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.