There has been plenty written about the nefarious tactics of Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp (and other publications) to get the dirt on celebs, politicians, and anyone unfortunate enough to be newsworthy. It is hard to get one’s arms around the scope of these revelations. When Price Charles and the UK’s top police are also victims of the bugging, do Rupert Murdoch and his ilk get a level of control over the lives of the bugged unforeseen before the electronic age?
A top cop was bugged, and was publicly flayed for fiddling the books and cheating on his wife. He resigned… and then he went to work for a Murdoch publication.* Among many pieces he wrote for Murdoch was one defending the thoroughness of an earlier bugging investigation by Scotland Yard! The ability to potentially blackmail the pols, royals and police appears infinite, on top of the influence wielded solely by the amount of media penetration in the UK, US, Australia and other countries.
Rebeckah Brooks is a personal friend of David Cameron; both live in Oxford and go horseback riding together. She also was a friend of Tony Blair. Both Cameron and Gordon Brown attended her 2009 wedding. Hello? It looks like Rupert/ Rebeckah/News International is a kingmaker after all.
Although originally Australian, Murdoch is a naturalized US citizen. However, he’s often referred to as the UK’s “permanent Cabinet member.” In Australia, Murdoch controls 70% of news readership.
The enormity of the implications of this level of eavesdropping are still hard for me to grasp. But a true story written by actor Hugh Grant (the guy can write, too) starts to bring it down to a human level for me. Perhaps you too will find his personal tale of meeting and trading stories with a hacker of interest.
* According to the NY Times (This is a must-read to see how the police covered up an earlier investigation of phone hacking with 4,000 vixtims: Andy Hayman, who as chief of the counterterrorism unit was running the investigation, also had several dinners with News International editors, including one in April 2006 while his officers were looking into the allegations. Hayman told Parliament he never discussed the investigation with editors.
Hayman left the Metropolitan Police in December 2007 and was soon hired to write a column for The Times of London, a News International paper. He defended the inquiry that he led, writing in his column in July 2009 that his detectives had “left no stone unturned.”
Three months later, Wallis, the former deputy editor of News of the World, was hired by Scotland Yard to provide strategic media advice on phone-hacking matters to the police commissioner, among others.
UPDATE: A useful article from which some tidbits were borrowed is this one from the July 15 WaPo/AP: Phone hacking scandal casts light on Murdoch’s political role around the globe.
UPDATE: Head of Scotland Yard resigns over hacking scandal.
UPDATE: Scotland Yard’s #2 man quits as well. The rotten core of modern political life is cracking open. Can the fallout be contained? Are there are any honest police left who are capable of interrogating their former (corrupt) leaders? Will this investigation be conducted honestly, when the former ones were coverups?