The Phone Hacking Scandal

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Anyone want to discuss the current phone hacking scandal that's so dominant in the headlines here? I can't promise that the GOP are involved at all.

What we know:

1) It emerges that a private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, had been employed by News Of The World journalists to hack the voicemail of a number of standard tabloid targets: royals, actors, sportsmen, Labour MPs. News International tried to pay them off, and The Met don't try very hard to avoid angering the powers that be. The public don't care very much, but Andy Coulson, the ex-editor of the NOTW and Cameron's current PR maven (on whom Tom Hollander's character of "The f*cker" in The Thick Of It was based, apparently) ends up taking the fall when some victims refuse to trouser the bung. Rebekah Brooks, also ex-editor of the NOTW, Murdoch golden girl and current boss at News International, is protected.

2) It subsequently emerges that ordinary people, like a murdered girl, war widows, and 7/7 bombing victims were also hacked. People start getting upset. They are alleged to have deleted messages from the murder victim, Milly Dowler's phone, making the police and relatives think that she was still alive. Brooks is now very much in the firing line.

3) In the background of this is News International's desire and machinations to buy a majority share in BSkyB, that is due to go through on Friday. The previous minister in charge of this, Vince Cable, (who was against it) was gotcha'd by the newspapers, and his replacement, Jeremy Hunt is much more sympathetic to the deal.

4) Brooks is still denying she had anything to do with it (she was on holiday at the time), chortlingly saying it was 'inconceivable' that she knew about it. Vizzini, much?

5) Many advertisers are pulling out of the NOTW, as is the British Legion, an armed forces charity.

Most of the newspapers haven't really been going after this, for one reason or another, and some even more heinous crimes are in the pot also.

My personal predictions:
(a) Brooks will end up falling to protect the Dirty Digger Murdoch
(b) The deal will go through since there's no direct link to that side of the business except through Murdoch himself
(c) Cameron won't directly fall because of this (see the Spectator link) but I think it'll tarnish his image a bit until people forget about it, tabloids are good at distracting people with tits or targets who aren't them.
(d) The News of the World will not close, but there'll be a Night of the Long Knives clearing out everyone who looks linked to clean their image (relatively).

As much as I hate typing out emotional responses, if the allegations are true, then those involved are scum. I know deep down that it's just one scandal, and there will be others in the future, because people never learn and there's always someone ambitious out to make a story. (As a side note, with all the Lulzsec leaked login account details, I wonder how many of them ended up in the hands of journalists for 'research')

DudleySmith wrote:
(c) Cameron won't directly fall because of this (see the Spectator link) but I think it'll tarnish his image a bit until people forget about it, tabloids are good at distracting people with tits or targets who aren't them.

I'm wondering what papers will back which party, come next election. Sadly Murdoch isn't going anywhere as he's too powerful.

Watched Jon Snow give a kicking to a NI spokesman who, co-incidentally, looked like he was being played by Tom Hollander. The guy may as well held up a sign saying "we're full of sh*t and I'm reading from a script". It was painful to watch. Did you threaten to overrule him...?

I have little to no faith that this will have any goddamn influence on anything whatsoever. Brooks will land on her feet regardless of what happens.

If this leads to Rupert Murdoch being tossed into a wicker man, I'm all for it.

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Maq wrote:
Watched Jon Snow give a kicking to a NI spokesman who, co-incidentally, looked like he was being played by Tom Hollander. The guy may as well held up a sign saying "we're full of sh*t and I'm reading from a script". It was painful to watch. Did you threaten to overrule him...?

I have little to no faith that this will have any goddamn influence on anything whatsoever. Brooks will land on her feet regardless of what happens.

I'm not convinced that Brooks will ride it out. Nobody believes that she's innocent here, and she's very much the 'face' of the scandal. Apparently she was getting folios and proofs of the paper when she was out in Greece or whatever, and even the Torygraph are going after her. I think she'll have to take the fall to protect Murdoch himself. She'll be sacked but comforted with a large amount of money, I guess. She will possibly avoid prison.

All we need is Princess Diana and the McCanns' phones being hacked and it'll be a perfect storm.

DudleySmith wrote:
All we need is Princess Diana and the McCanns' phones being hacked and it'll be a perfect storm.

I thought I saw the McCann's spokesperson on the TV regarding this issue, although I can't remember exactly what they were saying as I tune them out as noise now.

DudleySmith wrote:

I'm not convinced that Brooks will ride it out. Nobody believes that she's innocent here, and she's very much the 'face' of the scandal. Apparently she was getting folios and proofs of the paper when she was out in Greece or whatever, and even the Torygraph are going after her. I think she'll have to take the fall to protect Murdoch himself. She'll be sacked but comforted with a large amount of money, I guess. She will possibly avoid prison.

I'd lay odds-on she's forced to step down, but the fact that she's being made the target means a lot of the fire is being drawn from Cameron and Murdoch. They won't forget their friend.

DudleySmith wrote:
All we need is Princess Diana and the McCanns' phones being hacked and it'll be a perfect storm.

They'll have to switch to broadsheet format just to fit the headline in.

DudleySmith wrote:

All we need is Princess Diana and the McCanns' phones being hacked and it'll be a perfect storm.

List of victims identified so far here
I notice Prince Harry and William are mentioned.

Also...

The list of people allegedly targeted by the News of the World continues to grow – Princess Diana has now been dragged into the row, according to PA.

Michael Mansfield QC, who represented the family of Dodi Fayed at the inquest into her death, has received a letter from Scotland Yard saying he was on a list of possible targets, according to the agency.

"Journalists would have been trying to get stories about Diana. It is particularly disturbing," Mansfield said.

So...yeah. Wouldn't suprise me in the least.

Maq wrote:
DudleySmith wrote:
I'm not convinced that Brooks will ride it out. Nobody believes that she's innocent here, and she's very much the 'face' of the scandal. Apparently she was getting folios and proofs of the paper when she was out in Greece or whatever, and even the Torygraph are going after her. I think she'll have to take the fall to protect Murdoch himself. She'll be sacked but comforted with a large amount of money, I guess. She will possibly avoid prison.
I'd lay odds-on she's forced to step down, but the fact that she's being made the target means a lot of the fire is being drawn from Cameron and Murdoch. They won't forget their friend.

I'm sure there'll be some sacrificial lamb to show the public 'justice has been done' and make the problem go away. I guess part of that depends how much the other news organisations want to drag it out.

Newsnight the other night interviewed a former BBC reporter who worked with the McCann's and he said that he contacted his phone company and they confirmed there was suspicious activity on his phone over several dates. No evidence but it looks dodgy.

By the by, this has gone international. The Data Commissioner here (Ireland) and said that he is investigating some claims here. I wouldn't be surprised. The problem for Murdoch now is he needs to kill this story now and I'm not sure he can.

Just to clear something up with our American goodjers, in Europe data protection is covered under the 1995 European Directive (updated in 2003) making the unauthorised access of personal data a criminal offence. These are open and shut criminal acts under UK, Irish and any EU member states law. I'm not sure about Canada but I think I remember they are closer to us Europeans legally on this.

Scratched wrote:
I'm sure there'll be some sacrificial lamb to show the public 'justice has been done' and make the problem go away. I guess part of that depends how much the other news organisations want to drag it out.

They tried that with Mulcaire. He was the "rogue" reporter, after all.

I think it's going to be interesting in the coming years when it's not just answerphone messages the journalists get their hands on, but multiple aspects of someone's life online.

If there is any corporate entity deserving of a financial death sentence, it is Murdoch's newscorp.

There really should be a corporate death penalty.

Malor wrote:
There really should be a corporate death penalty.

I'd be for dissolving his entire empire and a lifetime ban on all the execs from being involved in the media as well as nice hefty jail time and MASSIVE (billions) fines.

Dr.Ghastly wrote:
Malor wrote:
There really should be a corporate death penalty.

I'd be for dissolving his entire empire and a lifetime ban on all the execs from being involved in the media as well as nice hefty jail time and MASSIVE (billions) fines.

There's a gutter rag death penality apparently - NOTW axed.

This is the sacrifice they're hoping will save Brooks, then Cameron, then Murdoch. I hope it doesn't, naturally.

The Twitterverse is reporting NOTW is being shut down. Can anyone find confirmation? News flash banner header on http://www.thetimes.co.uk/

DudleySmith wrote:
This is the sacrifice they're hoping will save Brooks, then Cameron, then Murdoch. I hope it doesn't, naturally.

Jesus wept Brooks must have some serious juice that they blew up the paper rather than cut her loose. Must have dirt by the truckload.

In unconnected news, The Sun will become a 7-day publication.

This will allow them to streamline the operation, save cash and launch the new super soaraway Sunday Sun, according to a Guardian columnist.

Certainly a clever move by the Agents of Darkness. But will it work? Probably, alas.

I love it when CEO's claim they don't know what's happening in their business when something goes wrong and yet insist on being compensated like anything good that happens is solely based on their godlike powers.

@fleetstreetfox: Murdoch has killed the scandal, saved BSkyB deal, and rescued Dishface from humiliation. Canny f*cker.

Quite.

Apparently Brooks had announced that the NOTW and the Sun were being integrated last week. Looking for a link.

Well, it'll make it easier for the windowlickers who buy the Sun to find the paper on a Sunday, rather than "where's the Sun, squire ?" on a Sunday every week.

Murdoch killed the largest English newspaper in the world. Wow. There is something huge there.

www.thesunonsunday.co.uk was registered on Tuesday, supposedly.

Armando Ianucci has just tweeted that "there is mass anger at the NOTW news room, all directed at Brooks. Editor furious, staff devastated."

I hope the investigations continue. It doesn't stop at NOTW. There's a lot more going on there.

Just because they close the paper doesn't mean criminal charges go away, right?

Oh no. And anyone who believes that similar practices did not go on at the Sun is likely to be disabused of that notion.

The reaction to this cynical closure is hilarious

Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists

"This shows the depths to which Rupert Murdoch and his lieutenants at News International are prepared to stoop. The announcement James Murdoch should be making today is the dismissal of Rebekah Brooks as chief executive of News International... Closing the title and sacking over 200 staff in the UK and Ireland, and putting scores more freelances and casuals out of a job, is an act of utter cynical opportunism."

Chris Bryant, Labour MP

"This is designed to try and protect Rebekah Brooks, and I believe that if she had a shred of decency after what we have heard about Milly Dowler's phone being hacked, which happened on her watch as editor, she should have resigned by now ... This strategy of chucking first journalists, then executives and now a whole newspaper overboard isn't going to protect the person at the helm of the ship."

I guess the real issue is that neither Brooks nor Murdoch has a shred of decency, proven time and time again.

And what did Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Media and Sport say today in the light of this stuff and how it pertains to his upcoming decision about the BSkyB takeover?

@Jeremy_Hunt wrote:
World Premiere of Harry Potter. Congrats to @wbpictures and @jk_rowling

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Seriously, I hope Newscorp collapses because of this. Cripple the bastard's soapbox for fearmongering and banality. Thanks for airing The Simpsons all these years, but good riddance.

They won't. Murdoch has the money and influence to ensure nothing substantive happens to him, his cronies or his company. When you control the message to the degree he does, you can ensure you always have enough ignorant people on your side.

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