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Rupert Murdoch's Newspaper's Phone Hacking

by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 4, 2011 3:42 AM PDT

Murdoch owns most of the world's media it would seem. Shades of James Bond's "Tomorrow Never Dies" perhaps, where a newspaper magnate attempts to take over the world's news media.

Murdoch owns one of the UK's shadiest Newspapers, the "News of the World" a Sunday paper. Very little news of the world is reported, instead it is full of gossip, sex scandal, (real and imaginary), and other pointless so-called news.

In 2002 Milly Dowler, a 13 year old teenager, disappeared on the way home from school. Her murderer was only caught last year and has recently been convicted of her murder and that of 2 other young women.

It is alleged that, in 2002, the News of the World employed a Private Investigator to hack into Milly's cell phone to find out what he could. Unknown to the investigator, the police were in possession of the phone for the same reasons, to see if there was any contact with any suspicious person.

The hacker, seeing that the VoiceMail was full, deleted some messages, to allow space for further messages. That action caused Milly's parents hope that Milly was still alive, but of course, Milly was already dead. Her remains were found 6 months later.

The news has just broken because the court case against the murderer was ongoing;
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8616409/Milly-Dowlers-phone-was-hacked-by-News-of-The-World.html

Since 2002, or possibly even before then, the News of the World has hacked into many other cell phones, for celebrities, the Royal Family, Politicians and the like;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_of_the_World_phone_hacking_affair

It is an ongoing scandal of its own making that is still being investigated, but this latest revelation of callous phone hacking is likely to increase pressure on the authorities to take action;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_of_the_World_phone_hacking_affair

Is this just another acceptable aspect of the media's oft revered Freedom of Speech, or is it time for Murdoch to step down, and for News Corporation to be broken up? I know what I think.

Mark

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There was a kids game we would play
by Steven Haninger / July 4, 2011 3:55 AM PDT

called "King of the Hill". Perhaps you had your version when younger. Any pile of dirt would suffice. One kid would run to the top and proclaim himself as king...thus daring others to dethrone him. Eventually he'd be knocked off and someone would take his place. The game would persist until all participants were exhausted or, in some cases, a donnybrook broke out. I don't think it's hard to see that the game exists in many adult versions as well though sinew and courage are not the choice of tools for success. Wink

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I always played with my dolls!
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 4, 2011 4:01 AM PDT
Happy

Mark
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Not touching that one.
by Steven Haninger / July 4, 2011 4:23 AM PDT

Just too many mischievous comebacks to pick just one. Devil

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As you mention Freedom of Speech...
by J. Vega / July 4, 2011 4:36 AM PDT

As you mention Freedom of Speech, let's consider the U.S. , where that freedom is in the Constitution, so the media tends to bring it up. In the U.S., the current "King of the Hill" here seems to be G.E., so is it time for G.E. to be broken up?

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No idea what GE is
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 4, 2011 4:38 AM PDT

but I would have to ask, if the media in the US just happened to hamper a police investigation in some way, whether that still comes under your Freedom of Speech.

But in fact my own question, really, was, is Murdoch now too big? If he gets any bigger does he begin to stifle competition and innovation?

Mark

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GE is...
by J. Vega / July 4, 2011 4:48 AM PDT
In reply to: No idea what GE is

GE is General Electric.

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My topic is about
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 4, 2011 4:52 AM PDT
In reply to: GE is...

the media and it's use of phone hacking, and my specific question was about Murdoch's empire.

Mark

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Bit of a sticky one
by Steven Haninger / July 4, 2011 5:28 AM PDT
In reply to: My topic is about

First off...and I don't know the cited publication but it sound as if it's just that...a publication and not a newspaper. Comic books are publications as well. But, anyway, the article itself mentions the word "alleged" in regards to the employment of the person who did the hacking. It also mentions that the investigator was not aware that the police had the phone and that he might be interfering with their investigation. So, we don't know much anything with certainty. Now, if the private investigator did knowingly and willingly do what was alleged, the picture changes. Otherwise, we have little but hypothesis by another writer/investigator.

As for "is it time for Murdock to step down", that would be his choice unless someone could find that he's breaking the law. Otherwise, I think he's probably savvy enough to know to listen to negative public outcry regarding any one component of his, as you called it, "empire" to dismantle it if needed. My "king of the hill" analogy was just to note that people such as Murdock are going to face those who want to knock him off the top for their own reasons. Personally...and if it needs to be done...I'd rather see a king taken down by a better king than be knocked off by someone who might just be looking for notoriety or holding some grudge.

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It's a full fledged newspaper
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 4, 2011 5:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Bit of a sticky one
http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/notw/public/home/

Although I would dispute that anyway.

As to alleged, one of the paper's editors was jailed a few years ago for plotting to hack into the Royal Family's cell phones;
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-431739/Ex-News-World-royal-editor-jailed-royal-phone-bug-plot.html

And so was the same investigator, Mulcaire. So there is past evidence of hacking, and as I said before, investigations are ongoing.

Are you saying then that you believe the media should be allowed to hack in to phones with impunity, simply because of Freedom of the Press or Freedom of Speech?

We often discuss here 'who is ultimately to blame', especially when it comes to Presidential matters, (whichever President). Should Murdoch be held ultimately to blame? I think so.

Mark
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Not saying anything of the kind
by Steven Haninger / July 4, 2011 6:29 AM PDT

Freedom of Speech or the press has nothing to do with suggesting "anything goes" as far as gathering information. We, in the US, also have constitutionally protected privacy rights. I'd consider telephone hacking, unless under proper warrant and conducted by such as police, is way over the top. If it was proven or admitted to have done by the PI in your original post, that investigator should be held accountable. But if it was done for the purpose of gathering data to use in that newspaper and guidelines against doing such were not present and/or not enforced, I'd say the newspaper's ownership should find itself culpable. I'm not going to go as far as to say this would be egregious enough to dismantle the entire business though I know that some would want to use any excuse to do so. But, if you've read a few of my posts regarding my opinions on the reporting accuracy or integrity of our news media, you'll know that I'm not their biggest fan though this one is rather kind.

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I had never heard...
by J. Vega / July 4, 2011 12:30 PM PDT

I had never heard of the "News of the World" before. I don't follow news about the Royal family or any old British murder stories. If somebody in England stepped out of bounds, I would think the the law there would deal with that.
The principle of Freedom of the Press in the U.S. was brought up, but as those things took place in England I would have thought that laws about freedom of the press in England would be brought up. How many people here were familiar with, or even had hears of that paper, so why discuss it here rather than elsewhere?

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He may not be free to discuss it in England
by James Denison / July 4, 2011 12:57 PM PDT
In reply to: I had never heard...

There is some censorship there.

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No censorship here
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 4, 2011 8:22 PM PDT

I don't see blank areas in our newspapers, or TV news reports suddenly blanked out.

Mark

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With the greatest respect Mark, particularly since you
by Ziks511 / July 4, 2011 1:45 PM PDT

clearly aren't happy with tabloid journalism. But there are a plethora if not a flood of crude publications in Britain.

Since there is a pattern of this behaviour in Murdoch run papers, there should be at least a reason to haul him into court, without bail because of his ability to flee to at least 2 other jurisdictions, the US or Australia. Then start a huge investigation on all Murdoch papers simultaneously to see just how much Murdoch has been exercising influence, and which of the editors have been engaging in illegal activities. I'd like to see the whole empire brought crashing down, and I believe it is larger than General Electric's, certainly in numbers of outlets. GE owns NBC and MSNBC

"Of the major corporations that dominate and control the American media landscape, the company, General Electric is one of the largest and most influential." Note that, one of the largest and influential. Not the largest, not the most influential. As previously mentioned Fox should be broken apart (and trampled into the dirt) before GE.

Rob

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Things are different here...
by C1ay / July 5, 2011 10:37 AM PDT
In reply to: No idea what GE is
"but I would have to ask, if the media in the US just happened to hamper a police investigation in some way, whether that still comes under your Freedom of Speech."

Freedom of speech is freedom to speak and publish, not to commit interference in an investigation. That could yield an obstruction of justice charge here.
<div>
"But in fact my own question, really, was, is Murdoch now too big? If he gets any bigger does he begin to stifle competition and innovation?"
</div>
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GE=Energy, Technology Infrastructure, NBC Universal, Capital
by Ziks511 / July 6, 2011 9:07 AM PDT
In reply to: No idea what GE is

"General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States.[1][4] The company operates through five segments: Energy, Technology Infrastructure, NBC Universal, Capital Finance andConsumer & Industrial.[5][6] In 2011, Forbes ranked General Electric third largest[7] after JPMorgan Chase and HSBC,[8] based on a formula that compared the totalsales, profits, assets and market value of several multinational companies.[9] The company has 287,000 employees around the world.[2]"

Wikipedia.

And if it's the third largest company in the US, why does it only employ 287,000 people world-wide? That's a hell of a lot of per capita wealth generation.

Rob

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What everybody here is missing is the power weilded by
by Ziks511 / July 6, 2011 9:00 AM PDT

Rupert Murdoch in the political arena behind the scenes. NotW has a circulation of 7.5 million newspapers every Sunday. Tony Blair tried to maintain a close relationship with them, so did Gordon Brown, and I'm sure David Cameron (they're all British Prime Ministers) does too. NotW is believed to be the largest distributed newspaper in the English Speaking World.

Nor is censorship the issue. The areas in Britain covered by censorship are about the size of a sycamore leaf compared to the human body, and its location is specified. But even that's not the issue, the issue is the threat of illegally acquired knowledge being used to pressure or blackmail political personalities or individuals generally. It is the use of illegal methods to work the will of a very nasty man. Rupert Murdoch makes Richard Nixon look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm. He is a professional paranoid who is attempting to get 100% ownership of the major satellite network in Britain B Sky B where he is currently restricted to ?35%, at which point FoxNews will look like a cuddly kitten. He will dominate the airwaves in a way that has never happened before outside the Soviet Union, a single viewpoint pushed by numerous broadcast entities. And he's not a government with responsibilities, he's a vicious wildcat capitalist who will do anything to use that power to manipulate the government to benefit itself or its hyper- conservative agenda, like Fox News on steroids. Imagine that 50 or 60% of broadcast news came from the same source. That is what Murdoch's agenda is. (Actually his agenda is 100% and thus total control of the government in perpetuity.) Now it's not happening quickly enough to suit Rupert, but it is happening gradually.

GE has interests in Defense, and Home Lighting and Electronics in general and lots of other things, and because it was in at the founding of RCA, and then bought its shares back about 20 years ago it controls (loosely) NBC. You may not like it but it's not a One Trick Pony, it has other elements which give it a much broader outlook. Rupert Murdoch wants total control of the majority of the News Media in order to impose his political agenda.

To quote the movies, Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid. Indeed this whole thing is very like a 1950's science fiction film like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, instead of pods, you're being programmed by your TV.

With every instance of centralization of Press & Media ownership, the more opinions that are lost from the national debate.

And how American of us not to have heard of the largest circulation English language weekly newspaper in the world. If we were any more self absorbed, we'd be FoxNews, and we may end up becoming it.

Rob

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How how American of us not to have heard...
by J. Vega / July 6, 2011 2:18 PM PDT

And how American of us not to have heard of the largest circulation English language weekly newspaper in the world? It may have something to do with it being a weekly newspaper, as opposed to a daily. Whatever the country, how many ordinary people are familiar with the various weeklies in other countries? BTW, I think the largest English language daily in the world is the Times of India.

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Weekly newspaper
by harsimaja / July 7, 2011 9:33 AM PDT

In the US weeklies may traditionally have small circulations, but in Britain they are quite comparable to the dailies - and, like the dailies, there are several major national ones, and NOW is (was) the biggest. In fact, in my part of the world, the (national) weeklies tend to be a bigger deal than the (local) dailies. It's a purely chance correlation that's become part of a specific culture, just as there's nothing intrinsic to being tabloid size that makes newspapers sleazier than broadsheets (the Times has technically been a tabloid for some years now, though scary Mr Murdoch owns that too).

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Why isn't the Editor of NOW in jail for Obstruction of Justi
by Ziks511 / July 4, 2011 1:26 PM PDT

ce or the English equivalent. And why isn't there a blanket investigation of the NOW for its illegal activities regarding Princess Diana and hundreds of other incidents. It is a paper which exists because of illegally purchased information either from hackers (I'll bet they have a staff of them) and from purchasing news from various of the great and not so good, probably through blackmail with some, and merely playing on the malice of others.

The story of the degeneration of English journalism in the 19th Century to an industry built upon pandering to the lowest industrial classes is quite a sad one. I read a book about it for an essay in end of 19th Century History, Lord Northcliffe and his brother Lord Rothermere, press barons and rivals who pandered with gossip and sensationalism.

Rob

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10 years ago

She wasn't the editor when this happened. Innocent people shouldn't go to jail.

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Finally made news in America today
by James Denison / July 4, 2011 11:03 PM PDT

What I don't get is why all this is coming to a head 10 years later?

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Britain-shocked-by-hacking-apf-3291823073.html?x=0

"The newspaper is now accused of hacking into Dowler's voicemail and
deleting several messages on her cell phone, giving her parents false
hope that she was alive as well as potentially damaging the police
effort to find her.Lawyer Mark Lewis, representing the family,
said he plans to sue the tabloid for its interference in the days after
the girl went missing while heading home from school in Walton-on-Thames
in Surrey, south of London. Her remains were found in woodlands six
months later by mushroom pickers. It was not clear how long she was
alive after being abducted."It is distress heaped upon tragedy to
learn that the News of the World had no humanity at such a terrible
time," Lewis said. "The fact that they were prepared to act in such a
heinous way that could have jeopardized the police investigation and
give them false hope is despicable."He said someone at the newspaper should take responsibility.The
Dowler family claims a private investigator working for the paper
deleted some of Milly's messages to make room for new messages. The
family was told of the intrusion into her cell phone in April, but the
accusations were only made public Monday."

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Definitely would be more a breach of privacy rather than
by Steven Haninger / July 5, 2011 1:50 AM PDT

free speech or press issue. As for the length of the process, I have to think that at some point delays of this type do less to enhance what is factual data than they do to blur it. In any event, a person who would hack another person's phone in this manner should be severely reprimanded and probably not be allowed to keep their job.

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Continuing court case
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 5, 2011 3:30 AM PDT

In the UK details of proceedings and police investigations are not disclosed until after any court case. It took nearly 10 years to find the murderer and convict him. The details are just emerging.

It is reckoned that she was killed on the day of abduction.

The investigation is widening. In 2002 two young school children, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman were brutally murdered by Ian Huntley, who worked as a Janitor at their school. That case was solved within months.

But it has now emerged that the same PI may also have hacked into the phone of one of the girl's fathers. I would assume, although just my own (unfounded) speculation, that the PI and/or the newspaper wanted to see if either of the fathers were implicated in the deaths.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/05/phone-hacking-soham-families-police

Breaking News, on BBC TV News just this instant, no links as yet, a reporter says that the PI involved has released a statement that he was under relentless pressure to provide such hacked information to the NOTW.

Also reported, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and many hundreds more hacking instances are likely to be uncovered.

Mark

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Why is Murdoch even mention??
by Mike_Hanks / July 5, 2011 10:24 AM PDT

If he had no personal involvement, then it is pointless to mention him.

The TSA recently strip searched a 95 year old lady.
Should OBAMA be included in that story too?

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The best article on this issue I've found
by Ziks511 / July 5, 2011 11:12 PM PDT
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/jacob-heilbrunn/britains-newspaper-scandal-rupert-murdoch-news-the-world-5569

He makes a similar point to the one I made, which is that somebody there is responsible, and should have resigned over the excesses. That Scotland Yard appears to be on Murdoch's payroll, and that supervisory level people there should resign or be fired for malfeasance. And Murdoch's empire should be broken up with a wrecking ball, preferably with Murdoch tied to the working face of the ball. All in all an appalling story of Journalism gone into the toilet.

Rob
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Wel, it's being investigated
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 6, 2011 7:23 AM PDT

so it's too early to hang anyone yet.

But yes, the net is widening. Some Police Officers may or may not have received payments for information, illegal in the UK, and the scale of the alleged hacking is getting even bigger.

Many of the NotW's advertisers are pulling out, "The Twitter accounts of firms such as the Co-operative, Virgin Media and Easyjet have been bombarded by a concerted campaign of tweets calling on them to ditch the Sunday newspaper." So yet again Twitter is showing its new found muscle in public and political affairs.

News of the World - Counting the Cost.

"Certainly the stock markets are taking note, with News Corp's share price down 3.5% at the New York open on Wednesday."

Mark

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It's being investigated by the same police force that accept
by Ziks511 / July 6, 2011 9:22 AM PDT

ed money for information on other investigations. That's not something that makes me feel comfortable. Neither the cosy relationship between Murdoch and various political administrations, nor the close relationship with parts of the Constabulary around the country, let alone Scotland Yard makes me feel secure or that the right thing will eventually be done.
I'm glad that Twitter has turned out to be such a remarkable tool for direct democratic action. Talk about unintended consequences.

Rob

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Revenge is sweet??
by JP Bill / July 7, 2011 1:44 PM PDT
Andy Coulson to Be Arrested Over Phone Hacking Scandal

The Guardian is reporting that Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor and
communications director for British Prime Minister David Cameron, will
be arrested tomorrow morning over suspicions stemming from a recently
discovered batch of emails that he "knew about, or had direct
involvement in" the tabloid's practice of hacking cell phones. The news comes after Rupert Murdoch announced that he would be shuttering News of the World as outrage mounts and the police investigation into the hacking allegations picks up steam. The Guardian adds
that police will arrest another former senior journalist at the paper
in the coming days, but doesn't publish the person's name to "avoid
prejudicing the ongoing police investigation."
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