Rage Against The Machine

Submitted By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Has the Emperor of Gotcha' Been Got?

Britain’s largest weekly tabloid, News of the World,  closes today, but not from lack of advertisers or readers. Instead, the Rupert Murdoch led tabloid succumbed to its own excesses amid shocking allegations of  interceptions of cellphone voice mails of the families of a murdered 13-year-old girl, servicemen and women slain in Afghanistan, and victims of  the 2005 London terrorist bombings.  Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who worked for News of the World,  is accused of the electronic hacking.

One of the victims, Graham Foulkes, whose son, David, died in the 2005 London attack, said “Janet and I were obviously having very intimate personal phone calls with friends and family. To think that when you’re at the lowest time in life that somebody, for the sake of a cheap story, is maybe listening to you, it’s just beyond words.”

The outrage from the British public has been complete and has political overtones.  Perhaps not too surprisingly, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has been almost alone in not calling for the paper’s editor, Rebekah Brooks, to resign. Murdoch’s News International syndicate was a tireless and enthusiastic supporter of Cameron in last year’s British parliamentary elections. The cozy relationship between Brooks and the PM resulted in Cameron spending the Christmas holiday with Brooks and her family.

Criticism for the PM’s reluctance is growing and Cameron has moved to call for a complete investigation. Cameron is also dealing with the fact that his Director of Communications, Andy Coulson, is a former editor of NOW. Coulson  resigned in January citing another  scandal as a “distraction,” but the British public is all too aware that Coulson, while editor, was accused of  paying police tens of thousands of pounds from NOW funds.

James Murdoch, son of the undisputed guru of sensationalist journalism, said the scandal will result in punishments for the newspaper’s culpable employees. “Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued.” He pledged that “those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences.” NOW has published for 168 years and is wildly profitable. The closing has real effects on the Murdoch  Empire and is the most serious challenge to the what some regard as the voice of conservatism on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. Murdoch’s Fox News is a vocal backer of conservative candidates in the U.S. as well, and has faced its own share of criticism in that enterprise.

As for Murdoch, Sr., he seems to realize the gravamen of the situation deciding to fly to London and axe the paper in an attempt to stem the wave of criticism. The mogul may be the victim of his own doing as well. Many newspaper scandals in the past have been ameliorated by the presence of strong and independent boards of directors who act immediately to discharge the offending editors and restore the paper’s image. Not so with Murdoch’s companies, whose boards show a disturbing lack of resistance to Murdoch’s will. Simon Duke, a financial writer for the UK’s “This is Your Money” website puts it this way, “All too often, Murdoch Sr has been able to bend the board to his will with embarrassing ease. The directors all appear to rub along very smoothly; so much so that the 80-year-old has been able to rail-road through a series of deals that, to the outside world, look a lot like pandering to the whim of the chief executive.”

Is this a “Rosebud” moment for the all-powerful tabloid mogul? Only time will tell, but what is beyond doubt is that the drive for sensationalism has shaken to the foundation the once unassailable House of Murdoch.

Sources: This Is Your Money;  Washington Post

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

146 thoughts on “Rage Against The Machine”

  1. http://rt.com/usa/news/hacking-scandal-murdoch-corp-906/

    Murdoch hacking scandal moves to US

    Published: 12 April, 2012, 19:40

    Article, as published on RT:

    The international hacking scandal that disrupted Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and ended his trademark paper The News of the World is officially coming to America. A prominent British lawyer has confirmed he will be filing related charges in the US.

    Attorney Mark Lewis has revealed that he will seek legal action on behalf of three American clients that he believes were targeted in the hacking scandal that almost collapsed Murdoch’s News Corporation last year. The lawyer is slated to arrive in the US on Saturday and the UK’s Guardian has confirmed that he will begin talking to parties in New York next week as he works to bring charges against Murdoch’s group domestically.

    Lewis has gone on the record to say that no charges have been filed yet, but he intends on taking that route in the near future after seeking aid from Norman Siegel, a US-based attorney that will work alongside him as they work to develop a case. Siegel formerly served as head of the American Civil Liberties Union and represented many of the families of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    To the BBC, Lewis claims he will be pursuing legal action on behalf of at least three persons, including two sports figures and one other civilian that he chose not to identify, whom he believes had their personal information hacked by parties working at or for News Corp. In a recent interview with the media outlet, the attorney introduced the international implications the News Corp. hacking scandal had outside of the UK.

    “The scandal as it is is not just then confined to the United Kingdom or to the United Kingdom companies like News International and News Group Newspapers,” explains Lewis. “This goes to the heartland of News Corporation and we’ll be looking at the involvement of the parent company in terms of claims there and that is something that will be taken more seriously by perhaps the investors and shareholders in News Corporation.”

    “The News of the World had thousands of people they hacked. Some of them were in America at the time, either traveling or resident there.”

    Although News Corp. has a major presence in the UK and is run by Murdoch, an Australian national, the headquarters of the billion dollar media business entity is located in New York, New York. Last year Lewis told CNN that he was interested in taking his plight to the American judicial system, where he believed he could file charges against News Corp. for a breach in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977. Under the regulations set forth in that act, companies run in the US are prohibited from paying foreign parties to obtain or retain business. Following allegations that News Corp had come into possession of personal data after bribing law enforcement officials abroad, Lewis said he intended on opening up charges in the US. (end of article)

  2. Making money online and being able to stay at home with my kids is wonderful! Here is a list of all the different writing sites out there that I signed up with..check it out.

  3. Mespo,
    Great Stooges link. They are a personal favorite of mine!
    Great link to the “curious” coincidences in the Murdoch Evil Empires last stand.

  4. A dead whistleblower and now a bag of tossed electronics Ms. Brook’s husband says is his, not hers. Curiouser and curiouser:

    “Police examine bag found in bin near Rebekah Brooks’ home”

    “Former NI chief executive’s husband denies bag – containing computer, paperwork and phone – belonged to his wife

    Detectives are examining a computer, paperwork and a phone found in a bin near the riverside London home of Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International.

    The Guardian has learned that a bag containing the items was found in an underground car park in the Design Centre at the exclusive Chelsea Harbour development on Monday afternoon.

    The car park, under a shopping centre, is yards from the gated apartment block where Brooks lives with her husband, a former racehorse trainer and close friend of David Cameron.

    It is understood the bag was handed in to security at around 3pm, and that shortly afterwards Brooks’s husband, Charlie, arrived and tried to reclaim it. He was unable to prove the bag was his and the security guard refused to release it. …”


  5. mespo,

    Thanks! My daughter LOVED the Three Stooges when she was little. I used to love to hear her giggling when she watched their shows on television.

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