Rupert Murdoch Bares Media’s Reach to Leveson Inquiry on Phone Hacking – The Daily Beast
Murdoch denies he knew that some of his most famous scoops, which were quoted at length from private phone messages, came from illegally hacked voicemails, though his top editors report he discusses and interferes in even the smallest decisions. Why did he not ask the question every editor learns in Journalism 101: where did this information come from?
Murdoch did not need to order illegal activities. As Neil points out, “You create a climate in which people think it’s all right to do certain things. And I would argue that Rupert Murdoch with his take-no-prisoners attitude to journalism—the end will justify the means; do whatever it takes—created the kind of newsroom climate in which hacking and other things were done with impunity on an industrial scale.”
It is only a matter of time before the Murdoch scandal breaks in the U.S. The New York Post, run by Australian and British journalists who work to a different standard than their American counterparts, is as feared in Manhattan as The Sun is in Britain. They operate an identical system of gossip-based intimidation to call politicians and celebrities to account. It runs vicious vendettas that target a blacklist of individuals who have fallen foul of Murdoch.
Justice Department and SEC investigators are exploring allegations of “a pattern of illegal activity [that] involve[s] thousands of potential victims” by News Corp. employees, after Senate Commerce Committee members Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) demanded to know whether Murdoch’s company had broken either the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which “prohibits corrupt payments to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business,” and/or the Wiretaps Act, after reports that Murdoch papers hacked victims of the September 11 attacks.
“Rupert Murdoch wanted to become an American citizen,” Boxer told the BBC. “He needs to obey American law.” In response to federal investigators, News Corp. has handed over 60,000 emails for them to determine whether hacking took place on American soil. If the scandal breaks on American shores, Murdoch can expect to be summoned before Congress to explain himself, and he may not be given the gentle grilling he enjoyed in London last week.