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Tuesday: Hack this

Would you sell an American citizenship to this man?

The phone hacking scandal in Britain is getting pretty hairy.  It turns out that investigators for Scotland Yard who were looking into reports of phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp outlets were in turn phone hacked (NYTimes, limited free articles):

The disclosure, based on interviews with current and former officials, raises the question of whether senior investigators feared that if they aggressively investigated, The News of the World would punish them with splashy articles about their private lives. Some of their secrets, tabloid-ready, eventually emerged in other news outlets.

Those damaging allegations, about two of the senior officers’ private lives, involved charges that one had padded his expense reports and was involved in extramarital affairs and that the other used frequent flier miles accrued on the job for personal vacations.

“If it is true that police officers knew their phones had been hacked, it is a serious matter that requires immediate investigation,” said John Whittingdale, the chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which investigated phone hacking. “It would be shocking.”

The lead police investigator on the phone-hacking case, Andy Hayman, left the Metropolitan Police in December 2007 after questions were raised in the news media about business expenses he had filed and the nature of his relationship with a woman who worked for theIndependent Police Complaints Commission.

At the time, Channel 4 News reported details of 400 text messages and phone calls that Mr. Hayman had sent to her.

400 text messages.  Holy Hemiola.  Someone must have been bored out of their gourd sifting through all that minutiae:

Him: Where R U?

Her: At Macy’s

Him: I can’t find the remote

Her: It’s on top of the bookcase

Him: My wife is out for the afternoon.  Where should I meet you?

Her: Ahem, I’ve decided NOT to go out this afternoon.  How about we meet in the kitchen -over my knife?

Remember when we thought that someone had the goods on the Democrats in the past 11 years?  Maybe we weren’t just imagining it.

Meanwhile, Murdoch’s deal to buy up the controlling shares in BSkyB has been put on hold for a few months and his shareholders are shocked, SHOCKED that such shenanigans could be happening right underneath Rupert’s nose.  They’re filing a lawsuit to get to the bottom of it:

Among the lawsuit’s complaints: the company’s purchase of Elisabeth Murodoch’s Shine Group has harmed the shareholder value; the board as it is comprised has numerous conflicts of interest; and the phone-hacking scandal has hurt the company’s reputation and investor value.


You’ve GOT to be kidding.  When Fox was bailing out Bill O’Reilly because he was phone sexing one of his producers and Glenn Beck became a raving lunatic, the shareholders were pretty OK with the company’s reputation.  Fox News has made a name for itself as being fast and loose with the truth (perfectly legal, so saith the courts) and fellating Bush administration officials on a regular basis.  So, why the big deal NO

There’s more stunning hypocrisy:

The egregious conduct triggering this stunning turn of events was not limited to reporters.  Former News Of The World employees involved in the phone hacking have indicated that at least two editors-in-chief of the paper were aware of and condoned the hacking in order to obtain news stories that would  drive readership.

Rebekah Brooks (“Brooks”), a very close friend of Murdoch and his family who has repeatedly been promoted by Murdoch (most recently to the position of Chief Executive Officer of News International), and Andy Coulson (“Coulson”), a Murdoch political ally and a close friend of Brooks who became an aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron, both were editor-in chief of the paper while the illegal hacking was on-going and have been linked to explicit knowledge of the practice.  Coulson, in fact, has been arrested on suspicion of phone hacking and making payments to police and faces criminal indictment for his conduct.

These revelations should not have taken years to uncover and stop. These revelations show a culture run amuck within News Corp and a Board that provides no effective review or oversight.

Oh, I don’t know, Fox has been extremely effective in undermining the social safety net and standard of living of hundreds of millions of people in North America, Britain and Iraq.  Chaos and lack of oversight appear to be key factors in the success of News Corps winning management style.  Let’s not forget it owns the Wall Street Journal and it’s compassionately conservative editorial page.

And what kind of culture has been damaged?  The kind that stops at nothing to ram ultra conservative ideology and farfetched conspiracy theories down the throats of unsuspecting senior citizens and treats the working class like a bunch of parasites?  Or is it the culture that hour after hour, day after day, terrifies its viewers with stories of abductions and child abuse and murders of innocent young white girls to the point where every adult, male or female, is a potential pedophile?  Or is News Corps culture the kind that stampedes the governments of two nations into a stupid and costly war in Iraq?  Where were the shareholders back then?  Having their pedicures in the back of the limo on the tedious drive to Hamptons?

Rupert Murdoch sounds like an authoritarian sociopath to me and from what I can tell, he’s been one for a long time.  I’m guessing that the shareholders *liked* the ruthless bastard just as he was as long as the stock prices of insurance companies, the security industry, armaments dealers and mercenary merchants were increasing. It’s only now that Britain is turning on him that the shareholders find his company distasteful and his culture uncouth.  What I want to know is who these snobs are that brought us to the brink of global economic catastrophe over the financial system deregulation and the ongoing debt ceiling debacle and now think they can slither away unscathed.  Names, I want names.

I predict this scandal is going to spread and have already cornered the market in popcorn.  Where, Oh, Where, will the Republicans go for sympathetic, soft ball interviews?  Ok, I mean *other* than the rest of the American news media?  And can we get a list of the politicians that have shown up on Fox the most?  Or is this just a ruse by the shareholders to ditch Murdoch, make it look like the cesspool is being cleaned up and then party on under new management?

Butter, please.  Lots of it.

16 Responses

  1. Remember when we thought that someone had the goods on the Democrats in the past 11 years? Maybe we weren’t just imagining it.

    OMG….. I didn’t think of this.

    Is there anyone left around here in a position to investigate this idea?

  2. As actor Hugh Grant – who’ve made counter-hacking – has pointed out, the whole media business is infected.

    But I wonder how far the people who (ought to!) have the power is willing, or rather dare go, in uncovering the truth and going after the top, read: Murdoch. Back in january Cameron’s business secretary Vince Cable almost lost his job for speaking out against Murdoch.

    Shortly before Christmas, Cameron stripped Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat business secretary, of his powers on media takeovers after Cable was recorded telling undercover journalists that he had “declared war” on Murdoch. Cameron handed the responsibility to the Tory culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

    And Cameron’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has somewhat politely spoken to Murdoch’s “conscience” (heh!) and asked him to reconsider his bid on BSkyB. That’ll do it, I’m sure.

    • I see that Rupert and his executives have been summoned to Parliament.
      My guess is the honeymoon is over. All things come to an end eventually. Might I suggest that politicians and other bigwigs take this opportunity to make public confessions of all their sins and ethical lapses? There may never be a better time to do it and once you’ve asked for contrition, News Corp will have nothing over you.
      Mea culpa, mea culpa.

      • I’m afraid I’m more skeptical than you. (Or has less “hope”, ha.)

        Although Murdoch&Co. has been called to “give evidence”, this part from John Whittingdale MP

        In particular James Murdoch has said that Parliament was misled.

        sounds more like the Murdochs are been given an opportunity to clear themselves and point fingers at others. Rupert Murdoch so wants and needs BSkyB. And who knows what dirt he’s got on the members of the committee? As for the “public confessions” – don’t think so. The mea culpas on the other hand? Sure, but only after their sins and/or ethical lapses have been exposed … by the media.

        If I ever were to have a tagline it would be “I blame the media”. I don’t think that feeling will change anytime soon, if ever. But we’ll see.

  3. What if MSNBC discovered Fox new had hacked the cell phones of 9-11 victims? Would that cause a ripple in the continum?

  4. “continuum” two “u”‘s. Really. Vacuum that!

  5. Or is this just a ruse by the shareholders to ditch Murdoch, make it look like the cesspool is being cleaned up and then party on under new management?

    Yes it is just a ruse. And the ruse has a name. The name is Deterrence.

    The medium is the message. So that tells us it is not the content that is the message. What is being hidden here? It is being righteous is it not? So that would indicate that there is something much worse that it is covering up. What can that be?

    IF you are not reading Cosmopolis then at least read the theory that Vija Kinsky is meditating on to Eric Packer. For it is Baudrillard speaking through her.

    The Jaycee Dugard Event is not about JC and her ordeal. The meaning of her experience is being smothered in news info. The real meaning is then buried and only by digging through archives and putting it together can one get at it. On Diane Sawyer someone likened it to 9-11. Another idea of mine in the ether. Yes it is. A huge segment of our population cannot connect dots. Why? Because of interrogation in education, communication, questioning, polling trivia etc. No more contemplation. Go see The Tree of Life. It is all contemplation.

  6. Everyone is awash in information. Information is not knowledge, it is not knowing. And as Foucault says, Knowledge is not for knowing; knowledge is made for “cutting”.

  7. And they said Princess Diana was nuts because she thought her phone calls were bugged. She was a true princess and could tell there was a pea under the mattress.


    • Diana was divine but I’m kinda partial to Will and Kate. For one thing, it’s Will AND Kate. They look like a pair who enjoy each other’s company and take their obligations very seriously. For another, she has pulled off an amazing feat, she looks more royal than the Windsors. I think her middle class background has something to do with it. She’s not in awe of her in-laws and oddly enough, I think they like it. It’s weird, but if I were a Brit, I’d begrudge them nothing.
      Well done. Loved the trees in the abbey. Absolutely breathtaking.

      • Actually I think William would prefer she be called Catherine, but I doubt the media will comply. They still refer to Princess Diana as “Lady Di”.

        But I totally agree that not only do they seem to enjoy being and representing together they are also terrific good sports! The things they are asked to do and put up with – and they do it with big smiles and laughter. I’m impressed, even when I know that nothing hasn’t been agreed to in advance.

      • For one thing, it’s Will AND Kate. They look like a pair who enjoy each other’s company and take their obligations very seriously

        yes and much of that is thanks to Diana and what she endured.
        As a small boy, Will watched that, voved to make it right and is now doing so.

  8. Hmmm… Paul Krugman is banging is head against the wall.

    I do that.
    It feels so good when I stop.

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