How News of the World interfered with hunt for 13-year-old's killer
July 4, 2011 3:22 PM   Subscribe

Thirteen-year-old Milly Dowler was kidnapped and murdered on her way home from school in 2002. During the six-month hunt before her body was found, her parents gave exclusive interviews to the News of the World, saying they believed she would be found alive. That hope was based partly on the fact that her voicemails were still being listened to and deleted. Today, it was revealed that the deleting was being done by the News of the World.

The editor at the time was Rebekah Wade, now Chief Exec of News International. The deputy editor was Andy Coulson, later director of communications for British PM David Cameron.

(NotW phone hacking previously on mefi)
posted by bonaldi (324 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw this in the Guardian earlier today. Holy fucking shit. Andy Coulson is a real ghoul, and was, of course, David Cameron's first choice for Communications Director. What a bunch of bastards.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:25 PM on July 4, 2011 [30 favorites]


Bunch of bastards is right. On tonight's Newsnight (a very obviously furious) Tom Watson MP had a pretty fierce attack at all the party leaders for being so craven to News International on this and countless other issues.

He also said he suspected the NoTW had also been hacking into voicemails of the families involved in the Soham murders.
posted by bonaldi at 3:29 PM on July 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Was just about to post something similar, so some additional links from it here:

MP Tom Watson has repeatedly made allegations that the NOTW also had the phones hacked of one or more of the parents of the two young girls murdered by Ian Huntley in Soham.

Rebekah Brooks is a personal friend of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

As well as appointing Coulson David Cameron also appointed Conservative MP and problematic name Jeremy Hunt to the Cabinet position of Culture Secretary. On 1st July, Jeremy Hunt approved News International's bid to take over BSkyB.

And as I'm not posting, I can editorialise: it's corrupt, from the bottom, where journalists and police engage in a mutual felching exercise where the journalists pay off the police for information, and the police look the other way when the journalists break the law.

It's corrupt in the middle, where senior officers in the police or senior staff on the newspapers deny everything, and react that they are shocked! shocked I say! when each thing that they claimed had never happened are revealed, one by one, to have happened. The police have failed and failed and failed to investigate these cases adequately at the time.

And it's corrupt at the top, where leading politicians of all parties are so scared that News International will dish the dirt on them, that they know for years that this is happening, and they do nothing. Instead they wine and dine people like Brooks, they employ people like Coulson, and when Cameron was elected, the first person to visit 10 Downing St was Rupert Murdoch, a golem fashioned from evil and a hundred scrotal sacs.

Top to bottom, bottom to top. Corrupt. A giant pyramid, made of shit.
posted by reynir at 3:31 PM on July 4, 2011 [232 favorites]


I feel less and less guilty about my low opinion of conservatives when they go out of their way to instill such a negative image of themselves.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 3:31 PM on July 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


Big news. Unless you're every other British tabloid.
posted by garlicsmack at 3:32 PM on July 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


Is there any likelihood of Wade, Coulson et all facing criminal charges for this?
posted by easily confused at 3:32 PM on July 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's a ghastly twist to Milly Dowler's death, for sure. The only thing that makes me glad is that the phone-hacking conspiracy - so long under reported - must at last get some more exposure. The investigation itself has gone on for so long yet without breaking out into the huge scandal it really is. How long can we go on pretending that some journalists, police, politicians are irredeemably corrupt?
posted by Jehan at 3:36 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


reynir: Of course, if the police took it seriously, the journalists might not reliably print that every poor sod the cops assault or murder was a violent Muslim anarchist screaming death to the west while reaching into a bulky coat with a hard drive full of child porn back at the flat and a bloodstream full of crystal meth.
posted by Grimgrin at 3:39 PM on July 4, 2011 [18 favorites]


What I always wonder in cases like this one is about a small, personal thing: do people who are friends with Coulson and Brooks and their like, people who live near them, socialise with them, whose children play with theirs, simply erect a complex state of denial, and pretend they really believe that neither knew? If not, how do they avoid spitting in their faces next time they bump into them?
posted by reynir at 3:40 PM on July 4, 2011 [16 favorites]


This is so fucked.

I wish I was surprised.
posted by Elmore at 3:40 PM on July 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


do people who are friends with Coulson and Brooks and their like, people who live near them, socialise with them, whose children play with theirs, simply erect a complex state of denial, and pretend they really believe that neither knew? If not, how do they avoid spitting in their faces next time they bump into them?

You give elites too much credit, they probably pat them on the back and say "Sorry that you got caught".
posted by dibblda at 3:43 PM on July 4, 2011 [12 favorites]


Sorry, that should be "are not irredeemably corrupt". The scale of the phone-hacking and subsequent failure to investigate properly is potentially a much bigger scandal than anything we've seen for years. The NOTW must have some serious dirt on senior members of the Metropolitan Police.
posted by Jehan at 3:44 PM on July 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ghouls of the World.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:49 PM on July 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


News of the World is basically a mafia.
posted by dng at 4:00 PM on July 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, that's me going to bed depressed. The worst of this is that nothing will come of it. A few people will get a slap on the wrist, and the real big players will get off scott free. British Politics is ridiculous at the moment. I can't really express how impotently angry this makes me.
posted by seanyboy at 4:03 PM on July 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


So, tell me, when do we replace the aircon units at NoTW with leaky Halon tanks?

Hacking the phones of celebrities I really couldn't care less about (mostly because I don't care about the celebrities) but deliberately fucking with a greiving family for fun and profit?

garlicsmack - right now (and I admit it could have changed in the last two hours) it looks like the grown up papers are all running the story on the front page, while the tabloids are lalala-ing as loud as they can. Surprisingly, even The Times is putting the boot in...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 4:04 PM on July 4, 2011


Surely this...
posted by Jahaza at 4:04 PM on July 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


No Jahaza. Not even this.
posted by reynir at 4:08 PM on July 4, 2011 [29 favorites]


I am so tired of the untouchable evil fucks who have so much power over us. Politics is a bad joke.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:11 PM on July 4, 2011 [18 favorites]


The worst of this is that nothing will come of it.

Maybe not. The Ryan Administration in Illinois was corrupt top-to-bottom, but never got any real traction in terms of the press or the police, until one of the completely unqualified people that some junior flunky sold a CDL license to killed a bunch of people in a minivan.

Then people started wondering how he'd gotten one. Then they wondered why nobody noticed how easy it was just to buy one...and it just kept growing. By the end, they nailed the governor.

Back when it was "Oh, look, another corrupt politician", it wasn't news. When it became "a family died....", it changed.

This may be the event that starts it all. Tormenting parents, giving them false hope that their daughter was alive? Back when you were fucking with random politicians and movie stars, that's one thing. But every parent out there can see themselves in that spot -- praying to see their child again, only to find out their slim hope was a crime committed by a tabloid journalist -- who, funny enough, has the ear of the PM?

You can't stop an avalanche once it starts, and it just might be that someone just kicked the wrong rock down the hill. No promises -- but this is "man bites dog" realm -- and in all cases where scandal brings down a government, it's always the small story that starts it. A crash on the highway. A robbery in an apartment complex. That sort of thing.

So, while it's true that this might just blow over, it's not true that it will. Larger careers have fallen from smaller things.
posted by eriko at 4:13 PM on July 4, 2011 [77 favorites]


Wow, how terribly awful for the family.

Mulcaire did spend six months in jail for another phone hacking. And "Rupert Murdoch, has said he would take 'immediate action' against anybody [at the tabloid] found to be caught hacking again." Doesn't help the family in this individual case, but at least some movement is happening.
posted by salvia at 4:15 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The scale of the phone-hacking and subsequent failure to investigate properly is potentially a much bigger scandal than anything we've seen for years.
Personally, I think this one still has it beat. Or maybe the one about the D-Notice and the suicide attempt. Or the one where the Prime Minister converted to Catholicism about 45 seconds after stepping down from office.

But yeah, there's a pretty horrible emotional component to this... to be honest, I hope they get nailed to the wall for it.
posted by Leon at 4:17 PM on July 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


sodium lights the horizon yup, and credit to the Indy and FT have kept up to the story with the Guardian at every turn over the last couple of years.

But I'm really surprised that out of the tabloids even the Mail hasn't picked this up, though; it may be a hateful rag but I thought them unlikely to have indulged in phone-hacking compared to the red tops. And I never thought I'd be disappointed in the Mail for failing to set an example to anyone else...
posted by garlicsmack at 4:18 PM on July 4, 2011



You give elites too much credit, they probably pat them on the back and say "Sorry that you got caught".


I really think that most people who are clearly evil shitheads do not believe they are evil shitheads. I think most people construct a universe around themselves where their actions make sense and are justifiable to some sort of greater good. That's the thing that gets me -- they're not hiding in their basements going mwah ha ha mwah ha ha.

They're hosting dinner parties and making toasts and I think mainly feel fine.

Alternately I might think that maybe it was early in their careers and they got caught in a horrible whirlwind and realized just too late what was going on and found themselves unable to back out, or the early emails were deleted by someone unthinkingly and a day or two passed before that unthinking person realized what had happened--'Oh, man, you guys, it was totally me that deleted the voicemails'--and then everyone went 'oh, shit' and they were stuck because no one had the courage or standing to do a public mea culpa in the face of the hopeful parents and public opinion or whatnot.

In short, I know nothing about people.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:18 PM on July 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, the wall of silence among the other red-tops is deafening - in any other situation they'd be all over somebody interfering with a high-profile missing child investigation. And you'd think the Mirror would be all about anything this embarrassing to Cameron (they do appear to be the only one of the tabloids with a story about this up on their website even if they're not fronting it in the print edition). I think ultimately the tabloids are all terrified of anything that might put too much a spotlight on how morally indefensible their brand of journalism is, and while they may or may not have done any phone hacking specifically, each paper certainly has its own skeletons in the closet.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 4:22 PM on July 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I cannot fathom the immensity of the lack of moral decency that would make someone do something like this. And then interview the family, knowing that the hope was an illusion that you had fostered. It beggars belief - except that it actually happened.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:23 PM on July 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


When will the Europeans be having their days of rage? Shall we see Cameron and Burlesconi promising reforms and jobs?
posted by humanfont at 4:26 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh, and this in the context of all the other stuff the family had to face that involved false hope or evil people tormenting them when she was missing. It's completely horrifying.

Cameron's seriously gotta fire that guy at least, right?
posted by Maias at 4:27 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Personally, I think this one still has it beat. Or maybe the one about the D-Notice and the suicide attempt. Or the one where the Prime Minister converted to Catholicism about 45 seconds after stepping down from office.

I agree the first one is pretty scandalous. But the phone-hacking is just so vast - it's not about the NOTW anymore, and hasn't been for a while. The police have a lot of questions hanging over them too.
posted by Jehan at 4:29 PM on July 4, 2011


He resigned a while back, Maias, when the other allegations started gathering force. Can't have Head of Comms becoming the story, detracts from all the good work govt are doing etc etc blah blah.

Although Cameron could fire him out a big cannon, still. Sell tickets, fix the budget deficit.
posted by reynir at 4:29 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cameron's seriously gotta fire that guy at least, right?

Who, Coulson? He resigned some time ago. Hunt sadly isn't going anywhere.
posted by Jehan at 4:30 PM on July 4, 2011


Tormenting the parents of a missing kid... At what point do we confiscate these people's Human Cards?
posted by orrnyereg at 4:31 PM on July 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


What sort of organisation is News Corp - what sort of culture says behviour like this is acceptable.
posted by the noob at 4:32 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


On criminal charges - legal blogger Jack of Kent.
posted by edd at 4:35 PM on July 4, 2011


The frickin' greed machine. One of these days...
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:39 PM on July 4, 2011


Cameron never stopped backing Coulson to the hilt, even when it was clear that his newsroom had been up to their necks in it.

A massive issue here is the role of the police. Their first investigation was a whitewash.

In an unrelated fact, the police officer heading up the initial investigation subsequently left the force, becoming a columnist in the pay of News International.
posted by spectrevsrector at 4:40 PM on July 4, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Quick! Prince William! Get that wife of yours pregnant!"
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:40 PM on July 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


Am I correct is guessing that "phone hacking" in this case translates to something like this?
1. Get Milly Dowler's mobile phone number form whatever source.
2. Work out what network she (probably) used.
3. Call up the number from 1 - and armed with the operator found in 2 try entering the default voicemail access code.

If so then we are not talking about anything too technically hard. To my mind there is an additional scandal here: the mobile operators need to find a way of setting a personalised initial PIN for their users rather than giving everybody the same one (more like the case with a bank account). Otherwise it is not just the News of The World who can spy on us. It is everybody.
posted by rongorongo at 4:41 PM on July 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


rongorongo: No, it's not technically too hard, but then an awful lot of hacking isn't at all anyway. It is scandalous that mobile operators have been so insecure, but being inept is considerably different from being evil.
posted by edd at 4:44 PM on July 4, 2011


"Quick! Prince William! Get that wife of yours pregnant!"
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:40 PM on July 4 [+] [!]


Given that even their mobiles were hacked, I doubt they would be so obliging.
posted by Jehan at 4:45 PM on July 4, 2011


Rongorongo: as edd said, it probably wasn't technically difficult at all - but the abuse of default passwords is a standard technique used by computer hackers and the fact that the intrusion was easy never seems to work as a defense. NotW (and presumably other papers) have in effect hired computer hackers to carry out crimes on their behalf; the lack of public concern over this is frightening.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:54 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Given that even their mobiles were hacked, I doubt they would be so obliging.

Did not know that.

Honestly, Brits, I'd expect this to slide under the radar here in the colonies... What, with the wacko fundamentalists and the bleed-through Neocon-conned... But I figured the UK had a certain degree of affluence that made them a tad more vigilant in these cases.

Was I being a typical ignorant American in assuming that you, I don't know... had a little more class? What's the deal?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:54 PM on July 4, 2011


Earlier today an AskMe made me look up Gloria Jones, and I read about the terrible car accident she and her rockstar husband were in. She was hospitalized for days, came out of the hospital to learn that a) her husband had died in the crash and b) their loving fans had broken into their home and stolen everything they owned. EVERYTHING.

And then I read this.

Jesus christ, human beings are shits.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 5:16 PM on July 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


I was reading about this earlier. These people belong in prison. Besides the phone hacking, they deliberately destroyed evidence in a missing person/murder case, and I'm sure the police are pissed about this.
posted by carter at 5:21 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


What legal recourse does this poor family have in the UK? Other than the (presumably hand-slapping-level) criminal punishment, are they able to sue this newspaper for civil damages or anything?
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 5:27 PM on July 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Given that even their mobiles were hacked, I doubt they would be so obliging.

Did not know that.


It appears that not only the royal family but also large swathes of the last cabinet had their phones hacked, and the police colluded with the News of the World to make sure none of them knew about it.

It's kind of frightening (yet strangely unsurprising) that the real power in Britain is the Metropolitan Police and News International, and not the government.

They make a lovely couple.
posted by dng at 5:28 PM on July 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Or maybe the one about the D-Notice and the suicide attempt

Leon, you're right about the BAE cover up being a scandal, but the D notice thing is just an internet myth. I'm afraid I can't link to it so you'll have to take my word for it, there was no D notice or injunction, super or otherwise, on this very sad story, which should just remain a family affair.

As for whether anything will come of this new revelation I thnk it will. From what I've heard there's more to come out, and think this will be the last straw for Murdoch. He can't fire his son (he's already moved him to New York) but I suspect this will be the end of Rebekah Brooks. What I really hope it leads to is an investigation into this by another police force rather than the met. Someone needs to come in from outside and start clearing it all up.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:30 PM on July 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


leading politicians of all parties are so scared

There now, that's the way it should be.
posted by Twang at 5:30 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I suspect this will be the end of Rebekah Brooks.

Maybe we can print her name and photograph in the paper and raise a mob to hunt her down? I hear it works well, so long as there are no local doctors with similar names who might be mistaken for her...
posted by Jehan at 5:39 PM on July 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


'Contemptible' doesn't nearly cover this level of inhumanity.
posted by Kinbote at 5:42 PM on July 4, 2011


Clearly, a news outlet caught behaving in such a manner would be punished financially by hordes of disgusted readers choosing to no longer purchase the paper, right? RIGHT???
posted by Golfhaus at 5:56 PM on July 4, 2011


In case anyone was wondering: Yes, News of the World parent company News International is indeed the newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (see also), responsible for The Sun, The Times, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and pretty much everything in Australia.

Boycott as applicable.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:58 PM on July 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


Not to mention everyone's favorite U.S. propaganda machine.
posted by JHarris at 6:03 PM on July 4, 2011


Can't wait for the liberal media to really take this head on...
posted by lslelel at 6:34 PM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by pmcp at 6:37 PM on July 4, 2011


How do we know this was UK only. News Corp has probably done this all over the world. We need a US grand jury on this. Apparently these rules only apply to Julian Assange and Bradley Manning.
posted by humanfont at 6:55 PM on July 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


JHarris: right, but we're already boycotting them.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:31 PM on July 4, 2011


Is tarring and feathering still on the law books in Britain?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:36 PM on July 4, 2011


I hadn't given much thought to it before, but tabloids must be blackmail engines. You get some dirt on a person, what do you do? You take it to a tabloid. The tabloid gives you your cut and then decides whether it would be more valuable to publish it now or keep it up their sleeve. The concentration of power this results in is scary to think about.

If it is indeed blackmail that is fueling all of this corruption, then I suggest that one thing we can do to put a stop to it is not get so up in arms whenever a high-profile sex scandal or what have you breaks. Look at all the serious crimes noted in this thread alone that are being swept under the rug just so some guys don't lose their jobs over having cheated on their wives.

That's not to say there shouldn't be consequences for breaking one's marriage contract, but unless the person has demonstrated themselves unfit to perform at their job, the consequences should remain at the personal level. Demanding that high-profile people step down over sex scandals is not going to stop the sex from happening, it's just going to keep us from hearing about it, along with whatever stories the blackmailers didn't want to come to the surface.
posted by mantecol at 8:38 PM on July 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


Will nothing end Rupert Murdoch's evil grasp on media? Or at least loosen it? Boycott in the name of human decency!

This story is horrifying beyond belief, and done by his chief minion in the UK. I mean, Jesus fucking Christ. How much more Outfoxing do we need?
posted by JLovebomb at 8:51 PM on July 4, 2011


Hacking the phones of celebrities I really couldn't care less about (mostly because I don't care about the celebrities) but deliberately fucking with a greiving family for fun and profit?

I would imagine the top of the slippery slope to regular folks being harassed in this way started with royalty, politicians and celebrities being unduly harassed, and folks like you not giving a shit because you don't see them as human.
posted by zarah at 9:05 PM on July 4, 2011 [18 favorites]


A few weeks ago, Henry Porter made some great comments:

Can it be that Rupert Murdoch really is above the law now? ...Newspapers still run the conversation in Britain. TV and radio can have an impact but rarely when Murdoch is concerned. For instance, you would have thought BBC news might welcome the opportunity again to draw attention to Murdoch's embarrassment, as well as to the behaviour of other titles that have been tormenting the corporation for decades, but the reality is that since John Birt's regime and the fallout from the David Kelly affair, the BBC behaves like a court eunuch. In days gone by, it would have forged ahead, but in 2011 its journalists wait for the Guardian's Nick Davies to publish a story or MP Tom Watson to use parliamentary privilege. At the moment, my marrows grow faster than the BBC reacts to this kind of news.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:12 PM on July 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Whoops, forgot the link
posted by KokuRyu at 9:12 PM on July 4, 2011


Not to mention everyone's favorite U.S. propaganda machine.

The Simpsons?
posted by Dagobert at 11:29 PM on July 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just saw that article and came here because, well, I wanted to be around decent folks.

Having hung out a tiny bit with some very rich people, I'd say that, with the exception of Larry and Sergey, these aren't people who are ever going to ask any moral questions about anyone, ever, and they regularly socialize with scumbags who make the scumbag reporters in this article seem positively tame - dictators and the like. Being very rich puts you in a special club - many members of this club are sitting on piles of bodies and no one asks or cares.

I'm not even going to preface this next sentence with some "I don't advocate" crap. We see increasingly many cases where some innocent person or family is brutalized by big media or big business and literally has no recourse - and they get more blatant every day. If the law provides no protection from criminals, regular people will be forced to take matters in their own hands.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:50 PM on July 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


brutalized by big media or big business

These are puppets. I wonder how many have the resourcefulness to figure out who is pulling the strings. You can't really punish a large corporation unless they lose their franchise (good luck with that).
posted by dibblda at 12:08 AM on July 5, 2011


News of the World, the paper with a lot of previous: News of the World phone hacking affair
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:30 AM on July 5, 2011


the D notice thing is just an internet myth. I'm afraid I can't link to it so you'll have to take my word for it, there was no D notice or injunction, super or otherwise, on this very sad story, which should just remain a family affair.
Then why wasn't it reported at the time?
posted by Leon at 12:34 AM on July 5, 2011


> You can't really punish a large corporation unless they lose their franchise (good luck with that).

Large corporations are made up of individuals. If these individuals did not participate in criminal activities, the corporations would be unable to accomplish them.

There are strict laws against all the activities of The News of the World in this matter - and there are also conspiracy laws in the UK, much like most places.

The editorial desk knew that their reporters were phone-hacking - there's no question that they should all be charged with conspiracy to interfere with a police investigation or whatever it's called in the UK and the prosecutor should go to town on them.

It's very likely that if I as an individual hacked Rupert Murdoch's phone, even if I used that to simply expose evidence of his wrong-doing I'd find myself in jail for a long time.

Considering that these are people who systematically flouted these laws simply for their own personal profit, they should have the book thrown at them. All of the UK would cheer except the people being charged and their immediate families (or perhaps not even them...)

And, sorry, I don't consider the scumbags who taped and erased those messages "puppets". That's a level of conscious, active evil far beyond being a puppet. Rebekah Wade and Andy Coulson are the scum of the earth - in a better world, they'd be changing their names and getting plastic surgery right now because otherwise they could never go in public again as every honest man's hand would be raised against them.

"In September 2010, The Guardian revealed that, as part of the cross-party media committee investigating News of the World's phone-hacking (a report entitled 'Press Standards, Privacy and Libel'), Rebekah Brooks repeatedly chose not to attend to give evidence resulting in four members of the committee "considering asking the serjeant at arms to issue a warrant forcing Brooks to attend," but subsequently dropped this proposal because it was alleged their private lives would be investigated if they did so." (source)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:35 AM on July 5, 2011 [21 favorites]


Rupert Murdoch, a golem fashioned from evil and a hundred scrotal sacs

Rich, though.

If the law provides no protection from criminals, regular people will be forced to take matters in their own hands.

Two thirds of Australians are on record as being in favour of allowing "terrorist suspects" to be locked up, without charge, in secret. I don't imagine the figures will be far off that where you live.

I see no reason to believe that "regular people" will be any more capable of preventing systemic corruption than those who already profit directly from it.
posted by flabdablet at 12:43 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


You'd have to ask each editor individually why they spiked the story Leon, I suspect the reason changes from paper to paper, from feeling it is of no national interest to feeling it's something their readership would find uncomfortable with them publishing. What it wasn't was any kind of legal block issued to the papers, it was a decision they took not they took and not the government.

Certainly no ban was issued to hacks.
posted by ciderwoman at 12:43 AM on July 5, 2011


Hugh Grant mentioned Milly Dowler in his article in the New Statesman in April (Previously on MeFi)

He secretly bugged an ex-journalist while he spoke to him about phone hacking:

"HG - I'd rather no one listened in, to be honest. And I might not be alone there. You probably wouldn't want people listening to your conversations.
Him - I'm not interesting enough for anyone to want to listen in.
HG - Ah . . . I think that was one of the questions asked last week at one of the parliamentary committees. They asked Yates [John Yates, acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police] if it was true that he thought that the NoW had been hacking the phones of friends and family of those girls who were murdered . . . the Soham murder and the Milly girl [Milly Dowler].
Him - Yeah. Yeah. It's more than likely. Yeah . . . It was quite routine. Yeah - friends and family is something that's not as easy to justify as the other things.
HG - But celebrities you would justify because they're rich?
Him - Yeah. I mean, if you don't like it, you've just got to get off the stage. It'll do wonders."


&

"Him - You make so much more money. You know, most people in Dover take home about £200 and struggle.
HG - So how much do you think the families of the Milly and Soham girls make?
Him - OK, so there are examples that are poor and you can't justify - and that's clearly one of them."


I was surprised more wasn't made of it at the time.
posted by DanCall at 12:47 AM on July 5, 2011 [15 favorites]


> I see no reason to believe that "regular people" will be any more capable of preventing systemic corruption than those who already profit directly from it.

No, but when some grieving father flips out and strangles a News of the World journalist, the next guy will think a little more closely before phone hacking (a felony) and impeding a criminal investigation (a felony).
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:49 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


What legal recourse does this poor family have in the UK? Other than the (presumably hand-slapping-level) criminal punishment, are they able to sue this newspaper for civil damages or anything?

yes, their lawyer has said that the family is seeking damages from the newspaper
posted by Bwithh at 12:54 AM on July 5, 2011


It's not just the News of the World.

It looks like very high profile celebs were the tip of the iceberg of the NoW's scandals.

The NoW is the tip of the iceberg. It is inconceivable, given the levels of competition for readers in the tabloid press, that the other tabloids were not at this too.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:57 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fewer people are buying the News of the World, though, I suspect, not out of moral outrage over the phone-hacking revelations to date, rather that some former readers are sating their appetite for scandal through TV & the internet instead. I would like to think this latest news might accelerate the rag's decline in circulation, but would be surprised if it actually does.
posted by misteraitch at 1:25 AM on July 5, 2011


Surprisingly, even The Times is putting the boot in...

Nothing like your "friends" to really plant a dagger in your back.

"Quick! Prince William! Get that wife of yours pregnant!"
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 4:40 PM on July 4 [+] [!]

Given that even their mobiles were hacked, I doubt they would be so obliging.
posted by Jehan at 4:45 PM on July 4 [+] [!]


Just because their mobiles were hacked (and every second member of their entourage bought), I can imagine that the royal family may be particularly obliging towards the tabloids. After a century of snooping on them, imagine the amazing dirt they must have on the whole lot. Not to say that all the Windsors, from Prince Philip, through Princes Charles and Andrew, to Prince Harry wouldn't wish a pox on the whole journalistic profession.
posted by Skeptic at 1:35 AM on July 5, 2011


It'll be interesting to see if this can be covered up. The wall of silence from the rest of the tabloid pack kind of gives the impression they were all in on it (unsurprisingly).

To defeat this corruption it needs a few honest people to stand up now, be they senior police officers, journalists or politicians.

Police Officers... Journalists... Politicians...

Arse
posted by fullerine at 1:36 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


regular people will be forced to take matters in their own hands.

That reminds me of probably the best episode of early 90s British crime drama Cracker, in which an ordinary working class man finally snaps and goes on a murderous rampage - including sending a bomb to the offices of the Sun.

Cracker was an unusually honest series for a crime drama and - although this episode presented the killer as a man who had committed one murder in the heat of the moment and then drawn up an agenda of other murders because he was an intelligent, deeply moral man who couldn't admit to himself that he had killed someone for no good reason - it was always clear that the killer's anger came from a very real place.

It was driven, in part, by the Sun newspaper's decision after the Hillsborough tragedy (an infamous incident at a football game where 96 fans were crushed to death because of poor crowd management and unsafe grounds) to blame the victims - the ordinary football fans - rather than the police (who were the real culprits). The Sun said that the fans had "urinated" on the "brave cops" and "beat up" a "PC giving [the] kiss of life". There was a tremendous amount of justified anger at this completely dishonest description and I think that this comes across in the character of the killer, whose arguments have a terrible force to them (helped by the fact that he is played with Shakespearean intensity by Robert Carlyle).
posted by lucien_reeve at 1:41 AM on July 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


Has Robert Carlyle ever played anything with less than Shakespearean intensity? The man's a legend.
posted by flabdablet at 1:52 AM on July 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Come to think of it, the NotW editorial crew would definitely benefit from a visit from Frank Begbie.
posted by flabdablet at 1:54 AM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


And this for Rupert for afters.
posted by flabdablet at 1:56 AM on July 5, 2011


ciderwoman: the D notice thing is just an internet myth. I'm afraid I can't link to it so you'll have to take my word for it, there was no D notice or injunction, super or otherwise, on this very sad story, which should just remain a family affair.

Leon: Then why wasn't it reported at the time?


Er, to protect an innocent child? Look, I don't know whether there was a D notice or not, but I've said this before: there was no public interest to be served in the publication of that story. It's one of the few things in recent years that has made me feel like the British media possibly weren't irredeemably fucked. I am particularly ashamed of those on the left and in the anti-war movement baying for publication, because I think we can bloody well do better than that. Let's leave the topic here and talk about real news instead of people's terribly sad private lives.

But god, this Milly Dowling thing. I'm finding it hard to take in because it seems so cartoonishly, moustache-twirlingly evil. I'm used to things being more... subtle than this. The sins of omission or carelessness or cowardice. Not something this naked. It is really starting to seem like the eighties again in terms of public morality, and last time it was the eighties I was a six-year-old child and hadn't learned about the complexities of adult life yet, and being bad really did look like toying with the emotions of a murdered child's parents.
posted by Acheman at 2:26 AM on July 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Britain is a monarchy disguised as a democracy pretending to be a monarchy. The pretend monarch is Elizabeth II. The real monarch is Rupert Murdoch.
posted by acb at 2:43 AM on July 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Of course, the real solution here is for the good people of the United Kingdom to stop buying the fucking News of the World.
posted by jmegawarne at 2:47 AM on July 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


The thing that made me most sad about the whole hacking scandal was it would have been the perfect opportunity for Milliband and Cameron to come together and both agree they'd had enough of bending over for Rupe all these years and maybe they should both stick together and cut NI down to size once and for all.

But they didn't, they just carried on having Brooks, Lewis, Freud, Murdoch jnr et al round for dinner and the same old bullshit carries on.
posted by ciderwoman at 2:59 AM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Guardian overview of UK TV & newspaper coverage of this story
posted by Bwithh at 3:03 AM on July 5, 2011


For the little it's worth, I have just written to my MP. Here's where you can do the same. My words below if you want to just c&p something:

Dear XXXXXX,

I'm writing to you today about the News of the World phone hacking affair. The more I learn about it, the more it seems to be a problem that affects the press, the police, and many senior MPs. The only way we can work towards a more balanced and fair society is with these three forces acting as checks and balances against each other.

So many people intimately involved with the case being either personal friends or supported ex-colleagues of important MPs. A significant number of the metropolitan police seem to have been paid by the journalists. The journalists have seemingly no scruples whatsoever from the lone paparazzi to the powerful men at the top. It's really difficult for me to imagine how we can effectively prosecute those who have behaved illegally, and more importantly, to establish some kind of framework that is likely to prevent the same thing from continuing to happen.

Do you have any plans, or is there any wider group of MPs who have establish any kind of team or body, to really try to understand how everything occurred, and how this kind of situation can be avoided in future? The combination of invasion of individual privacy, police bribery, and the impotence of politicians to stand up to tabloids seems to be an outrage to any sensible notion of a free, just and uncorrupt society.

Yours sincerely,
XXXXXXXXXX
posted by Cantdosleepy at 3:06 AM on July 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Also, this has been SOP since the turn of the century, so I would be amazed if the Dowler case is the last seriously fucked up revelation. Or to put it another way, if you think the outrage is bad now, add it to revelations about the Soham victims or hacking the phones of the McCann's

As I said in the previous thread, this was a minor scandal when it was Sienna Miller and John Prescott getting hacked, now all bets are off and there's enough public anger here to harm anyone connected with this.
The thing that made me most sad about the whole hacking scandal was it would have been the perfect opportunity for Milliband and Cameron to come together and both agree they'd had enough of bending over for Rupe all these years and maybe they should both stick together and cut NI down to size once and for all
What makes you think they're bending over? "Please don't use your power and influence to make me Prime Minister Mr Murdoch, I can't take it."

As Reynir says Top to bottom, bottom to top. Corrupt. A giant pyramid, made of shit.
posted by fullerine at 3:08 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I consider it bending over because they're willing to add things to their manifesto, greenlight BskyB deals or attack the BBC just to keep Rupe happy. Doing things that you wouldn't otherwise do to keep the man in charge of a handful of papers happy is pretty much my definition of bending over and taking it (apart from, obviously, actually bending over and taking it, that's a whole different thing).
posted by ciderwoman at 3:12 AM on July 5, 2011


there was no public interest to be served in the publication of that story. It's one of the few things in recent years that has made me feel like the British media possibly weren't irredeemably fucked.

This isn't really the thread for claiming that, though, is it?
posted by Leon at 3:13 AM on July 5, 2011


Of course, the real solution here is for the good people of the United Kingdom to stop buying the fucking News of the World.

As long as Rupert owns almost the sports rights to pretty much every sport the average Pom cares about, he's not going to run out of money.
posted by rodgerd at 3:29 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I posted about this almost exactly 2 years ago, before Cameron had even assumed power. I have to say, I'm delighted to see that the story has refused to die, despite (presumably) the best efforts of all those implicated.
posted by Acey at 3:31 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I consider it bending over because they're willing to add things to their manifesto, greenlight BSkyB deals or attack the BBC just to keep Rupe happy. Doing things that you wouldn't otherwise do to keep the man in charge of a handful of papers happy is pretty much my definition of bending over and taking it (apart from, obviously, actually bending over and taking it, that's a whole different thing).
I just think they're more than happy to greenlight BSkyB deals and attack the BBC. I don't subscribe to the idea that Murdoch is the bad-guy corrupting Ed Dave and Nick. More like a team of bad guys who've got so lazy they've forgotten to hide the fact they're the bad guys. It's not like Murdoch needs a gun to their heads to make them perpetuate the status quo.
posted by fullerine at 3:34 AM on July 5, 2011


This is the most depressing thing that I've heard in a long time. As someone said upthread, what does it say about the culture within NewsCorp that this kind of behaviour was considered acceptable? Judging by the silence among the other tabloids it seems that they were equally guilty of such acts.

The worst thing is that the feeling of powerlessness against the Murdoch monolith. There are small things that you can do though, and I urge people in the UK (and, if not in the UK, if a corporation operates in your area and advertises in the NOTW register your disgust) to have a look at this or this.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 3:34 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


And what of The Sun? Even the News of the World's sister paper was forced to cover the story, but in mealy-mouthed fashion with just 95 words under the heading "Murdered Milly's phone 'got hacked'".

Presumably hoping that the readers assume that it got hacked by one of those Internet paedophiles.
posted by acb at 3:35 AM on July 5, 2011


Acey: a lot of credit goes to the Guardian, which has been ploughing a lonely furrow on this for quite some time.
posted by bonaldi at 3:42 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Has Robert Carlyle ever played anything with less than Shakespearean intensity? The man's a legend.

He's terrific. I imagine the only reason he hasn't turned up in Harry Potter as a baddie, along with every other major British actor (aside from, you know, integrity) is that he would be too damn scary.

Getting back on topic, this is an absolutely horrible thing to have done. Thank you ClanvidHorse for helping out with some links to help us fight back against it, even a little.
posted by lucien_reeve at 3:43 AM on July 5, 2011


This isn't really the thread for claiming that, though, is it?

No, this isn't Fleet street's finest hour. However, that doesn't change the fact that every hack I know is well aware of the suicide story but not a single one of them has ever heard of a D notice or injunction or banning order of any kind on it, nor of any editor ever spiking a story about it at any time.

I certainly don't profess to know every hack or editor, or even a majority of them, but the fact that not a single one of the ones I know (and they cover quite a wide spectrum) has ever heard of this supposed banning order leads me to conclude that for once, either for their own moral reasons or worrying about a backlash form their readership, they chose to do the right thing. It does happen sometimes, you know.
posted by ciderwoman at 3:43 AM on July 5, 2011


every hack I know is well aware of the suicide story but not a single one of them has ever heard of a D notice or injunction or banning order of any kind on it, nor of any editor ever spiking a story about it at any time.

Weird thing. Well, all I've got is internet rumour, so I'll defer. Guess we'll know for sure in a hundred years.
posted by Leon at 3:46 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


bonaldi: a lot of credit goes to the Guardian, which has been ploughing a lonely furrow on this for quite some time.

Absolutely. It's a damn good thing we still have one crusading newspaper left.
posted by Acey at 3:48 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Absolutely. It's a damn good thing we still have one crusading newspaper left.

Let's enjoy it while we can; the CEO of the Guardian Media Group has admitted that they may be bankrupt within 3-5 years.
posted by acb at 3:58 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Weird thing. Well, all I've got is internet rumour, so I'll defer. Guess we'll know for sure in a hundred years.
I doubt we will to be honest, and we shouldn't. I'm assuming the Internet rumour gives you enough of an idea of the story to see why there was zero public interest and the risk of genuine harm from publication. It has always been the case that there are often details which are kept from publication (some of the more horrible details of the Dunblane Massacre and the Bulger case being two such examples) because as wonderful as free speech is, public interest is actually finite.

When viewed in the light of the ongoing secrecy surrounding the current allegations it is difficult to defend the idea that some things are best left unsaid. Considering my pro rich-eating posting history it may seem incongruous that I'm happy with the ruling classes being given such discretion but I believe that discretion is one of the most powerful things we humans possess, and when abused, you need to change the human not take away the discretion.

Shorter : "People as things, that's where it starts"
posted by fullerine at 4:15 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's worth noting too, Leon, that a D notice is a voluntary request not to print, it's not legally binding or enforceable.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:16 AM on July 5, 2011


the only reason he hasn't turned up in Harry Potter as a baddie, along with every other major British actor (aside from, you know, integrity)

This being the same integral Robert Carlyle who starred in Stargate: Universe?
posted by Grangousier at 4:19 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I imagine the only reason he hasn't turned up in Harry Potter as a baddie, along with every other major British actor (aside from, you know, integrity) is that he would be too damn scary

Voldemort vs. Begbie? Would pay to see!
posted by flabdablet at 4:43 AM on July 5, 2011


(and my money would be on Begbie)
posted by flabdablet at 4:46 AM on July 5, 2011


Ah, impunity. The currency of all corrupt governments.
posted by pleasebekind at 5:06 AM on July 5, 2011


Hugh Grant mentioned Milly Dowler in his article in the New Statesman in April (Previously on MeFi)


Wow, I had read that previous MeFi thread, but, not following British crime news closely, I hadn't caught the significance of that admission by the hack he baited. So, actually, Hugh Grant scooped every major news organisation (Grauniad included) on a matter relating to journalistic and media ethics. Hugely increases my appreciation of the guy and what he did there.
posted by Skeptic at 5:07 AM on July 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


(and my money would be on Begbie)

Really? Begbie is pretty much written and filmed as a nasty wanker who only picks on weak and easy targets, as with the clip linked upthread.
posted by biffa at 5:08 AM on July 5, 2011


Wow, I had read that previous MeFi thread, but, not following British crime news closely, I hadn't caught the significance of that admission by the hack he baited. So, actually, Hugh Grant scooped every major news organisation (Grauniad included) on a matter relating to journalistic and media ethics. Hugely increases my appreciation of the guy and what he did there.

I was surprised by that also. However, it's still more shocking that the police knew of the phone hacking at the time. They did nothing, probably because it was so "normal" for journalists.
posted by Jehan at 5:11 AM on July 5, 2011


"I call my cancer Rupert"

Dennis Potter, 1994
posted by Kiwi at 5:20 AM on July 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


ME: Hacking the phones of celebrities I really couldn't care less about (mostly because I don't care about the celebrities) but deliberately fucking with a greiving family for fun and profit?

Zarah: I would imagine the top of the slippery slope to regular folks being harassed in this way started with royalty, politicians and celebrities being unduly harassed, and folks like you not giving a shit because you don't see them as human.

What the fuck? When did I say I didn't see celebrities as human?

Someone who put themselves in the limelight, enjoys the benefits of such, and has the time and money to dispute things through the court is very different to someone who is thrust into the spotlight due to the disappearance of a loved one - especially someone who is being deliberately manipulated for circulation figures.

The reason I don't care about celebrities has nothing to do with who they are or if they're human (whatever you meant that to mean) and a hell of a lot more to do with the fact that celebrity gossip is the last thing I want to read about.

I get that there is a 'slippery slope' but how the hell do you take the fact I care about one end more than the other, and extrapolate from that that I consider a group of people not to be human?
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 5:20 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just enjoying this comment from fullerine in the Hugh Grant thread from April:

Unless the allegations of hacking the phones of the relatives of dead kids get proven, then all bets are off. The idea of a News of the Screws hack listening in on Milly Dowler's school friends talking about her murder, sheesh. The only thing which move that story off the front page would be an Abu Hamza / Gary Gitter suicide pact.
posted by fullerine at 9:20 PM on April 14

posted by rory at 5:34 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, actually, Hugh Grant scooped every major news organisation (Grauniad included) on a matter relating to journalistic and media ethics.

Maybe, but there's more to it than that: when the NS published Grant's piece, the Dowler murder trial, which didn't begin until May 10, was still sub judice, and any reporting on related matters would have been subject to Britain's pretty tight contempt of court laws. Given that the Dowler murder was such a huge deal, as was the trial, it's more than likely – and I say this as an ex-hack, rather than a lawyer who knows what he's talking about – that newspapers didn't want to go anywhere near it.

That said, they were more than happy to dig into the past of Levi Bellfield, who was convicted of Dowler's murder, as the trial was ongoing, which led to the collapse of another charge in which the same jury was to deliberate on whether Bellfield kidnapped an 11 year old girl the day before he kidnapped Dowler.
posted by Len at 5:35 AM on July 5, 2011


Rebekah Brooks:

"It is inconceivable that I knew or worse, sanctioned these appalling allegations. I am aware of the speculation about my position. Therefore it is important you all know that as chief executive, I am determined to lead the company to ensure we do the right thing and resolve these serious issues."
posted by Jehan at 5:37 AM on July 5, 2011


You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by pixie at 5:39 AM on July 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


a hundred years.
I doubt we will to be honest, and we shouldn't. I'm assuming the Internet rumour gives you enough of an idea of the story to see why there was zero public interest and the risk of genuine harm from publication. It has always been the case that there are often details which are kept from publication (some of the more horrible details of the Dunblane Massacre and the Bulger case being two such examples) because as wonderful as free speech is, public interest is actually finite.

We're well off-thread here, so I'll shut up after this, but "public interest" certainly does trend towards publication over time. If, say, Henry VIII's son Arthur had been murdered rather than dying of disease, that fact would be of massive interest to present-day historians. When I say a hundred years, I mean when we're all dead.
posted by Leon at 5:43 AM on July 5, 2011


> However, it's still more shocking that the police knew of the phone hacking at the
> time. They did nothing, probably because it was so "normal" for journalists.

They did nothing because they are corrupt.
posted by vbfg at 5:45 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"News Int execs tell me they fear there may have been worse examples of NOTW hacking than that of Milly Dowler's phone." - BBC's Robert Peston.
posted by edd at 5:46 AM on July 5, 2011


Jehan: Rebekah Brooks:

"It is inconceivable that I knew or worse, sanctioned these appalling allegations. I am aware of the speculation about my position. Therefore it is important you all know that as chief executive, I am determined to lead the company to ensure we do the right thing and resolve these serious issues."


What's really galling about this – actually, scratch that; what's so vile about it – is that, as per the story in bonaldi's FPP, the Screws made no attempt to hide that they had access to her voicemail at the time of her disappearance:
The paper made little effort to conceal the hacking from its readers. On 14 April 2002 it published a story about a woman allegedly pretending to be Milly Dowler who had applied for a job with a recruitment agency: "It is thought the hoaxer even gave the agency Milly's real mobile number … the agency used the number to contact Milly when a job vacancy arose and left a message on her voicemail … it was on March 27, six days after Milly went missing, that the employment agency appears to have phoned her mobile."
And re: Peston's statement. What's worse than hacking into Dowler's voicemail while she's still missing, deleting messages and therefore possibly obstructing the investigation, thereby giving her family false hope, and then exploiting that by getting them to give an exclusive interview to the paper? I mean, did they give Levi Bellfield directions to her house and help him dispose of the body afterwards or something? Christ.
posted by Len at 5:53 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Len What's worse than hacking into Dowler's voicemail while she's still missing, deleting messages and therefore possibly obstructing the investigation, thereby giving her family false hope, and then exploiting that by getting them to give an exclusive interview to the paper?

I guess that the answer to that question can be given in two words: Madeline. McCann.

God help Rebekah Brooks (no, not really), if the NotW interfered in that investigation.
posted by Skeptic at 6:02 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


(worth remembering when reading Robert Peston's comments on his blog or the BBC is that he's best friends (and neighbours) with Will Lewis, Rebekah Brook's deputy. Not saying he would do anything other than use it as a source, but when he says 'sources at NI' it's good to remember that what he's really saying is 'One of my best mates told me')
posted by ciderwoman at 6:06 AM on July 5, 2011


I guess that the answer to that question can be given in two words: Madeline. McCann.

God help Rebekah Brooks (no, not really), if the NotW interfered in that investigation.


That would be fantastic as the Portuguese police would then have a claim to prosecute NOTW journalists. Being out of the hands of the UK establishment it's a perfect opportunity to further break the scandal.
posted by Jehan at 6:11 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Private Eye's Street of Shame (5 July 2011): A Sun in the Oven
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:11 AM on July 5, 2011


I guess that the answer to that question can be given in two words: Madeline. McCann.

God help Rebekah Brooks (no, not really), if the NotW interfered in that investigation.


Oh, god, of course. I do so hope that Brooks ends up, at least if not in jail, then practically unemployable. (Though if you believe the last issue of Private Eye, she was already negotiating a face-saving exit from NI within the next year under the guise of wanting to have a baby, which would give her and Rupe plausible deniability that, as the Eye claimed, he was ready to sack her in January.)

On preview: Mister Bijou has it.
posted by Len at 6:15 AM on July 5, 2011


"an intensive programme of Ugandan discussions". Gotta love Private Eye.
posted by vbfg at 6:16 AM on July 5, 2011


(worth remembering when reading Robert Peston's comments on his blog or the BBC is that he's best friends (and neighbours) with Will Lewis, Rebekah Brook's deputy. Not saying he would do anything other than use it as a source, but when he says 'sources at NI' it's good to remember that what he's really saying is 'One of my best mates told me')

So, Lewis is briefing his BBC mate against his own boss? That's a lovely working climate they must have at NewsCorp...
posted by Skeptic at 6:31 AM on July 5, 2011


It's very likely that if I as an individual hacked Rupert Murdoch's phone, even if I used that to simply expose evidence of his wrong-doing I'd find myself in jail for a long time.

I think this really should be tested. If anyone happens to have his number, let me know.
posted by pmcp at 6:31 AM on July 5, 2011


It's very likely that if I as an individual hacked Rupert Murdoch's phone, even if I used that to simply expose evidence of his wrong-doing I'd find myself in jail for a long time.

Jail? What makes you think he would be that magnanimous?
posted by Skeptic at 6:33 AM on July 5, 2011


One of the few ways in which the public can sanction the NOTW is by contacting advertisers and requesting them to stop doing business with it.

Details of advertisers (including email addresses and prewritten emails).

If you'd prefer to tweet.
posted by tackandgybe at 7:08 AM on July 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


CEOs, politicians, and the like seem to have no problem taking all the credit for successes when in fact it was the actions of someone way down the power chain. Seems like as soon as something bad happens, they should be just as eager to say, "It happened under my watch, so ultimately I'm responsible." And then take on the full responsibility for restitution.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:33 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the few ways in which the public can sanction the NOTW is by contacting advertisers and requesting them to stop doing business with it.

The Guardian has some other suggestions, too.

Seems like as soon as something bad happens, they should be just as eager to say, "It happened under my watch, so ultimately I'm responsible."

Fully agree; I worked somewhere where someone very junior committed a very serious breach of trust. Pretty much everyone who had line responsibility for that person took responsibilty, and offered to resign (right up to the Chief Exec). Made it such a good place to work, knowing that the people around me had integrity.
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:44 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's awful watching the slow erosion of British democracy at the hands of The Corporation. Our political "leaders" are in service to corporate interests and the Banksters. It couldn't be clearer, and I'm appalled.
posted by nzeribe at 7:45 AM on July 5, 2011


If Brooks resigns (or, heavens forfend, is gaoled for her part in this), Murdoch will have to find another official to relay his orders to his viceroy in Number Ten. Which would inconvenience him considerably.
posted by acb at 7:46 AM on July 5, 2011


So, Lewis is briefing his BBC mate against his own boss? That's a lovely working climate they must have at NewsCorp...
They're like Pratchett's wizards. Promotion via death, usually not peacefully in their sleep.
posted by bonaldi at 8:00 AM on July 5, 2011


For sheer vileness, this might even outdo Steve Dunleavy's actions while covering the Son of Sam murders for Murdoch's New York Post. To get an exclusive, he 'followed the victims’ parents into the hospital at 4 A.M., donned a doctor’s smock, and posed as a bereavement counselor.'
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:12 AM on July 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sohan families contacted by police over phone hacking.
posted by edd at 8:24 AM on July 5, 2011


Espionage, blackmail, obstruction of justice, bribery and corruption of police officers, theft, perjury - you'd think maybe the Serious Organised Crime Agency would be investigating News International over this.
posted by dng at 8:36 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Parliamentary debate on this tomorrow according to the Guardian ticker:

Breaking news:
* LATEST: Speaker John Bercow grants emergency three-hour Commons debate tomorrow into NoW phone-hacking allegations.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 8:42 AM on July 5, 2011


Npower reviews News of the World advertising amid phone-hacking row
posted by pixie at 8:44 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Getting interesting; spin-meister extraordinaire Max Clifford has just made a statement to Sky News.
So I guess he now on a retainer from Rupert.
posted by adamvasco at 8:50 AM on July 5, 2011


freedom of the press.. out of control
posted by schmelz at 8:58 AM on July 5, 2011


BBC reporting that Ford have pulled adverts from NOTW
posted by pixie at 9:28 AM on July 5, 2011


I guess that the answer to that question can be given in two words: Madeline. McCann.

God help Rebekah Brooks (no, not really), if the NotW interfered in that investigation.

That would be fantastic as the Portuguese police would then have a claim to prosecute NOTW journalists. Being out of the hands of the UK establishment it's a perfect opportunity to further break the scandal.


Not sure if the Portuguese police's handing of the McCann case is really the most reassuring track record for this kind of possibility here...
posted by Bwithh at 9:42 AM on July 5, 2011


Ford has just pulled its advertising with the News of the World:
A spokesman said: "Ford is a company which cares about the standards of behaviour of its own people and those it deals with externally.
"We are awaiting an outcome from the News of the World investigation and expect a speedy and decisive response.
"Pending this response we will be using alternative media within and outside News International Group instead of placing Ford advertising in the News of the World."
posted by Len at 10:03 AM on July 5, 2011


However, it's still more shocking that the police knew of the phone hacking at the time. They did nothing, probably because it was so "normal" for journalists.

On the contrary, if you look back over the history of the whole scandal, the police did something: the Met were actively opposing any attempts to go after News Ltd for any of this, citing their desire to preserve a valuable relationship with News of the World.

Sohan families contacted by police over phone hacking.

Auto-de-fe. Too good for them, but the best we've got.
posted by rodgerd at 11:36 AM on July 5, 2011


Warning, self-link ahead. I think it's in a good cause though.

One of the advertisers in the NOTW is the Co-Op group. The Co-Op group have traded for years on their ethical policy, and the reason many people (including me) bank with their bank is because of that ethical policy.

At a time when organisations like Ford are pulling advertising from the NOTW, the 'ethical' Co-Op released a statement today that “These are allegations. We have no plans to withdraw our advertising.”

I've put up a post on my blog which links to media contacts for the Co-Op, as well as their customer services number etc. Thought it would be a surprise if there weren't other customers amongst the UK Mefi contingent.
posted by reynir at 11:44 AM on July 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


I may be too skeptical, but it's notable that Ford's shifting advertising from NoTW to the Sun. There's no real financial loss to NI here, but there's a big social media PR boost to Ford. Ford's been doing a great job of social media management recently, so that's important to them.
posted by bonaldi at 11:57 AM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Channel 4 News has made claims about how investigators at News of the World were involved in monitoring high profile police personnel, which is all linked to the case surrounding the murder of Daniel Morgan (about which I'm sure there was a post on here before, but I can't find it at all).

It said a Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook, a senior police officer who appeared on Crimewatch, claimed he was told by colleagues that he was under surveillance by News of the World in 2002.

The C4 report said police discovered that vans leased to News of the World had been witnessed tailing Cook. It said NoW was investigating whether Cook was having an affair with Jackie Haynes, a Crimewatch presenter who was in fact his wife.

C4 says the timing of the NoW surveillance was disturbing because suspects in a case being investigated by Cook were private investigators with close links to NoW.

C4 added that Brooks was challenged by police over this at a meeting in 2002. News International was quoted saying it was not aware of the claims but would investigate. It said it could not confirm or deny Brooks' meeting with police.

It said Cook and Haynes were informed two months ago about documentation of surveillance found among notes seized from Glenn Mulcaire. It said they were both considering legal action.

posted by dng at 11:58 AM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The channel 4 report on that story.
posted by dng at 12:00 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I may be too skeptical, but it's notable that Ford's shifting advertising from NoTW to the Sun. There's no real financial loss to NI here, but there's a big social media PR boost to Ford. Ford's been doing a great job of social media management recently, so that's important to them.

Oh yeah, NI won't lose any money, and Ford gets the brownie points, but all the same, it looks pretty bad for NoTW when the country's biggest car brand makes a big public show of backing away.

And dng – yeah, I saw that story on the news as it was broadcast; wasn't on their website an hour ago, but now it's here.


PS: hi, bonaldi!
posted by Len at 12:02 PM on July 5, 2011


The C4 report said police discovered that vans leased to News of the World had been witnessed tailing Cook. It said NoW was investigating whether Cook was having an affair with Jackie Haynes, a Crimewatch presenter who was in fact his wife.

Oh man, if only they'd run that "story". They've had looked like (even bigger) fucking idiots.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:02 PM on July 5, 2011


Speaker allows emergency debate in the Commons, over the objection of the Cabinet. I guess Cameron and his inner circle are going to the mat to protect Rupert.
posted by rodgerd at 12:11 PM on July 5, 2011


Tomorrow's Independent has an interesting front page.
posted by permafrost at 1:31 PM on July 5, 2011


Is that real? The date is wednesday 6th.

The rumour I'm hearing is that there's another big link to a murder (not Mcann, Dowler or Soham) to come.
posted by ciderwoman at 1:37 PM on July 5, 2011


Um.. tomorrow being Wednesday 6th, and that being tomorrow's Independent, I'm guessing yes, it's real.
posted by motty at 1:39 PM on July 5, 2011


Hah! Proof I really have been working too hard (and that I'm an idiot) (if proof of that was needed).
posted by ciderwoman at 1:42 PM on July 5, 2011


A boycott of News of the World while feeding the rest of the Murdoch machine is meaningless, and that's the source of his power, and why cross-ownership rule relaxation has always been his goal (and the price of his support). News of the World, the Sun, the TImes, Sky, and now BSkyB mean there are very view levels of media he doesn't dominate, and his deal with Jobs is probably his best shot at carrying that into online.

(Hell, he's even in the religion business.)
posted by rodgerd at 1:43 PM on July 5, 2011


BBC january: McCann spokesman Mitchell tells of phone security fear.
posted by adamvasco at 1:43 PM on July 5, 2011


The channel 4 report on that story.
posted by dng at 12:00 PM on July 5 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]

"When finally confronted, the News of the World apparently said they were interested in whether Dave Cook was having an affair with a Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames. They were in fact married at the time."

The incompetence would be hilarious if the story weren't so frightening.
posted by humph at 1:46 PM on July 5, 2011


Oh man, if only they'd run that "story". They've had looked like (even bigger) fucking idiots.
Not even the News of the World is that stupid. I think the implication is the reason given to police for the surveillance was bollocks.
posted by fullerine at 1:47 PM on July 5, 2011


Easily done, ciderwoman, but you did make me wonder for a moment: I wouldn't put it past the evil bastards under Murdoch's command to spread a few false flag fakes around the internet just to muddy things - it's already clear that straight-up lying isn't a problem for them.

Anyway, according to the Guardian live update, Nick Sutton is a BBC guy; they have the same screenshot.
posted by motty at 1:49 PM on July 5, 2011


The rumour I'm hearing is that there's another big link to a murder (not Mcann, Dowler or Soham) to come.

The Sarah Payne case was mentioned on C4 news tonight, which is bound up in all kinds of irony.

(For those not familiar, Sarah Payne was a child murder victim whose name was taken up by the NOTW - led by Rebekah Wade/Brooks - in its lengthy campaign for 'Sarah's Law' - a law to force the disclosure of where registered sex offenders live).
posted by reynir at 1:49 PM on July 5, 2011


Bereaved relatives of the July 7 bombings had their phones hacked by journalists at the News of the World, police believe.
posted by dng at 2:25 PM on July 5, 2011


Wow, the initial Dowler story is an outrage, but the whole thing keeps on getting worse and worse. I have to say that it seems, contrary to her statement, inconceivable that Rebekah Wade didn't know about the Dowler voicemail hacking.
posted by ob at 2:31 PM on July 5, 2011


Guardian liveblog is reporting that prominent and influential British parents' online community Mumsnet is cancelling its planned advertising campaign on Sky, which may be the first sign of a wider marketing boycott not just of News of the World but other UK News International media.
posted by Bwithh at 2:33 PM on July 5, 2011


Holy fuck, didn't think of that one.

Thing is, I can understand how - if one was a perverted, twisted, shit-licker base enough to countenance it - there might be a story to be got from hacking into the phone of the disappeared Milly Dowler.

But what would they hope to get from the grieving relatives of the 7/7 victims? Grief? Where's the story?
posted by reynir at 2:34 PM on July 5, 2011


Mumsnet are kind of turning into a cuddlier version of Anonymous.
posted by permafrost at 2:35 PM on July 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Suddenly David Simon's axe-grinding and scathing portrayal of US newspaper journalism in the fifth season of The Wire (based closely and controversially on David Simon's own experience/interpretation of real-life events in his journalism career) doesn't really seem that dark...
posted by Bwithh at 2:36 PM on July 5, 2011


Guardian liveblog is reporting that prominent and influential British parents' online community Mumsnet is cancelling its planned advertising campaign on Sky, which may be the first sign of a wider marketing boycott not just of News of the World but other UK News International media.

Great news. It looks like knives out for Brooks, so it would be a concern that the story dies down somewhat once she's gone. Actions like this will help keep the story going throughout.
posted by Jehan at 2:42 PM on July 5, 2011


The BBC's Robert Peston has just said "News Int passed emails to police that seem to show Andy Coulson as editor of NOTW authorised payments to police. No comment from Coulson.", which sounds interesting.
posted by dng at 2:45 PM on July 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


But what would they hope to get from the grieving relatives of the 7/7 victims? Grief? Where's the story?
A "goodbye, I love you" call like those from 9/11 would have been tabloid gold.

The Coulson thing sounds like deciding he might make enough of a scapegoat to save Wade and hanging him out to dry.
posted by bonaldi at 3:08 PM on July 5, 2011


If Coulson goes down Cameron is fucked.
If Brooks goes down she'll try to take half The Met with her.

A delightful location situated with easy access to both Rocks and Hard Places
posted by fullerine at 3:16 PM on July 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


A "goodbye, I love you" call like those from 9/11 would have been tabloid gold.

Ah, that makes more sense now, thank you.

The lawyer of Levi Bellfield, serial killer and murderer of Milly Dowler, is now looking at whether the interference with the phone messages could in some way render the conviction of his client unsafe. Clap, clap, clap, NOTW. The Murderer's Friend.
posted by reynir at 3:18 PM on July 5, 2011


This morning at work we were wondering if the NOTW could sink any lower. On the way home this evening, seeing the faces of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in that final photo, 90 minutes before they were murdered, on the front page of the Evening Standard, I almost cried. The utter lack of morals and basic human decency of the NOTW scum is mind-boggling.
posted by essexjan at 3:51 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Brooks: page three ghoul.
posted by davemee at 3:58 PM on July 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


And the bad news for NI just keeps on coming.
News of the World phone hacking: Police review all child abduction cases

Police officers investigating phone hacking by the News of the World are turning their attention to examine every high-profile case involving the murder, abduction or attack on any child since 2001 in response to the revelation that journalists from the tabloid newspaper hacked into the voicemail messages of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
posted by Len at 3:58 PM on July 5, 2011


Rebekah Brooks is shocked, SHOCKED, that this could have happened while she was editor. Shocked!
posted by dejah420 at 8:35 PM on July 5, 2011


Channel 4 News' interview with Simon Greenberg, News International's Director of Corporate Affairs, was excruciating.

tl;dw - it's ok for Rebekah Brooks to head up the internal investigation despite her being editor at the time of the Dowler hack because these are allegations not facts.

Just let that one sit with you for a while.
posted by spectrevsrector at 1:48 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe what we need is 'Milly's Law' - a law that's designed to force the disclosure of where NoW journalists live.
posted by panboi at 1:54 AM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


News International executives believe that they have uncovered evidence of who at the News of the World commissioned and sanctioned the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone.

[...]

Rebekah Brooks - now chief executive of News International, the News of the World's publisher - was editor of the paper at the time Milly Dowler went missing in 2002 and has said it was "inconceivable" that she knew.

The newly uncovered evidence is said not to contradict that.


tl;dr version: NI: WE HAVE A SCAPEGOAT!!
posted by Skeptic at 3:07 AM on July 6, 2011


They're throwing Coulson under the bus, presumably to protect Brooks. They've passed information to the investigation about Coulson authorising payments to the police for information.

Unfortunately for Brooks there's this from the parliamentary committee:

Wade/Brooks: We have paid the police for information in the past.

Bryant: And will you do it in the future?

Wade/Brooks: It depends -

Coulson interrupts: We operate within the code and within the law and if there is a clear public interest then we will. The same holds for private detectives, subterfuge, a video bag - whatever you want to talk about.


...which more than suggests she knew about that.
posted by vbfg at 3:53 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


reynir - I've contacted the Co-Op to register my disgust as well. I'm frankly stunned that a group that describes itself as ethical would continue to do business with NotW after this. Franly I'd be happy if they pulled advertising from NI completely. There is nothing good about anything Rupert Murdoch touches and his foulness corrupts his employees as clearly evinced by their actions here.
posted by longbaugh at 5:41 AM on July 6, 2011


We've definitely reached the point where the rats are starting to stab each other in the back in the hope that they'll be the one left standing haven't we.
posted by pharm at 5:44 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Matthew Norman, in The Indie: This is an amorality tale of systemic corruption as insidious, deep-rooted, all-embracing, diseased and destructive as any known to a modern Western democracy. To understand how it came to this – how prime ministers and our premier police force became the enablers of News Corporation's abundant wickedness – you must go back several decades.
posted by veedubya at 5:53 AM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Halifax, Co-op, Vauxhall and Virgin Hollidays have joined Ford in pulling ads from this weekend's News of the World.
posted by eykal at 5:54 AM on July 6, 2011


Is there a list of advertisers with NotW online anywhere? I work for a UK mobile company (the one not named in that last link) and am trying to badger the higher ups now. Since T-Mobile and Orange have already jumped ship and 3, Vodafone and o2 are considering it I'd like to see my employers show some backbone.
posted by longbaugh at 5:58 AM on July 6, 2011


Commons emergency debate live streaming here.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:21 AM on July 6, 2011


I'm watching the debate, and I must say I'm terribly distracted by Grieve's ill-fitting suit.
posted by Jehan at 6:32 AM on July 6, 2011


"News Int execs tell me they fear there may have been worse examples of NOTW hacking than that of Milly Dowler's phone."

Hmm. I didn't see anyone kick that rock...

Ford has just pulled its advertising with the News of the World:

...and it just rolled over another rock....

Sohan families contacted by police over phone hacking.

...and that one is sliding too.....

Speaker allows emergency debate in the Commons, over the objection of the Cabinet.

...hmm. We *really* need to get off the mountain, now!....

News of the World phone hacking: Police review all child abduction cases

...and it's picking up speed!....

News International executives believe that they have uncovered evidence of who at the News of the World commissioned and sanctioned the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone.

Hmm. They're setting off charges to try to divert the avalanche into an empty valley....

Halifax, Co-op, Vauxhall and Virgin Hollidays have joined Ford in pulling ads from this weekend's News of the World.

...they're going to need a bigger valley...

(From the Grauniad's Live Blog on the matter)

Labour's David Hanson says he has been told that Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions, has been appointed to advise News International about its dealings with the police.


...two valleys...

(ibid)

In the light of the current public debate about phone hacking and other allegations, Ofcom confirms that it has a duty to be satisfied on an ongoing basis that the holder of a broadcasting licence is 'fit and proper'.


...not enough valleys in the world. AVALANCHE! The only question now is who does it run over.
posted by eriko at 6:36 AM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


An interesting tidbit from the Spectator's James Forsyth:

I suspect that Grieve, unlike many ministers, has no great love for News International. His career has never recovered from his clashing, when Shadow Home Secretary, with Rebekah Brooks over how the tabloids report crime. It is said that from that day on, Andy Coulson put the black spot on him and Grieve was subsequently moved in the next reshuffle.

Oh, the delicious smell of chickens coming home...
posted by Skeptic at 6:56 AM on July 6, 2011


The MP Tom Watson is really raking shit on News Corp over this, including James Murdoch. Oh glee!
posted by Jehan at 7:15 AM on July 6, 2011


I phoned the News of The World's news desk on UK (0)207 782 1001 to offer them a huge story of a giant corporation making money off the misery of dead kids' and 7/7 victims' families.

They didn't seem nearly as interested in the story as I expected a crusading journalist to be, particularly when they say "Our investigations team fearlessly pursues villains and cheats." on their contact page http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/notw/public/nol_public_news/1012238/Sell-your-story.html

Should anyone else wish to contact them, "Email us at newsdesk@notw.co.uk Or contact us by text at 63300".
posted by Pericles at 7:16 AM on July 6, 2011 [22 favorites]


Pericles, you are an evil, evil, evil MeFite and I'm very proud of you.
posted by eriko at 7:17 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yup, truly brilliant Pericles.
posted by ob at 7:31 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's OK! She was on holiday.
posted by ob at 8:06 AM on July 6, 2011


That's convenient!
posted by Sys Rq at 8:10 AM on July 6, 2011


Labour MP Tom Watson accuses James Murdoch of being engaged in an attempt to pervert the course of justice and urges the police to investigate.
posted by adamvasco at 8:18 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


wow
posted by adamvasco at 8:20 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck yes. House of cards.
posted by longbaugh at 8:24 AM on July 6, 2011


Shouldn't we be referring to him as Metafilter's Own Tom Watson?
posted by dng at 8:36 AM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Listening to this debate is helping restore my faith in politics. there are some very decent politicians out there, even if they've been relegated to the back benches.
posted by Jehan at 8:38 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just watched Hugh Grant standing outside Houses of Parliament and being interviewed by Al Jazeera. Gosh, he was excellent. Among other things, he predicts that, according to lawyers he's been talking to, Rebekah Brooks will be arrested soon.
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:52 AM on July 6, 2011


Shouldn't we be referring to him as Metafilter's Own Tom Watson?

He needs more spouses! Come on, everyone!
posted by orrnyereg at 9:05 AM on July 6, 2011


An excellent takedown of The Times' pious response to the hacking scandal by Telegraph Blogs' editor, Damian Thompson.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:20 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Halifax, Co-op, Vauxhall and Virgin Hollidays have joined Ford in pulling ads from this weekend's News of the World.

Excellent! Co-Op group needs to ask itself some hard questions about why they had to do a volte-face after huge customer pressure. Ethical disaster, and a PR disaster on top.

Just watched Hugh Grant standing outside Houses of Parliament and being interviewed by Al Jazeera. Gosh, he was excellent.

Not sure I ever thought that I would live in a world where Hugh Grant proved to be more successful at uncovering criminal behaviour than two enquiries by the Metropolitan Police. Reckon he could do with Jude Law as a Robin-like sidekick. Together, they fight crime.
posted by reynir at 10:33 AM on July 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


Possibly only available in the UK, but here is an interview with Hugh Grant and Paul McMullen of NotW.
posted by Acey at 10:44 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Incidentally, I think McMullen's attitude really exemplifies the complete lack of ethics at NotW. I can see how such a culture can develop - he thinks he's just one of the lads, a wide boy, all these complainers are moralising elitists... chill out mate, it's all just a laugh, no one really cares if we snoop on grieving relatives.

I mean, I guess at least he's being honest about it, instead of spewing out false apologies and hypocritical condemnations. He's probably one of the better ones.
posted by Acey at 10:49 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rather fittingly, given his former profession, Mr McMullen looks as if he lives in a bin and eats dead rats.
posted by reynir at 11:05 AM on July 6, 2011


That Hugh Grant interview is full of win. And yes, McMullen has an amusingly Dickensian malnourished look to him.
posted by ob at 11:22 AM on July 6, 2011


"Arise, Sir Hugh, head of a new reformed PCC" is far-fetched but it seems clear he could do that job a lot better that the current bunch
posted by Bwithh at 11:33 AM on July 6, 2011


Another thought about boycotts and sanctions against NotW: their value limited by decision made by News International recently but before this current stage of the crisis (can't find link ATM because am on iPhone ) to merge NotW into The Sun and retire the NotW brand. So when Ford pulls its ads from NotW and moves them to the Sun...
posted by Bwithh at 11:38 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not sure I ever thought that I would live in a world where Hugh Grant proved to be more successful at uncovering criminal behaviour than two enquiries by the Metropolitan Police.

It doesn't seem that extraordinary, given the Met's long history of corruption and racism. If they were spending a bit more time doing their fucking job and a little less time hanging out with the National Front and News of the World.

So when Ford pulls its ads from NotW and moves them to the Sun...

...they're still giving money to News International.

From 1996-1999 I worked for two New Zealand papers owned by Murdoch. Every month the financials went to Murdoch himself. If there were significant drop-offs in performance he'd deal with it personally. For a couple of newspapers in a city of 300,000 people. When people assert that Murdoch doesn't know what's going on in his empire, that he doesn't directly control policy, they are either ignorant or liars.
posted by rodgerd at 12:14 PM on July 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


Also:
Zac Goldsmith, a Conservative, said the Murdoch empire had become too powerful.

We have seen, I would say, systemic abuse of almost unprecedented power. There is nothing noble in what these newspapers have been doing. Rupert Murdoch is clearly a very, very talented businessman, he's possibly even a genius, but his organisation has grown too powerful and has abused that power. It has systematically corrupted the police and in my view has gelded this Parliament to our shame.
Sport on, boyo.
posted by rodgerd at 12:16 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tories still determined to give Murdoch his prize. One dare not disappoint the man who decides the elections.
posted by rodgerd at 12:23 PM on July 6, 2011


Well, Zac Goldsmith may be a Conservative, but he's also the brother of Jemima Khan, who's had the odd run-in with the tabloids, and was also the New Statesman editor who published Hugh Grant's scoop. Hugh Grant being also, by the by, Khan's ex-boyfriend.
To make things even more entertaining, Khan was also recently linked by furiously denied Internet rumour to none other than Jeremy Clarkson, BBC personality but also, in his spare time, columnist for News International, pro-Tory firebrand, and, as fate would have it, Rebekah Brooks' BFF. It's a small world.

Winter evenings must be long and boring in the Cotswolds, I guess...
posted by Skeptic at 12:45 PM on July 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


What the papers won't say by Peter Oborne in The Spectator.
posted by Jehan at 1:44 PM on July 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


The BBC is now reporting that the phones of the families of dead soldiers have been hacked.
posted by essexjan at 2:20 PM on July 6, 2011


What next, robbing the graves of murdered children?

I'm starting to think that the NOTW might be finished. What happens when / if the same public spotlight moves to the rest of the tabloid press?
posted by pharm at 2:39 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


So when Ford pulls its ads from NotW and moves them to the Sun...

...they're still giving money to News International.


It's not just that - I agree with the idea that a boycott impacting all of News International would be the most effective route. But the point about the merging of NotW and The Sun and the already planned retirement of the NotW brand that the rationale of those only pursuing a boycott of NotW itself is weaker than on first glance.
posted by Bwithh at 2:46 PM on July 6, 2011


To make things even more entertaining, Khan was also recently linked by furiously denied Internet rumour to none other than Jeremy Clarkson, BBC personality

I'm pretty sure this was just a malicious Twitter joke/false rumour. such as the dread power of social media intertubes.
posted by Bwithh at 2:50 PM on July 6, 2011


Wow, this just keeps on rolling. Unbelievable.
posted by ob at 2:50 PM on July 6, 2011


List of denials by News Ltd, including such gems as: "The Guardian coverage has, we believe, substantially and likley deliberately misled the British public."

Sure, Becky. The Guardian should sue for libel.
posted by rodgerd at 2:53 PM on July 6, 2011


I believe rodgerd meant to link here.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:06 PM on July 6, 2011


It's not just that - I agree with the idea that a boycott impacting all of News International would be the most effective route. But the point about the merging of NotW and The Sun and the already planned retirement of the NotW brand that the rationale of those only pursuing a boycott of NotW itself is weaker than on first glance.

It'd be nice if Tescos and Smiths said they weren't going to stock it. That'd be a boycott that would have an actual effect.
posted by dng at 3:13 PM on July 6, 2011


I don't think folding a damaged title such as News of the World into another paper would be a smart move. That would only help spread the contagion across News International's brands. Killing News of the World dead might be the only option if a boycott really takes hold.
posted by Jehan at 3:20 PM on July 6, 2011


Front pages of tomorrow's newspapers. Even The Sun (barely) mentions phone hacking.
posted by Jehan at 3:28 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


That Sun front page sure is...something. Judging by square inches, the whole issue is about as important for them as Emma Watson's bottom.
posted by Skeptic at 3:46 PM on July 6, 2011


To make things even more entertaining, Khan was also recently linked by furiously denied Internet rumour to none other than Jeremy Clarkson, BBC personality

I'm pretty sure this was just a malicious Twitter joke/false rumour. such as the dread power of social media intertubes.
posted by Bwithh


Oh, me too. But one must now wonder who started that canard. Considering that it is now alleged that the relations between Brooks and Coulson had been glacial since the latter broke an earlier promise not to work for Cameron in government, it is not altogether outlandish to suspect that Andy may have himself planted a rumour that was certain to annoy both his nemesis and his former colleagues...
posted by Skeptic at 4:04 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


For those who are interested in boycotting all of Murdoch's empire, is there a comprehensive list somewhere of all his properties? This blog post is the closest I can find after a quick Google...
posted by Cantdosleepy at 4:15 PM on July 6, 2011


I guess if you were called Rupert and you wanted to buy some BSkyB shares, then now's the time.
posted by seanyboy at 4:49 PM on July 6, 2011


I was just wondering earlier: Why is Murdoch being so loyal to Brooks?

Independent has a story on this:
"Rupert Murdoch has four daughters, but sometimes it seems like there are five."
posted by Bwithh at 5:00 PM on July 6, 2011


BBC: "Dead soldiers' families 'hacked by newspaper'"
posted by Sys Rq at 5:01 PM on July 6, 2011


She had been out the night before having dinner with the Labour politician David Blunkett, commiserating with him over a story in The Independent on Sunday which had forced him to resign from the cabinet for the second and final time. When she returned home, to Battersea, something went seriously wrong – but we have only unreliable rumours about what exactly it was. Police arrived around 4am, after two 999 calls, to find a sorry-looking Kemp. They arrested Brooks and held her for eight hours. No charges resulted.
I guess if you've been flicking the police tens of thousands of pounds over the years you can be confident "No charges" will result.
posted by rodgerd at 7:42 PM on July 6, 2011


Blistering blog entry attacking Cameron from the Daily Telegraph's chief politics writer
posted by Bwithh at 8:55 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, Bwithh, this is the money quote:
The Prime Minister cannot claim in defence that he was naively drawn in to this lethal circle. He was warned – many times. Shortly before the last election he was explicitly told about the company he was keeping. Alan Rusbridger – editor of The Guardian newspaper, which has performed such a wonderful service to public decency by bringing to light the shattering depravity of Mr Murdoch’s newspaper empire – went to meet one of Mr Cameron’s closest advisers shortly before the last election. He briefed this adviser very carefully about Mr Coulson, telling him many troubling pieces of information that could not then be put into the public domain.
posted by rodgerd at 9:54 PM on July 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Peter Oborne is the Tory it's OK to like.
posted by fullerine at 10:15 PM on July 6, 2011


News of the World phone hackers may have gone after families of dead soldiers, and major advertisers are now boycotting the paper
posted by delmoi at 11:18 PM on July 6, 2011


Possibly only available in the UK, but here is an interview with Hugh Grant and Paul McMullen of NotW.

Good Christ, that was an awesome interview. Paul McMullen looked and acted like the slimy sociopathic rat that he is. And Grant managed to get in a zinger at the end of the interview.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:30 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you can't see the video on the BBC site, there is a YouTube mirror for now.

And Peter Oborne's Spectator article is excellent, thanks for the link Jehan.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:25 AM on July 7, 2011


Am I correct is guessing that "phone hacking" in this case translates to something like this? ... try entering the default voicemail access code.

Apparently so.
posted by flabdablet at 1:39 AM on July 7, 2011


BBC site interview is viewable outside the UK, but good to have the youtube link too!
posted by Bwithh at 1:53 AM on July 7, 2011


Am I correct is guessing that "phone hacking" in this case translates to something like this?
1. Get Milly Dowler's mobile phone number form whatever source.
2. Work out what network she (probably) used.
3. Call up the number from 1 - and armed with the operator found in 2 try entering the default voicemail access code.


If step 3 fails, the next step was to use social engineering to try and get the voicemail PIN from the carrier customer services, or use a mole to obtain it. Getting it reset was also an option, since most people don't check their voicemail from anywhere except their own phones, so they wouldn't notice if a PI had used social engineering to have the PIN reset.
posted by pharm at 1:58 AM on July 7, 2011


Yesterday's Al Jazeera interview with Hugh Grant: "the tabloid press has gone unregulated and above the law for ten or 15 years in this country, and a lot of people have been harmed and a lot of privacy has been stolen for profit. . . "
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:05 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry about injecting a note of bathos here, but an acquaintance of mine in New Zealand used to have a lot of fun with other people's voicemail. Their MO was to use the knowledge that Telecom's default PIN was the last 4 digits of the number to get into the voicemail settings for random numbers and then re-record the user's name and greeting in the silliest possible voice. It seemed like a relatively harmless jape at the time.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:25 AM on July 7, 2011


I have to say it was almost joyful to watch that interview with Mr. Hugh van Helsing.

Or was it Grant, I can't remember.

Go get those bloodsuckers.
posted by Anything at 2:32 AM on July 7, 2011


Am I correct is guessing that "phone hacking" in this case translates to something like this? ... try entering the default voicemail access code.

Sort of like if you try enough car doors you'll find one unlocked. Nerd cracker wisdom to the contrary this does not, in fact, make it legal to loot the contents for fun and profit.
posted by rodgerd at 2:43 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guardian newspaper: (in 2002) Brooks summoned to meeting with Scotland Yard to be told her journalists had spied on behalf of murder suspects
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:46 AM on July 7, 2011


3. Call up the number from 1 - and armed with the operator found in 2 try entering the default voicemail access code

That's probably the first thing they try, but it wouldn't work for higher profile targets (celebs, pols etc.) who are already security sensitive
posted by Bwithh at 2:47 AM on July 7, 2011


flabdablet: interesting Stephen Nott's letter on the voicemail hacking loophole. Nott clearly recognised that having a means by which not just newspapers but ex-lovers, business rivals, employees, the police or whoever else managed to get just your phone number could listen to or delete your mobile phone voicemail from any location should have been a huge story in its own right. It still should because it affects all mobile phone users. Even if one is not a politician, celebrity, grieving relative, etc we probably take pains to guard access to our phones - we set a PIN for the phone and maybe another for the SIM; we limit those who we give our number to. But I am willing to guess that only a very small number of people are aware of this barn door sized security hole. I also maintain that both the mobile phone operators and OFTEL are culpable of letting it continue unpatched for over a decade.

Just to underline this: Reader, if I happened to have located your mobile phone number at the moment when you started reading this post - and you happened to have your phone off - or were busy on another call - then I could be listening to your voicemail messages (un-tracably by you), by the time you have read this far.
posted by rongorongo at 2:59 AM on July 7, 2011


Aaaaand there's the proof that Becky knew damn well what her journos were up to.
posted by rodgerd at 3:05 AM on July 7, 2011


> That Sun front page sure is...something. Judging by square inches, the whole issue is about
> as important for them as Emma Watson's bottom.

That would be true if the "whole issue" was a tactical nuke going off in a large provincial city. Sheffield, say.
posted by vbfg at 3:19 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Self-link: I wrote a fairly basic piece about the mechanics of phone hacking for The Telegraph.

I do think that the constant stream of stories about data loss, password protection, etc, will eventually change behaviour (it worked for me, at least). Maybe someone should do a good, open-source effort at a password manager.
posted by adrianhon at 3:22 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because KeePass, KeePassX, KeePassDroid and iKeePass are somehow not good?
posted by flabdablet at 4:11 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not like they're hard to find.
posted by flabdablet at 4:13 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


That little Hugh Grant vs. Paul McMullen video was absolutely amazing. Sleazebag got pounded. In case BBC does block access for some regions, here's the same bit on Youtube.

I've become an instant fan of Mr. Grant. This whole thing has a real Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart quality to it.
posted by Anything at 4:22 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Guardian has published a list of previous rebuttals by NoW about its criminal hacking activities. Particularly rich was this statement by Rupert in Feb 2007
"If you're talking about illegal tapping by a private investigator, that is not part of our culture anywhere in the world, least of all in Britain."
I think I will buy a tumbril.
posted by adamvasco at 4:24 AM on July 7, 2011


I don't want to go on the cart!
posted by flabdablet at 4:27 AM on July 7, 2011


"You should try real journalism, Paul, because you're not an idiot - you could probably do it!"

Blam, blam, blam.
posted by flabdablet at 4:32 AM on July 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Scotland Yard has warned Diana inquest lawyer Michael Mansfield QC that he may have been targeted by News of the World phone hackers, the barrister has told the Press Association
posted by pixie at 4:39 AM on July 7, 2011


There's a number of things here which are so absurd they defy belief:

- Rebecca Brooks is in charge of investigating herself
- The Met are in charge of investigating themselves
- Cameron is flat-out refusing to put the BSkyB deal on hold, but speculation that it will happen anyway is rife, driving down the price Murdoch will end up paying if it goes through
posted by Acey at 4:40 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


In fact, this article from yesterday seems to suggest that not only is the government refusing to put the deal on ice, but they legally cannot:
The News Corp/Sky bid was referred by his predecessor Vince Cable on the grounds of "media plurality". Once referred on that basis, there are no other grounds that can be considered; it is not open under law – Hunt's team says – to assess whether News Corp is an appropriate owner of Sky in the light of the hacking saga.

Not only that, but section 67(5) of the Enterprise Act 2002 no less, which reads: "No more than one European intervention notice shall be given under subsection (2) in relation to the same relevant merger situation", means that Hunt can't even go back and consider whether News Corp or the Murdochs are "fit and proper" owners of BSkyB.

posted by Acey at 4:57 AM on July 7, 2011


Holy shit, holy fucking shit. From rodgerd's last link:

Brooks was summoned to a meeting at Scotland Yard where she was told that one of her most senior journalists, Alex Marunchak, had apparently agreed to use photographers and vans leased to the paper to run surveillance on behalf of Jonathan Rees and Sid Fillery, two private investigators who were suspected of murdering their former partner, Daniel Morgan. The Yard saw this as a possible attempt to pervert the course of justice.

Brooks was also told of evidence that Marunchak had a corrupt relationship with Rees, who had been earning up to £150,000 a year selling confidential data to the News of the World. Police told her that a former employee of Rees had given them a statement alleging that some of these payments were diverted to Marunchak, who had been able to pay off his credit card and pay his child's private school fees.

A Guardian investigation suggests that surveillance of Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook involved the News of the World physically following him and his young children, "blagging" his personal details from police databases, attempting to access his voicemail and that of his wife, and possibly sending a "Trojan horse" email in an attempt to steal information from his computer.

[...]

Scotland Yard took no further action, apparently reflecting the desire of Fedorcio, who has had a close working relationship with Brooks, to avoid unnecessary friction with the News of the World.

[...]

Rees and Fillery were eventually arrested and charged in relation to the murder of Morgan. Charges against both men were later dropped, although Rees was convicted of plotting to plant cocaine on a woman so that her ex-husband would get custody of their children, and Fillery was convicted of possessing indecent images of children.


Cook is, of course, the senior policeman married to Crimewatch's Jacqui Hames, whose surveillance the NotW tried to explain saying that they thought he was her lover.

I'm starting to believe that a lot of people are going to end up in jail for very, very long periods over this.
posted by Skeptic at 5:04 AM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fingers crossed. Incidentally my employers have not responded to my query w/r/t pulling ads as yet. I'm extremely disappointed in them, and not for the first time. Anyone have any suggestions as to the best means to influence the decision?
posted by longbaugh at 5:10 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a number of things here which are so absurd they defy belief:

- Rebecca Brooks is in charge of investigating herself
- The Met are in charge of investigating themselves


I think Hazel Blears said pretty much the same thing in Parliament, which is a shock for her to be so cogent.
posted by Jehan at 5:11 AM on July 7, 2011


The police are also looking into at the Jim Sheridan perjury trial, where he claimed he had no knowledge of payments to the police, among other things.
posted by dng at 5:12 AM on July 7, 2011


That should have read "looking into Andy Coulson's testimony at the Jim Sheridan perjury trial..." but I appear to have messed it all up.
posted by dng at 5:14 AM on July 7, 2011


longbaugh: Anyone have any suggestions as to the best means to influence the decision?

How about forwarding them the list of advertisers who have pulled their ads already?
posted by Acey at 5:19 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, holy fucking shit. From rodgerd's last link:

Brooks was summoned to a meeting at Scotland Yard where she was told that one of her most senior journalists, Alex Marunchak, had apparently agreed to use photographers and vans leased to the paper to run surveillance on behalf of Jonathan Rees and Sid Fillery, two private investigators who were suspected of murdering their former partner, Daniel Morgan. The Yard saw this as a possible attempt to pervert the course of justice.


The "holy shit" moment should be reserved for two things about that case. The first that it happened in 1987, and secondly that the issue of police corruption has been a major concern in that case. When the phone hacking allegations spread properly to the Metropolitan Police, it might be as bad as the News of the World in terms of outrage. The officers with links to Coulson and Marunchak could open up a window on a whole lot more corruption people have always suspected to exist.
posted by Jehan at 5:20 AM on July 7, 2011


Craig Murray: - Above the Law
Why have the police not been into all of News International’s offices, particularly its HQ, and removed all the hard drives, rather than waiting for News International voluntarily to sort through their own emails and hand over what they choose?
The Met even raided Damian Green’s House of Commons office, but they treat News International precisely as though it were a foreign embassy with diplomatic immunity.
How can Lord Macdonald be acting as their lawyer now, when he was the Director of Public Prosecutions responsible for inaction on this some years past?
This scandal is fascinating because it has the potential to expose so many layers of the cosy corruption of the British establishment.
posted by adamvasco at 5:32 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


If there's a silver lining in all this, it's that there's a good chance News International will never wield the same power in Britain again. They have been so untouchable for so long, that they've become extremely complacent. Abusing the privacy of celebrities and politicians might be something the public care little about, but hacking victims of murders and terrorism and war are unforgivable, and impossible to get away with in the long run.

I can only hope that this story will now see the full light of day and that the truth comes out at last (because, in the words of Peter Oborne, it's a damn good story: "...royalty, police corruption, Downing Street complicity, celebrities..."). Right now I think NI are still in damage limitation mode, and they are only making it worse for themselves in the long run. Sooner or later they'll be forced to atone for their sins, which should be most enjoyable to watch.
posted by Acey at 5:35 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


How can Lord Macdonald be acting as their lawyer now, when he was the Director of Public Prosecutions responsible for inaction on this some years past?

This point was raised in the Commons' phone-hacking debate yesterday. I forget the name of the MP (Labour for somewhere in Wales), but I recall his words were met with shrieks of "Outrageous!" The offended MPs weren't outraged by the fact that Macdonald had done such a thing, but rather that it should be suggested improper. Well now.
posted by Jehan at 5:46 AM on July 7, 2011


The first that it happened in 1987, and secondly that the issue of police corruption has been a major concern in that case.

There appears to have been a great deal of internal infighting within Scotland Yard in any case, with some officers covering up illegal surveillance of other officers, and the guilty parties being finally convicted on what seem "let's finally find something to put these two bastards in jail for good" charges.
posted by Skeptic at 6:37 AM on July 7, 2011


Live Q&A with Alan Rusbridger, Guardian editor
posted by Acey at 6:48 AM on July 7, 2011


Rusbridger:

Before the election it was common knowledge in Fleet Street that an investigator used by the NoW during Andy Coulson's editorship was on remand for conspiracy to murder. We couldn't report that due to contempt of court restrictions, but I thought it right that Cameron should know before he took any decisions about taking Andy Coulson into Number 10. So I sent word via an intermediary close to Cameron. And I also told Clegg personally.
posted by Jehan at 6:52 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Channel 4 news will have a special report tonight "which reveals fresh new evidence of the scale of police corruption allegations facing the Metropolitan Police."
posted by ob at 6:54 AM on July 7, 2011


From ob's link:

Following this week's new allegations, the Metropolitan Police have told Channel 4 News that in 2003 officers met the former editor of the News of the World, Rebekah Brooks, over claims that a police officer was shadowed by journalists from the paper. The allegations - exclusively revealed by Channel 4 News on Tuesday - involve a surveillance operation during a crucial murder investigation which implicated private investigators who had alleged links to News International.

That's it. Brooks is toast.
posted by Skeptic at 7:03 AM on July 7, 2011


The Guardian may have some excellent journalists but some of their commenters are morons. The best/worst one I've just read is:

Dear Alan,
have you ever fantasized about a union with Rebekah Brooks nee Wade?

posted by pmcp at 7:08 AM on July 7, 2011


The Guardian comments seem to be like catnip for trolls pmcp, I wouldn't read to much into it.
posted by pharm at 7:13 AM on July 7, 2011


I've succumbed to that catnip myself far too many times myself to read anything into it.
posted by pmcp at 7:18 AM on July 7, 2011


Abusing the privacy of celebrities and politicians might be something the public care little about, but hacking victims of murders and terrorism and war are unforgivable, and impossible to get away with in the long run.

I'd love to believe you. I really would.

Here's how it will play out: a handful of small fry will get thrown under the wheels, there will be official hemming and hawing about a few bad apples and goodness isn't it lucky we caught them before they spoiled the barrel, the perpetrators will all get pay rises and/or promotions and within six months the News of the World will be selling better than ever and nobody will even be talking about this because look! oooh! shiny!

Rupert Murdoch is where he is today because he understands perfectly just how stupid and complacent the general public is, and has spent years and years and years polishing his weapons of mass distraction. Rupert basically runs the world. Get used to it.
posted by flabdablet at 7:48 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


While I agree flabdablet, I think there is a real possibility with this that there will be reform of how the PCC operate and the mode of self-regulation might change somewhat. I don't think it will stop Murdoch being Dark Emperor of Earth, but it might force the tabloids in the UK into behaving with slightly more dignity (or they may just start making shit up again...)

Anything that shifts the standards of journalism even slightly upwards has to be a good thing.
posted by pmcp at 7:56 AM on July 7, 2011


Clegg and the Lib Dems could definitely block the BSkyB deal, although it would likely bring down the government; it seems pretty obvious what is important to them.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:02 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sure we're all reading the Grauniad's live feed, but just in case here it is. The 3:50pm post about the NOTW showbiz editor and the 4:08 post about Tesco on FB are particularly amusing. In both cases they look bad, but it would seem that Tesco has committed PR suicide.
posted by ob at 8:25 AM on July 7, 2011


Hacking scandal prompts Tommy Sheridan perjury case probe.
Mr Coulson, then Downing Street director of communications, told the trial last December that he had no knowledge of illegal activities by reporters while he was editor of the newspaper.
I so hope these nasty, venial, immoral people do time.
posted by adamvasco at 8:27 AM on July 7, 2011


pcmp: I think you might have got your tabloids confused with your journalism again.

Tabloid newspapers have contained nothing approaching journalism for a very long time. Their main purpose is to display advertising, and their editorial content is devoted to the suppression of any tendency among those who elect our glorious leaders to dabble in critical thinking or to question the status quo. Tabloids promote tribalism, recreational outrage, competitive consumerism and spectator sport. The only way tabloid newspapers could do anything to lift the standards of journalism is by ceasing to exist.

By and large, people don't enjoy thinking. Most people would much rather simply be put in touch with what their peers are presumed to be thinking already, so that they may choose an appropriate set of pre-canned prejudices to wear as tribal markers. People want certainty, and tabloids exist in order to help them maintain the illusion that they have it.

Tabloids don't reflect public opinion. They reflect each other and shape public opinion. Most people in high places understand this almost as well as Rupert and his acolytes.

The idea that anything you read in a tabloid could reasonably be construed as news reporting was on its last legs when Murdoch moved to Wapping. It's stone dead now.

Beautiful plumage, innit?
posted by flabdablet at 8:29 AM on July 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


From the guardian

4.26pm: News of the World will not be running any advertising this Sunday.
posted by pixie at 8:29 AM on July 7, 2011


Now watch them promote that as if they're doing it as a favour to their readers.

And watch their readers buy the rag in record numbers as a result.

People are stupid and easily led.
posted by flabdablet at 8:31 AM on July 7, 2011


I completely agree, I was using journalism in a slightly looser sense just to mean 'writing in papers'. As such imagine I didn't write this:

Anything that shifts the standards of journalism even slightly upwards has to be a good thing.

But this:

Anything that shifts the conduct of bastards even slightly towards something that resembles ethics has to be a good thing.
posted by pmcp at 8:37 AM on July 7, 2011


Forgive me, but:

People NotW readers are stupid and easily led.
posted by Acey at 8:37 AM on July 7, 2011


I am impressed by your tribal marker, and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by flabdablet at 8:38 AM on July 7, 2011


Can anybody inform us how long it takes for readership figures to be released? I assume that News of the World already knows what this scandal is doing to their numbers, but when will we find out?
posted by Jehan at 8:45 AM on July 7, 2011


The Guardian saying that Sunday will be the last issue of News Of The World.
posted by veedubya at 8:45 AM on July 7, 2011


There will be people buying the "historically advertising-free" issue of NotW this Sunday who have never bought NotW before. You watch. Novelty trumps decency, every single time.
posted by flabdablet at 8:45 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Guardian is just having a wet dream. They will wake up next week with crusty stains on their broad sheets, which they will mistake for egg on their faces.
posted by flabdablet at 8:48 AM on July 7, 2011


NotW axed!
posted by Acey at 8:48 AM on July 7, 2011


Guardian: 4.38pm: James Murdoch is saying this Sunday's News of the World will be the final issue.

So the advertising thing is moot now.
posted by ob at 8:48 AM on July 7, 2011


The NotW is dead. Long live the Sunday Sun (hopefully not).
posted by Skeptic at 8:53 AM on July 7, 2011


Wasn't Murdoch planning to fold the NotW into the Sun for some time now? Isn't the announcement of the shutting down of this brand just a hastening of this plan? Chances are, the Sun will pick up those market niches the NotW served well, without the pesky advertising boycott, and it'll be business as usual.
posted by acb at 8:55 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Very canny.

Murdoch is winning.
posted by run"monty at 8:57 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


News of the World closure: News International's full statement
posted by homunculus at 8:58 AM on July 7, 2011


No, not business as usual. The Screws was UK's biggest selling newspaper.
posted by hawthorne at 8:59 AM on July 7, 2011


And of course it was the only one involved in any of that dreadful phone hacking.
posted by flabdablet at 9:02 AM on July 7, 2011


No, not business as usual. The Screws was UK's biggest selling newspaper.

...and so may be the Weekend Sun. Big launch for the start of the Premier League?
posted by run"monty at 9:02 AM on July 7, 2011


Full statement from James Murdoch
Drastic damage control. They are hoping the public hullabaloo will now evaporate so that the BSkyB deal can continue.
These guys move fast when they have to.
posted by adamvasco at 9:02 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


That statement by James Murdoch actually seemed very human and decent. I wonder who wrote it him.
posted by veedubya at 9:04 AM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


No, not business as usual. The Screws was UK's biggest selling newspaper.

A position which will undoubtedly be taken over by a new, expanded Sunday edition of The Sun, featuring many NotW favourites.

They throw a brand name under the bus and then come back with a new, less sullied one, with every expectation of maintaining their grip on power. And, unless pressure is applied for a full judicial inquiry into News Corp. and a review of the BSkyB merger, their expectations are reasonable.

For what it's worth, the thing to do now if you're in the UK is to email your MP and get them to keep the pressure on. The Murdocracy that has been in place since Thatcher and Murdoch signed the Wapping Pact might just crumble.
posted by acb at 9:04 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


So Rebekah Brooks keeps her job, at the expense of the entire staff of The News of the World? Wow. I really hope this doesn't relieve the pressure.
posted by Leon at 9:05 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


It won't be the entire staff. All the executives will get redeployed.

Generally the wheels are only big enough to run over little people.
posted by flabdablet at 9:07 AM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I doubt they'll lose their jobs. If they did, there's suddenly lots of people with a grudge, insider knowledge and who know how to sensationalize a story let loose. Not the time for NI to be creating such a situation I wouldn't have thought.

Maybe there will be plenty inclined that way anyway. It's an old, famous paper. It might also be a scurrilous rag but if you're in the tabloid trade then it's the one you probably want to work for, and if you have been there a while you're likely very attached to it.

Here's hoping...
posted by vbfg at 10:06 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's hoping...

My thoughts exactly.
posted by ob at 10:11 AM on July 7, 2011


NOTW down. Now how do we get the Mail killed off?
posted by couch at 10:16 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The SunOnSunday.co.uk and SunOnSunday.com domains were registered 2 days ago. Although they'll lose readership there'll also be big cost savings from rolling the NOTW into the Sun, and the Sun has it's own unpleasant track record.

"NOTW down. Now how do we get the Mail killed off?"

The way to kill off the Mail is to get a proper newspaper regulator, rather than the public relations front which is the PCC. The Mail would be utterly neutered if it had a legal obligation not to lie. The campaign can go two ways now- either going after news corp and Murdoch to try to prevent the BSkyB deal, or going after the gutter press in Britain. As much as I dislike Murdoch, the second aim is by far the most important.
posted by Marlinspike at 10:51 AM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Just to fill out what I was saying, British TV news is regulated by Ofcom, who have a strict broadcasting code which includes obligations for impartiality and accuracy. In contrast the Press Complaints Commission has been described as "structurally corrupt" because it is run and funded by the newspaper industry, and has no powers. It is essentially a voluntary regulator.

The 'structurally corrupt' quote comes from Nick Davies, the Guardian journalist who has been in large part responsible for uncovering this story through years of careful investigative journalism. If anyone's interested in reading the background to this story he published a book a couple of years ago about the state of the news media, called 'Flat Earth News'.
posted by Marlinspike at 11:18 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


New and improved, undeleted thread
posted by 8dot3 at 11:20 AM on July 7, 2011


Mr Coulson, then Downing Street director of communications, told the trial last December that he had no knowledge of illegal activities by reporters while he was editor of the newspaper.
I so hope these nasty, venial, immoral people do time.


This is why Cameron is so adamant there be no judge-led inquiry. He knows that the only way for his friends and their mutual employers - the murdochs - to avoid serious trouble is to lie; in front of a judge that's prison time anyway.

He will never, never, never put Brookes in front of a judge.
posted by rodgerd at 11:46 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


According to the extensive legal training I received from the BBC news channel this afternoon, an inquiry would have the ability to take evidence under oath - and impose criminal sanctions for contempt or perjury - regardless of who chairs it. One would hope that a judge might take these things more seriously, but then one would hope that the Met would take crime more seriously.
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 11:55 AM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Speaking of the Met. Brooks testified to a parliamentary inquiry what, 7 or 8 years ago? that the NotW had paid off police officers. And suddenly now we are 'close to arrests'? The whole situation is just unbelievable.
posted by Pre-Taped Call In Show at 12:00 PM on July 7, 2011


"Brooks testified to a parliamentary inquiry what, 7 or 8 years ago? that the NotW had paid off police officers. And suddenly now we are 'close to arrests'? The whole situation is just unbelievable."

They had the former head of anti-corruption at the Met on C4 News earlier. He said he'd been warned by colleagues that if he tried and failed to prosecute a journalist for paying off police, other journalists would go after him and the Met at large.
posted by Marlinspike at 12:12 PM on July 7, 2011


The SunOnSunday.co.uk and SunOnSunday.com domains were registered 2 days ago.

I suspect that this is opportunistic domain squatting by private individuals looking to make a fast buck rather than an official registration by News Corp. Domain names are so cheap fthat if they would have bought this a long time ago and just held it if they even though they had a 10% possibility of using the name in future.
that's my feeling but the whois server is blocking me from seeing the full details so I can't confirm with that...
posted by Bwithh at 1:54 PM on July 7, 2011


And if you're interested in this and haven't read it, then you really should read Flat earth news by Nick Davies, the freelance hack responsible for uncovering all the hacking allegations in the guardian, all about the press and their dubious techniques (and lots, lots more).
posted by ciderwoman at 2:18 PM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Marlinspike wrote: the Press Complaints Commission has been described as "structurally corrupt" because it is run and funded by the newspaper industry, and has no powers. It is essentially a voluntary regulator.

The NotW frankly declared that its investigators hacked people's phones and it was an open secret that they regularly bribed police officers. They would undoubtedly have seduced any regulator worth bothering about. You don't need a more censorious press commission: you need a thorough clean-out of the corrupted police; a dissolution of Murdoch's press empire; and perhaps a Royal Commission into the hold that NotW (and perhaps NewsCorp) staff appear to have had over certain politicians.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:39 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


News of the world to close
posted by delmoi at 2:12 AM on July 8, 2011


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