Murdoch Scandal Still Making News
International media scandals come and go as people lose interest and move onto the latest news. But one scandal continues to plaque media outlines both in the United States and the United Kingdom. This scandal involved media mogul Rupert Murdoch and led to the disintegration of one of Britain’s largest newspapers, the News of the World, casting a pall over all the whole News Corporation empire.
Jail Time Served
After just three years as editor of News of the World, Rebekah Brooks admitted to paying the police for news information. While not technically legal, this practice is no doubt common. Two years later, accusations arose that the company had hacked Prince William’s voicemail, resulting in the 2006 arrest of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire. They served four and six months respectively. Mulcaire admitted to five more counts of voicemail interception.
At the end of 2007, James Murdoch became CEO of News Corp’s European and Asian sectors, and the next year he admitted to paying Gordon Taylor £700,000 over claims of phone hacking. In June of 2009, Rebekah Brooks became the general CEO of News International. In July, it was revealed that reporters hacked celebrity phones with the knowledge of senior news staff between the years 2003 and 2007, while Andy Coulson was editor. He resigned as communications chief in 2010.
More Victims, More Scandal
In February of 2011, more potential victims of phone hacking were discovered pertaining to the Goodman/Mulcaire case of 2006. In April, News of the World admitted its connection to phone hacking, and in early June they paid £100,000 to Sienna Miller for having hacked her phone years ago. Just two weeks later, police found 300 e-mails revealing Coulson had paid off police officers.
In early July, some voicemails were deleted from murder victim Milly Dowler’s voicemail. This action led police and family to believe Dowler might still be alive. In reality her phone had been hacked. News Corporation decided to close the News of the World operation on July 7 2011. On July 8, Andy Coulson was arrested for accusations of corruption and phone interception, but spent only nine hours at the police station before being bailed out until October 2011.
Nine More Arrests
Nine News of the World employees were arresting in Britain as the FBI launched a U.S. investigation into News Corp, alleging they may have hacked the phone of September 11 victims. Rebekah Brooks resigned on July 15 2011, and subsequently arrested two days later on counts of phone hacking and corruption. In August two more editors were arrested, and it was discovered that Andy Coulson had continued to receive money from News International after he had resigned.
The End Of Murdoch?
Murdoch never claimed responsibility for the content of his news publications, much less for this scandal, claiming News of the World was “just 1%” of the business he owned.