Rupert Murdoch has been head of News Limited before, during and after the News of the World phone hacking broke. It highlighted the extent of political influence the Murdoch press has, and uncovered illegal payment of police, “willful ignorance”, sham investigations, and political favouritism in the process of the takeover of BSkyB televison.
He was seen as “NOT A FIT PERSON” to be the head of an international corporation by the Leveson Inquiry report, an opinion quickly denied by the News Ltd Board of Directors which includes Jose Maria Aznar, who have “full confidence” in Murdoch senior, although not commenting of James Murdoch, who once headed BSkyB.
The fact that the takeover has been abandoned may thankfully prevent a “launch” in the U.K. of the rabid Fox News network which has now contributed to America having the lowest political standards anyone can remember due mainly to corporate influence.
Some of the resignations and arrests so far.
For an in depth report from September 2011 Rueters ran this story by John LLoyd “WHAT RUPERT DID” ; http://blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2011/09/20/what-rupert-did/
First, the News of the World (NotW), for many years the highest circulation newspaper in Britain, systemically hacked into the phones of politicians, celebrities, and people in the news – including murder victims and their relatives – in order to produce exclusives. Their journalists also bribed policemen, both with petty cash and – allegedly – with large payments: an early estimate was that News International (NI) had spent £100,000 on such bribes.
Second, many political figures have felt bound to confess they had sought to placate and woo Rupert Murdoch. In one of the debates on the issue in the House of Commons, David Cameron made the humiliating comment that ‘your bins are gone through by some media organization, but you hold back from dealing with it because you want good relations with the media’. Peter (Lord) Mandelson, in an interview in mid-July, said that all politicians avoided confrontation with the press ‘because we were too fearful’.
Third, now that this bubble has burst, it seems we ‘knew’ that these things happened. We – really, the political and media people – ‘knew’ that phones were hacked, policemen were paid off, and politicians were exposed, or threatened with exposure if they felt like attacking News International. As with the Wikileaks’ revelations, ‘knowing’ becomes knowing only when detail, context, and impact are combined. We ‘knew’, for example, that Saudi Arabia feared Iran (or, again, the political/policy/media circle ‘knew’). But we knew the scale of it and depth of it only when a diplomatic cable exposed by Wikileaks quoted members of the Saudi ruling house asking the USA to ‘cut off the head of the snake’.
Fourth, the News International titles, in common with all newspapers and especially tabloid newspapers, had huge reservoirs of indignation ready to be poured over governments (especially), corporations, and other institutions which lie, cover up, disguise, obfuscate, and spin. Yet here is another thing we ‘knew’: that, though the news media relentlessly promoted transparency and accountability, they are of all institutions the least likely to live by their rules – indeed, they reject these rules in the name of freedom.
Fifth, journalism has been at the heart of a generally optimistic narrative of freedom and openness over the past three decades, as communism collapsed in central and eastern Europe, apartheid ended in South Africa, media deregulation in India saw an explosion of news media in both broadcasting and print, and partial privatization and the granting of a measure of editorial freedom was allowed to the news media in China, which has elevated the struggle for a journalism of accountability to one of the major elements of a wider push for democratic change. At least until recently, it has been assumed that the world was getting freer, and in getting freer was becoming more open; and that this was due, in considerable part, to the globalization, and liberating effects, of independent news media and their democratic ethic.
John Lloyd however ends with this chilling thought ;
The columnist Nick Cohen wrote that the ‘News of the World routinely humiliated and taunted its targets because of their sex lives. Far from throwing the paper aside in disgust, the News of the World’s audience wanted more of the same.’