When The Going Gets Tough The Tough Go Tabloid - Rupertgate Friday and news that Rupert Murdoch plans to launch a Sunday edition of The Sun in the face of widespread criticism over his handling of the News Of The World phone Hacking Scandal and the recent firings at The Sun.
February 17, 2012

Out of touch or a smokescreen - the world turns.

In what has been generally regarded as a "two finger salute" (middle finger to us) to media and audience criticism over the News Of The World phone hacking debacle and the latest word that 10 journalists at the Sun (five more left in handcuffs since earlier in the week) have been arrested as a result of the ongoing Scotland Yard investigation, Rupert Murdoch's choice to launch a Sunday tabloid to be tentatively known as The Sunday Sun leaves some wondering just what's going on.

In an e-mail statement, Murdoch, who flew to London the previous night to meet with largely disgruntled journalists at the now-embattled Sun, said he would be launching the new tabloid soon and that the arrested journalists would be allowed to resume their duties as before, despite provisos from the arrested journalists that no contact could be made with each other.

All this points up to a new wrinkle in the ever-changing, ever-evolving, ever-baffling story of News Corp/News International/saga of Rupert Murdoch.

The latest set of concerns regarding the arrests at The Sun had largely to do with News International cooperation with Scotland Yard in providing incriminating evidence by which the arrests were made. The protests being one of the sacred rights of investigative journalists to protect sources was being violated and that Murdoch was, in effect, tossing them under the bus as a show of "good faith" in aiding the investigation.

But for my two-cents, I am sensing a massive smokescreen, an attempt to sidetrack attention from the much bigger picture and that's the upcoming U.S. investigation (a much bigger and far more damaging situation financially). To muddle the current scandal in an flurry of protests and accusations over what constitutes journalistic protection and what constitutes violation of civil rights takes the focus of the investigation off the real problem and tosses it on to the journalistic community as a whole. Cries of censorship and government manipulation of the Press are being echoed all over the UK tonight and I believe this is exactly what the Murdoch empire is betting on. And truths be told, the Police may be over-reaching in their quest at investigating wrong doings, instead of going after an industry wide practice of phone-hacking and eavesdropping largely established for many years by the Murdoch empire.

It's one thing to consult a confidential source, a person or persons willing to come forward to a member of the Press with sensitive information and another to obtain that information by hacking into the personal phone and e-mails of a person or persons unaware they are being hacked or eavesdropped. It's the difference between two consenting adults and the forcing of an unwilling (or unknowing) adult into providing information.

But I think the attempt at painting the entire picture with too broad a brush is an intention to throw the entire issue into a state of confusion and thus taint any further investigation into the phone hacking scandal.

Like I said, my two cents and just a hunch.

For the time though, and to get up to speed if you've missed anything, here are three sets of reports, beginning with The Media Show from last Wednesday, followed by a segment from this morning's Today Program, followed by PM and ending with News At 6, all from BBC's Radio 4.

One thing's for certain - more will be revealed.

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