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Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, in the middle section of the above video, did an expose on the Rupertgate phone-hacking scandal that's engulfing Murdoch and is beginning to bleed into his American operations. A report is circulating that 9/11 families were targeted as well.
Over the last few days, many people -- myself included -- have asked variations of this question: Will the Rupert Murdoch/News of the World phone hacking scandal, which some are calling Britian's Watergate, reach us here in America, where the modern-day Citizen Kane's holdings including the Fox TV and movie empire as well as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.
The answer may be yes: A report in a rival British tabloid the Daily Mirror makes an allegation that, if proven true, many Americans will find just as revolting as the phone hacking of 13-year-old morder victim Milly Dowler, maybe even more so.
Did Murdoch's London-based News of the World contact a New York City private investigator about phone hacking American victims of the 9/11 attacks? The pair chatted behind closed doors as a former New York cop made the 9/11 hacking claim. He alleged he was contacted by News of the World journalists who said they would pay him to retrieve the private phone records of the dead. Now working as a private investigator, the ex-officer claimed reporters wanted the victim’s phone numbers and details of the calls they had made and received in the days leading up to the atrocity. A source said: “This investigator is used by a lot of journalists in America and he recently told me that he was asked to hack into the 9/11 victims’ private phone data. He said that the journalists asked him to access records showing the calls that had been made to and from the mobile phones belonging to the victims and their relatives. “His presumption was that they wanted the information so they could hack into the relevant voicemails, just like it has been shown they have done in the UK. The PI said he had to turn the job down. He knew how insensitive such research would be, and how bad it would look."
Indeed. That said, this article raises more questions than it answers, and I would note a couple of major caveats. One, the story is pretty thinly sourced, as we say in the business. Two, the Mirror is a non-Murdoch-owned British tabloid driven by the same kind of competitive pressures that led to this whole scandal in the first place.
But I think the significance is this: Given the scandal in the UK, the American activities of Murdoch-controlled journalists -- at both his British publications and his U.S. enterprises -- deserve closer scrutiny, including from law enforcement. Maybe Murdoch's journalists' alleged illegal activities stopped at the far shores of the Atlantic, but we should find out for sure.
I've asked the question a few times as C&L has covered this story. Have Fox News and/or other Murdoch entities applied the same phone-hacking skills to the U.S.? Rupert Murdoch may be heading off to answer questions before Parliament.
News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch has been asked to appear before British Parliament to answer question about his company's phone hacking scandal, as well as his son James and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.
The culture, media and sport select committee, which has published critical reports on the affair, has written to the trio of executives inviting them to appear, the Guardian reported.
News International said in a statement: "We have been made aware of the request from the CMS select committee to interview senior executives and will cooperate. We await the formal invitation."
CREW is demanding an investigation into Murdoch's stateside activities. Ellen at Newshounds has six good reasons to demand an investigation into the company's activities here. And you can go to Media Matters for a petition demanding such action.
Eric Boehlert writes: Scandal Woes Mount for Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal Publisher
The revelation yesterday that Britain’s former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, alleged that his personal information was obtained illegally by Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times only intensifies the pressure on Les Hinton, Murdoch’s longtime confidant and publisher of the Wall Street Journal.
Hinton was already facing scrutiny for the phone hacking scandal because he oversaw Murdoch’s News of The World when the tabloid appears to have engaged in rampant phone hacking. Worse, Hinton oversaw an internal investigation into the matter that James Murdoch now acknowledges "wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter."
Now with the Brown allegations come additional woes:
Brown accused the paper of getting his bank details, saying he was "genuinely shocked" by its methods.
The allegations widen the scandal that brought down Britain's best-selling newspaper, the News of the World, to other newspapers also owned by Murdoch's News International media group.
Brown expressed dismay at the allegations Monday night and has given investigators "all relevant evidence" he has about the matter, according to a statement from his office.
"The family has been shocked by the level of criminality and the unethical means by which personal details have been obtained," the statement said. "The matter is in police hands."
Since the scandal took off, their stock price has been failing so Murdoch bought back a ton of shares: Rupert Murdoch's $5bn News Corp buyback halts share slide
The Guardian publishes a very good op-ed on the media and its corrupt, elitist purposes: This media is corrupt – we need a Hippocratic oath for journalists
Our job is to hold power to account. Instead, most of the profession simply ventriloquises the concerns of the elite.
Is Murdoch now finished in the UK? As the pursuit of Gordon Brown by the Sunday Times and the Sun blows the hacking scandal into new corners of the old man's empire, this story begins to feel like the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. The naked attempt to destroy Brown by any means, including hacking the medical files of his sick baby son, means that there is no obvious limit to the story's ramifications.
The papers cannot announce that their purpose is to ventriloquise the concerns of multimillionaires; they must present themselves as the voice of the people. The Sun, the Mail and the Express claim to represent the interests of the working man and woman. These interests turn out to be identical to those of the men who own the papers.
So the rightwing papers run endless exposures of benefit cheats, yet say scarcely a word about the corporate tax cheats. They savage the trade unions and excoriate the BBC. They lambast the regulations that restrain corporate power. They school us in the extrinsic values – the worship of power, money, image and fame – which advertisers love but which make this a shallower, more selfish country. Most of them deceive their readers about the causes of climate change. These are not the obsessions of working people. They are the obsessions thrust upon them by the multimillionaires who own these papers.
The corporate media is a gigantic astroturfing operation: a fake grassroots crusade serving elite interests. In this respect the media companies resemble the Tea Party movement, which claims to be a spontaneous rising of blue-collar Americans against the elite but was founded with the help of the billionaire Koch brothers and promoted by Murdoch's Fox News.Journalism's primary purpose is to hold power to account. This purpose has been perfectly inverted. Columnists and bloggers are employed as the enforcers of corporate power, denouncing people who criticise its interests, stamping on new ideas, bullying the powerless. The press barons allowed governments occasionally to promote the interests of the poor, but never to hamper the interests of the rich. They also sought to discipline the rest of the media. The BBC, over the last 30 years, became a shadow of the gutsy broadcaster it was, and now treats big business with cringing deference.