British Parliament Debates Murdoch’s News Corp

Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

We’ve been following the growing worldwide scandal of  phone hacking of  the families of victims of terror and lost servicemen by the British tabloid, News of The World. The 186 year-old British weekly  publication shut down earlier this month amid cries for a full investigation into sensationalist journalism that apparently relied on listening in to voice mails of the victims. British PM David Cameron has recalled Parliament into extraordinary session to debate the phone hacking scandal engendered by Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. Murdoch, his son, James, and officials from NOW’s parent company, News Corp, have appeared before Parliament Select Committees amid torrents of popular protest to answer questions about upper management’s role. To date, Murdoch and his lieutenants have denied any prior knowledge of the methods used to fuel the gotcha’ stories. Calls are now being heard for PM Cameron’s resignation and that of Murdoch himself who has denied any  wrongdoing.

The debate in Parliament began this morning and PM Cameron has acknowledged mistakes and “profound regret” in naming former NOW editor, Andy Coulson, as his press secretary, even amid allegations that he was aware of payments made to British police to secure private information which made its way into NOW stories. Cameron also said that if Coulson was aware of the phone hacking during his tenure at NOW,he had been lied to and  a sincere apology to the House of Commons was in order. The opposition was not satisfied, calling for an in-depth investigation into the relationship between the media, police forces, and politicians. The Prime Minster has already nominated a committee of police and media “experts” to head the investigation along with a British judge. In the wake of the scandal two top British police officials have resigned, as has Rebekah Brooks, the CEO of NOW’s parent company and its former editor.

You can watch the debates live on C-Span and here. Given allegations that similar methods were employed in the U.S. by other Murdoch media properties, such an investigation may be coming to a government entity near you. Murdoch owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal among other media outlets around the world.

Source: BBC

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

31 thoughts on “British Parliament Debates Murdoch’s News Corp”

  1. News America by no means has clean hands:

    “Murdoch’s U.S. arm paid off in cyber-hacking, defamation”

    “According to the Times, a federal case in New Jersey brought by a company called Floorgraphics went to trial in 2009 in which News America was accused of,hacking its way into Floorgraphics’s password protected computer system, obtaining proprietary information and then disseminating false, misleading and damaging information about the plaintiff.

    The complaint said the breach was traced to an I.P. address registered to News America and that after the break-in, Floorgraphics lost contracts from Safeway, Winn-Dixie and Piggly Wiggly, the Times reports.

    Much of the lawsuit, the Times says, was based on the testimony of Robert Emmel, a former News America executive who had become a whistle-blower. After a few days of testimony, News America’s parent company, News Corp., settled with Floorgraphics for $29.5 million and then, days later, bought it, even though it reportedly had sales of less than $1 million.”

    http://conantcensorshipissue.blogspot.com/2011/07/praising-mobster-methods-murdochs-u.html
    —–

    “NYT: Hacking Settlements Are ‘Chicken Feed’ Compared to Payouts for Alleged Corporate Hijinks”

    “The money the company reportedly paid out to hacking victims is chicken feed compared with what it has spent trying to paper over the tactics of News America in a series of lawsuits filed by smaller competitors in the United States,” the newspaper says.

    The Times details these settlements:

    • A company called Floorgraphics accused News America in 2009 of hacking into its password protected computer system to obtain proprietary information and disseminate falsehoods about the company. News America settled for $29.5 million and bought Floorgraphics days later.

    • News America paid $500 million in a 2010 settlement with Valassis Communications, also agreeing to cooperate with the company on certain ventures.

    • News America paid $125 million to Insignia Systems this year in a suit alleging anticompetitive behavior.”

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/news_corp._hacking_settlements_chicken_feed_compared_to_655m_paid_for_alleg/

  2. While I value the investigation into Murdoch’s sleaze, I hope this investigation keeps going much wider and deeper. Everyone’s communications are intercepted by the govt of the US. In both England and the US, newzcorpses work hand in hand with the govt. to control access to information, to disseminate govt. propaganda and to hide the amount of police state spying that is occurring. It needs to be exposed, all of it. -Jill

    Well said, Jill. Yes, the investigation should be broadened and, as you also said:

    “It needs to be exposed, all of it.”

    This seems pretty small compared to the whole problem…

    —————–

    They leave out or minimize, the interconnection between the newzcorpse, the govt’s counter terrorism head, the police and the highest level of the govt. itself. -Jill

    Yes, the focus should now be on the police, counterterrorism officials, and Cameron’s administration, followed by wherever it leads in the U.S. There’s more to come…

  3. The fact that Murdoch refused to take ultimate responsibility for the actions of his employees is a telling comment about the man and his management style. The boss always bears the ultimate responsibility for the actions of his employees. The claim of ignorance as absolution is a specious one. That Murdoch would gladly throw everyone below him under the bus to absolve himself of ultimate responsibility is a statement of the sociopathic nature of the man. As my father used to jokingly say to me: “I’m always right, but i’m never wrong.” To Murdoch, that is revealed truth and not irony.

  4. Most of the stories I hear or read focus on the Murdoch newzcorpse. They leave out or minimize, the interconnection between the newzcorpse, the govt’s counter terrorism head, the police and the highest level of the govt. itself. I also hear about how low the standards are in England’s journalism community compared to American newzcorpses. That’s a joke. With the WPo holding salons with our “leadership” and Glenn Greenwald pointing out how Jeremy Scahill’s story on the CIA’s torture prison in Somalia is going exactly nowhere in our “press”, it’s absurd to believe the same powerful nexus isn’t occurring here.

    While I value the investigation into Murdoch’s sleaze, I hope this investigation keeps going much wider and deeper. Everyone’s communications are intercepted by the govt of the US. In both England and the US, newzcorpses work hand in hand with the govt. to control access to information, to disseminate govt. propaganda and to hide the amount of police state spying that is occurring. It needs to be exposed, all of it.

  5. Great story Mark and great link Elaine. I had not seen the actual footage of the “attack”! Hilarious and sad at the same time. These guys are dirty and disgusting and should be taken down. I don’t think Australia wants them either, Andy!

  6. This is what happens when the boss(Murdoch) comes around the people who work for him I can imagine its all smiles and everything is fine boss.

    When the #$%@$ hits the fan the boss is hung out to dry,and his arrogance and his ignorance are really doing a number at the end of that rope.

    Wife has a good right cross though,she didn’t have time to finish the protestor off with a left hook .IMHO:=)

  7. Andy sez: “Uphold British tradition, transport them to Australia.”

    **********************************************

    Now Andy, what has Australia done to you? I know of few deserted islands in the Aleutians that might be a good place.

  8. America does not want them….Now, I wonder…if personal financial liability is still going to happen in the UK……Say the awards of damages exceed the assets of the corporations worth…..

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