Anyone waiting for the next shoe to drop in the News Corp hacking affair would be wise to seek cover. It’s about to hail footwear. No matter how hard Rupert Murdoch and his minions struggle to hold back the sea, they are continuing to get battered by higher and more powerful waves of corruption. And the tsunami is reaching across the Atlantic to American shores.
Here are a few of the late breaking stories that threaten to being down many of News Corp’s highest ranking officers:
“…a former New York cop made the 9/11 hacking claim. He alleged he was contacted by News of the World journalists who said they would pay him to retrieve the private phone records of the dead.”
“The watchdog group Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is calling on Congress to investigate Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for evidence that the company’s sprawling phone hacking scandal reached the United States.”
“British media said Monday that Brown was one of thousands whose personal details — including his bank account and his son’s medical records — were targeted by people working for News International titles including the Sun and the Sunday Times.”
“A group of News Corp. shareholders have sued the company over a phone-hacking scandal at its now-closed News of the World tabloid in London. The lawsuit accuses News Corp. of large-scale governance failures.”
The scandal is reaching into the executive suites of Rupert Murdoch, who may lose his bid for the BSkyB satellite business. Even worse, he may be liable for prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Murdoch’s man at Dow Jones (parent of the Wall Street Journal), Les Hinton, has been implicated in a cover up. Even conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron called Hinton out saying…
“There is now a large-scale and well-resourced police investigation. Of course, in 2006 we did have a police investigation, but we can now see that it was plainly inadequate. This in itself requires investigation.”
That 2006 investigation was overseen by Hinton who concluded that only one NotW reporter had done anything wrong. Clearly that was untrue. We now know that more than 4,000 people were victims of the hackers. Either Hinton was utterly incompetent or he was deliberately complicit in the cover up. And while Hinton was running Murdoch’s British papers, Rebekah Brooks was the editor of NotW. Brooks was briefly in charge of conducting the most recent inquiry into the scandal, but she has been removed as more speculation arises as to her involvement.
As an illustration of the depraved nature of these weasels, BBC’s Newsnight hosted actor/comedian Steve Coogan who confronted the former deputy features editor of NotW, Paul McMullan. Coogan told McMullan that he was morally bankrupt after McMullan explicitly defended the unlawful practice of hacking into people’s cell phones:
McMullan: I’ve always said that I try to write articles in a truthful way, and what better source of getting the truth is to listen to someone’s messages?
McMullan could also get the truth by breaking into people’s homes and hiding in their closets. He went on to make the ludicrous claim that freedom of the press would be at risk if he were prohibited from invading the privacy of anyone with a phone. And he mocked Coogan for profiting from his celebrity while complaining about having his phone hacked.
Today Rupert Murdoch withdrew his offer to spin off Sky News as a condition to win approval of his acquisition of BSkyB. That condition was key to the bid going forward due to concerns that he would control too much of the British media. By withdrawing the offer he casts the bid back into the Competition Commission for a review that will likely take six months. Murdoch’s purpose is to delay the decision in hopes that the hacking scandal would fade away. But there is now the risk that the Commission will decline approval for the acquisition. This move shows both how cynical and how desperate Murdoch is.
Stay tuned. This thing is getting worse by the hour. And don’t expect to see much about it on Fox News. Roger Ailes must be running scared himself. I wonder why.