail & Express are holding back on this story indicates that they’ve plenty of bad skeletons in the closet that I’m sure could be publicised by one NI outlet or another to try to widen this to a general media scandal, rather than one focussed solely on the NotW. The Times has already started pushing an ‘all Journalism is stained with shame’ line.

  48. 48
    Martin says:

    If you want to debate the hit or miss proposals here, that’s fine. My post, as you are no doubt aware, speaks to the people here who continue to claim there was nothing to the formation or outcome of that commission.

    I don’t know what the fuck you’re trying to win here. The commission was formed with the goal of producing a piece of legislation that could pass Congress. They failed, spectacularly. The commission couldn’t even come up with an agreed upon set of recommendations. What was put forward carried only the names of the co-chairs.

    I don’t see anyone arguing that the commission never existed, never came up with any ideas, or never came up with ideas that they could all agree upon, just not a complete package. I don’t see anything in Obama’s statement suggesting that either. I don’t see anything in Obama’s statement that he’s not going to cherry pick the bits from the commission that he likes and ignore the rest – which, by the way, is the same thing the Republicans do.

    You want admission that the commission existed. Fine. It existed. You win. Go take your victory lap around the blog.

  49. 49
    slag says:

    Gotta go with Corner Stone and fasteddie9318 on this one. For two reasons:
    1. Doing so gives me a chance to use the Reply button…twice! (suck it, Cole!)
    2. They’re both right.

    Personally, I’ve kind of given up on keeping tabs on this Administration. No matter what the President’s motivations are, nobody’s doing things that make sense to me. I hear one thing; I see another; nothing adds up. If anything, they’re just friggin’ annoying me at this point. That is all.

  50. 50
    Martin says:

    If means-testing Social Security now means that in 40 years some Republican asshole Congress will be making draconian cuts in aid to the old-fart bucks gumming their t-bones, I’ll pass.

    Yes, I’m sure those old-fart bucks gumming their t-bones appreciate your principled stand against hypothetical future threats to their SS payments at the expense of 50% higher pay-outs for them.

    I guess the only way to make sure some Republican asshole doesn’t try to repeal single-payer healthcare in the future is to never try and pass it today. You get this political strategy from Jane Hamsher’s newsletter or something?

  51. 51
    Yurpean says:

    I’ve just been reminded on the twitters of an interview the British TV playwright Dennis Potter gave in 1994, just a few months before dying on cancer. In it he discussed his feelings on Rupert Murdoch. Even if you’ve only time for the first minute, it’s well worth watching for his eloquent denunciation of Murdoch and his cheapening of the public discourse.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnVrK38xI-A

  52. 52
    Corner Stone says:

    @Martin:

    They failed, spectacularly.

    Au contraire amigo. When the president cites your recommendation then that qualifies as an unmitigated “win”. At least as far as policy goes.

    I don’t see anything in Obama’s statement that he’s not going to cherry pick the bits from the commission that he likes and ignore the rest – which, by the way, is the same thing the Republicans do.

    Oh. Well. I guess when you put it that way…who could argue with you?

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @fasteddie9318: Means testing is the death knell of SocSec. Anyone who disputes that doesn’t seem to be too firmly rooted in reality.

  54. 54
    Rihilism says:

    The more you means-test Social Security, the closer it comes to being old-age welfare. We all know how sacrosanct the funding for welfare programs is. If means-testing Social Security now means that in 40 years some Republican asshole Congress will be making draconian cuts in aid to the old-fart bucks gumming their t-bones, I’ll pass.

    Precisely. I will take a pass as well…

  55. 55
    Rihilism says:

    I guess the only way to make sure some Republican asshole doesn’t try to repeal single-payer healthcare in the future is to never try and pass it today.

    SS is single payer retirement savings insurance program. The best way for Repubs to kill it is to transform it into a welfare program via means testing. If you want to save SS, start by increasing the salary cap…

  56. 56
    handsmile says:

    The dreadful power of Rupert Murdoch was pretty definitively revealed today in the responses of David Cameron and his attorney general, Dominic Grieve (with a name straight out of Dickens) to parliamentary questions and demands on this issue of NewsInternational’s takeover of BSkyB.

    In the face of expressions of scorn and denunciation over new revelations in the NoW phone-hacking scandal, Cameron offered only praise for the legal decision-making of Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for media, culture and sport, the ministry responsible for approving the BSkyB takeover. Grieve admonished outraged parliamentarians that “Ministers of State have to be rather careful about changing decisions on the hoof.”

    Hunt himself is on record that he believes that phone-hacking activities by NoW and the BSkyB decision by its corporate parent are unrelated. The legal issue he must consider is merely one of “media plurality.”

    Murdoch has already forced the sacking of Vince Cable, Hunt’s predecessor in the ministry, who expressed reservations over the proposed merger. That action occurred earlier this year, many months after the hydra-like dimensions of this scandal were well-known and several private investigators hired by the NoW had been jailed for their hacking.

    The volcanic eruption of this story is due to revelations about possible interference in the police investigation of a teenager’s murder and that families of victims of the July 2005 (anniversary tomorrow) bus bombing had been hacked by NoW.

    The abject failure of Scotland Yard to pursue an earlier investigation of phone-hacking by NoW, and alleged payoffs of police by journalists, has been clamoring for months. Claims by the British version of DFHs may be vindicated at last.

    This link may be of interest for more detailed information: http://www.guardian.co.uk/medi.....t-newscorp

  57. 57
    Heliopause says:

    This whole Murdoch phone-hacking thing seems like a big deal.

    Seems like it, but the only places I ever run into it are left-leaning blogs and The Guardian. A few passing mentions in the mass media, but that’s about it. In other words, don’t expect this brazen expression of sociopathy to replace Weiner-Anthony stories at the top of the evening news.

  58. 58
    Cain says:

    @Yevgraf:

    Imagine world headlines after the ruin of any of them (and wasn’t there a media guy in one of the Brosnan Bonds?).

    yep there is.. it’s scary how close they were to the actual thing.

    Also, in Monkey Island 3 there was an aussie land developer that was quite a bit like Murdoch. Of course, I defeated him with a voodoo mega monkey. Voodoo FTW!

    And speaking of Monkeys.. THANK YOU MONKEYBOY for recovering my reply button

  59. 59
    SonjasPanties says:

    Once his possible successors turn on him, Murdoch goes down, fast. So far, they’re waiting him out (He’s 80), but once they smell blood – shark frenzy.

  60. 60
    catclub says:

    Superluminar @ 41 said: “There’s no way they can excuse any of this, there’s no way the govt. can approve the Sky takeover either, now.”

    Sounds like a pronouncement about torture and prosecutions to come for those involved.

    Didn’t happen then, won’t happen now.

    I would be happy to be wrong.

  61. 61
    Tony J says:

    Sad to say, the only way Murdoch himself will ever be dragged into a courtroom over this is if people like Coulston and Wade are put under so much pressure that they squeal on the Boss and provide irrefutable evidence that Murdoch himself knew and approved of what they were doing.

    The former might happen, if they were both facing serious prison sentences and (in the case of hacking into the phone accounts of serving Government Ministers, the Royal Family, and members of the Armed Forces) charges relating to national security, but how likely is it that a cynical user like Murdoch would have put anything incriminating down on paper? I doubt there’s even minutes of any meetings where this was discussed. All the real reports would have taken place in controlled social settings where people could talk freely.

    It would come down to their word against his, and since “But our employer said it was OK!” doesn’t qualify as much of a legal defence, how would they benefit from it anyway? Their only hope for the future would rest in Murdoch being grateful enough for keeping him out of it to look after them when they get out of jail.

    And at the end of the day, no British Government run by Tories is going to pick a fight with Murdoch. His ‘journalists’ have been reading their phone messages for ten years. Chances are any serious pressure to hold New International – rather than individual scapegoats – responsible would be met with a barrage of exposes that could concievably bring down the Government.

    Remember, this whole scandal is based around the revelation that Murdoch’s empire has been spying on – everyone – who might concievably be famous enough to get in the newspapers for at least a decade. That’s a lot of dirt they’ve gathered.

    And, yes, it’s probably been happening in America too.

  62. 62
    Corner Stone says:

    We must continue to fiercely look forward, not backward. Or is it look forward fiercely?
    Dammit, where is Uncle Clarence Thomas when you need him?

  63. 63
    Barney says:

    @Brachiator:

    Well, these things should always be taken with a supersize serving of salt, but the last ‘most powerful men in Britain‘ list I can find, from 2008, had these Murdoch ex or current family members and employees:

    News Corporation Asia and Europe chief executive James Murdoch at three
    News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch drops five places to 12
    his former employee Andy Coulson goes up one place to 23 after being hired by the Conservative Party
    Times editor James Harding is a new entrant at 22
    81. John Witherow, editor, Sunday Times

    DMGT owns Associated Newspapers, so you can see their chairman and editor-in-chief being at 8 and 10 shows they have heavy influence.

  64. 64
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    Corner Stone:
    God damn, man. Your confirmation bias is unreal. You ignore the entire argument showing that even your nitpick is technically incorrect. Your counterargument is one sentence that has nothing to do with anything, and then you grab an unconnected comment and use it to claim victory because it kind of sort of sounds like what you want to be true, even though it’s the exact opposite of what context makes it clear your arguing opponent is saying.

    Are you a biblical scholar? Because this is some fundamentalist reasoning shit going on here. No wonder you’re able to cling to your narratives in the face of all evidence.

  65. 65
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone: No doubt Uncle Clarence Thomas is busily ignoring the past and conceding the present so that he may win the future.

  66. 66
    Jay Banks says:

    If something like this happened in the UK, whats to say the journalists aren’t doing the same in America? I don’t believe the US media would be more ethically & morally challenged then Murdoch´s company.

  67. 67
    Corner Stone says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Hilarious. Confirmation bias? When I take the president’s own words that have been repeated again and again? By President Obama and his admin?

    Speaking of being clingy in the face of all evidence…

  68. 68
    Chris says:

    @ valdemar,

    And bad news for Murdoch is great news for the BBC. He’s been gunning for the BBC for years, smearing it over many a non-issue or pseudo-scandal and generally trying to have it crippled and/or privatised. This will take the heat off for a while at least. So it’s good for the quality of British news coverage.

    So he’s following exactly the same MO in Britain that he is in the U.S. Good to know the BBC will be better off for this; I wish his empire here in the States could be similarly taken down a peg.

    @ handsmile,

    The abject failure of Scotland Yard to pursue an earlier investigation of phone-hacking by NoW, and alleged payoffs of police by journalists, has been clamoring for months. Claims by the British version of DFHs may be vindicated at last.

    Do the British DFHs have any more credibility than ours do? Cause over here, being seen as left wing means you’re wrong by definition no matter how many times (Iraq war, financial crisis) you’re right.

  69. 69
    Chris says:

    @ Tony J,

    And at the end of the day, no British Government run by Tories is going to pick a fight with Murdoch. His ‘journalists’ have been reading their phone messages for ten years. Chances are any serious pressure to hold New International – rather than individual scapegoats – responsible would be met with a barrage of exposes that could concievably bring down the Government.

    Remember, this whole scandal is based around the revelation that Murdoch’s empire has been spying on – everyone – who might concievably be famous enough to get in the newspapers for at least a decade. That’s a lot of dirt they’ve gathered.

    And, yes, it’s probably been happening in America too.

    Did you ever think you’d miss J. Edgar Hoover?

    This is seriously organized-crime level shit. I know it’s been said over and over, but it still manages to stagger me every time something like this comes out, the extent to which we’re being run by white collar versions of OC.

    I don’t suppose NewsCorp falls under the RICO Act, does it?

  70. 70
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Yes, I’m sure those old-fart bucks gumming their t-bones appreciate your principled stand against hypothetical future threats to their SS payments at the expense of 50% higher pay-outs for them.

    Yeah, sorry, they can skip the higher payouts if it means I can be sure the program will still be there when I retire and my kids retire. Tough break, that.

    I guess the only way to make sure some Republican asshole doesn’t try to repeal single-payer healthcare in the future is to never try and pass it today. You get this political strategy from Jane Hamsher’s newsletter or something?

    I don’t know what this word salad means.

  71. 71
    PIGL says:

    Chris at 69, Tony J at 61:

    the implications that Murdoch is invulnerable because his “news agency” has the dirt on too many people is yet another reason why I say this is a matter for intelligence agencies. The national security state has all the power it needs to end this, but they’d rather punch hippies and brown people than the actual suborners of the realm.

  72. 72
    Chris says:

    @ PIGL,

    Thus has it always been. During the 1960s, LBJ had to kick Hoover in the ass several times to get him to go after the Ku Klux Klan; Hoover was more worried about investigating the civil rights movement, which he feared was some kind of Trojan Horse for communism.

    I don’t approve of using intelligence agencies on U.S. soil… pretty much ever. But the FBI, or in this case the Secret Service which specializes in economic crimes? Sure. It used to fall on the feds to investigate matters that were too big for anyone else to handle – corporate malfeasance definitely falls under that category.

    (The problem being that in the age of globalization, multinationals like NewsCorp may be too big even for national governments to handle).

  73. 73
    PIGL says:

    @ Chris,

    I guess I should have specified “counter-intelligence”. Murdoch and crew are effectively foreign nationals acting against the interests of the people and of the state. That they represent no foreign government is not an issue.

    The same body of law and bag of tools would work against the Kochs and the other more shadowy financiers who must be in cahoots with them.

  74. 74
    Anniecat45 says:

    Re why hacking into Milly Dowler’s phone may be the coup de grace for Murdoch:

    It may be because the Dowlers are not rich/famous/powerful. I think there’s a feeling that celebrities, because they sometimes court publicity, are always fair game and not entitled to privacy, even in their phones. Celebrities also may need or want to stay in Murdoch’s good graces.

    That would not apply to private citizens, and it would seriously not apply to (1) the parents of a murder victim, when (2) the hacking may have screwed up the murder investigation.

    I laughed out loud when I read Rebekah Brooks’ statement. She’s worked for Murdoch for 23 years. She couldn’t possibly have any ethics or sensitivity left.

  75. 75
    NYT says:

    From the Guardian:
    “Newsnight reports that the Metropolitan Police has identified three or four officers who were paid up to tens of thousands of pounds to supply information to the News of the World.
    According to the report, the officers concealed the illegal trade in information by classifying certain journalists as confidential police sources.”

    The implication is that the police then justified datbase searches on targets private data by recording them as suspected criminals.

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