The Mystery Woman Behind the Murdoch Mess | Business | Vanity Fair
The first sign of trouble came four weeks after her wedding. On July 8, The Guardian revealed that News International had made payments of more than $2 million to several people to settle claims that their phones had been hacked—including Gordon Taylor, the head of the football players’ union. It was the first public indication that the hacking had gone beyond one “rogue” reporter, as News International had referred to Clive Goodman, the former royals editor, who had been convicted of hacking the phones of members of the royal family. In a letter to Parliament, Brooks took issue with that story and other revelations in The Guardian, which, she wrote, “has substantially and likely deliberately misled the British public.”
During the next two years she would staunchly defend News International. When Parliament invited her to testify in late 2009, she declined. Even after it issued a report in early 2010 assailing News International executives for their “collective amnesia” in their repeated denials of widespread hacking, she stood firm. She revealed nothing about the growing tensions within News International, particularly as the relationship between Rupert and James began to fray. Described by sources close to the Murdochs as the “go-between” in an increasingly fraught father-son relationship, Brooks was now under pressure to please and protect not only Rupert but also James, who had both taken the position that they had no idea what was going on inside their company, and particularly James, passing blame on to subordinates.