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More phone hacking revelations
August 16, 2011 4:58 AM   Subscribe

"Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and their former editor Andy Coulson all face embarrassing new allegations of dishonesty and cover-up after the publication of an explosive letter written by the News of the World's disgraced royal correspondent, Clive Goodman. In the letter, which was written four years ago but published only on Tuesday, Goodman claims that phone hacking was "widely discussed" at editorial meetings at the paper until Coulson himself banned further references to it; that Coulson offered to let him keep his job if he agreed not to implicate the paper in hacking when he came to court; and that his own hacking was carried out with "the full knowledge and support" of other senior journalists, whom he named." (Most recent previously.)
posted by Len (77 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Two versions of Goodman's letter were provided to the [Culture Media and Sport Select] committee. One which was supplied by Harbottle and Lewis has been redacted to remove the names of journalists, at the request of police. The other, which was supplied by News International, has been redacted to remove not only the names but also all references to hacking being discussed in Coulson's editorial meetings and to Coulson's offer to keep Goodman on staff if he agreed not to implicate the paper." [emphasis mine]
posted by Len at 5:06 AM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


Len, that passage leapt out at me as well. Considering how little these people care about the truth when there are actual, potentially criminal consequences for lying it's no wonder that the media outlets they run have turned into the cesspits of dishonesty that they are. Almost makes me feel ashamed for sharing a home town with Rupert.

Also, every time I read the Guardian I feel a little bit sad that there's nothing like it in my country, even if they can't quite spell "correspondent".
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:14 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has the actual letter been published? I saw Tom Watson's tweet that the documents (i'm assuming the letter?) would be published on the DCMS website, but don't see anything on the Media page.
posted by ukdanae at 5:16 AM on August 16, 2011


This story is the gift that keeps on giving.
posted by daveje at 5:18 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ah ha, nevermind -- The Guardian has just published the letter.
posted by ukdanae at 5:19 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd've thought that embarrassment would be a feeling reserved for beings with some sense of shame, but I'm quite willing to be corrected.
posted by pompomtom at 5:21 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


ukdanae: according to Watson the committee meeting is running late, but I'm sure we'll get the rest of the documents soon enough ...
posted by Len at 5:22 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good. I thought it was about time, we settled in PhoneHacking II: The Sequel. Also, it'll give Dave something to keep his mind off the riots and the economy.
posted by rhymer at 5:22 AM on August 16, 2011


Related - the bloke who slapped a pie in Murdoch's face is now blogging from Wandsworth prison.
posted by ComfySofa at 5:27 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also interesting that – as referenced in the new Guardian article – that Harbottle & Lewis, News International's own fucking lawyers are basically coming out and calling various NI execs a bunch of lying bastards.
posted by Len at 5:29 AM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


News is what a chap who doesn't care much about anything wants to read.

Evelyn Waugh
posted by larry_darrell at 5:35 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Strangely enough, Sky news reporters are breaking this story well on Twitter. Sophy Ridge's tweets about another letter are damning:

Evidence also has a v significant letter from Tom Crone, NotW's lawyer, where he claims he informed James Murdoch of the "For Neville" email

posted by ukdanae at 5:44 AM on August 16, 2011


I have not been following thist story at all, so can someone tell me when Fox News will go off the air?
posted by DU at 5:50 AM on August 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


The last time I appeared in front of a Commons Select Committee, I grew a goatee and they loved it. All their chat was "wow, what a great goatee", "this is terrific facial hair" etc etc.

That's my advice to James Murdoch now.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 5:55 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Perhaps the relative non-conformity-with-the-NI-line of some of Sky's journalists means that not only are they not wholly owned by NI, but they really don't want to be either. I wonder whether it's not like Drop the Dead Donkey in there.
posted by Grangousier at 5:59 AM on August 16, 2011


"My conviction and imprisonment cannot be the real reason for my dismissal."

This made me laugh.
posted by three blind mice at 6:00 AM on August 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Grangousier: Perhaps the relative non-conformity-with-the-NI-line of some of Sky's journalists means that not only are they not wholly owned by NI, but they really don't want to be either. I wonder whether it's not like Drop the Dead Donkey in there.

Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking. I mean, if your parent company's already been told that they're going to have to sell you off in order to get what they want, AND your parent company's other divisions have been engaged in boatloads of obviously, horrendously illegal and immoral behaviour, you might start to thinking that the sooner you're out from under them, the better. And how best to hurry that along? By making as big a stink as possible.

Also, I can imagine some raging Henry storming around the newsroom calling Murdoch a total cunt, whilst Sally Kay Burley has a fit of the vapours over her dog's botched eyebrow-trimming, and a producer sighs wearily for the thousandth time about the fact that his foreign correspondent has disappeared to the bookies to get odds on Coulson going to jail.
posted by Len at 6:09 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who knew it would be so fun to watch rats abandoning a sinking ship??? (I did.)
posted by spicynuts at 6:13 AM on August 16, 2011


From the letter I sent to Rupert Murdoch:
When you have convicted felon Conrad Black calling you an unethical piece of shit (I paraphrase), pornographer Larry Flynt questioning your morality, and your wife has been reduced to defending you against shaving cream pies thrown by comedian Jonnie Marbles, then you know you've been caught with your dick in a poodle.
It was cathartic to send and I highly encourage everyone to send their own:

Rupert Murdoch
News Corporation
1211 Avenue of Americas
New York, New York 10036
posted by cjorgensen at 6:24 AM on August 16, 2011 [21 favorites]


But why a poodle specifically? A chihuahua, for example, has that added hint of lolpeen derision.
posted by elizardbits at 6:43 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Whats the point of releasing the letter with that kind of redaction? It's just going to get subpoenaed isn't it?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:43 AM on August 16, 2011


From the blog of Sophy Ridge (Sky News political correspondent):
Much of the evidence revolves around what is known as the "For Neville" email. It's important because it appears to implicate someone at the paper other than Clive Goodman and the investigator Glenn Mulcaire. In other words, it potentially undermines News International's defence that hacking was the work of one "rogue reporter."

The crucial question is, who knew about this email - and when?

James Murdoch told MPs on the Culture Media and Sport Committee that he was not shown the email by former News of the World editor Colin Myler and former News of the World lawyer Tom Crone.

He backs this up in written evidence published today: "I have no recollection of any mention of "Thurlbeck" or a "For Neville" email". Mr Murdoch continues: "Neither Mr Myler nor Mr Crone told me that wrongdoing extended beyond Mr Goodman or Mr Mulcaire."

Tom Crone has a very different recollection. He's unequivocal in his written evidence: "I believe the meeting at which I informed Mr James Murdoch of the “for Neville” email was in June 2008", continuing, "I have no doubt that I informed Mr Murdoch of its existence, of what it was and where it came from".

They can't both be right.
posted by Len at 6:49 AM on August 16, 2011


What was the point of Nixon erasing 15 minutes of Watergate tapes?

Worms always try to squirm off the hook.
posted by warbaby at 6:49 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I notice this post has a "davidcameron" tag. You feeling lucky?
posted by Jehan at 6:54 AM on August 16, 2011


Re: redaction, from Guardian: "The names of the journalists have been redacted from the published letter at the request of Scotland Yard, who are investigating the affair."
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 7:01 AM on August 16, 2011


(My goodness, I'd never thought about the Sally Smedley / Kay Burley thing before. I wonder if she has a thing about truck drivers...)
posted by Grangousier at 7:04 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


But why a poodle specifically?

Because "dick-in-a-poodle" has a quite delicious meter. Try them both together. You will find the poodle rolls off the tongue much more nicely...so to speak.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:11 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


A dachshund would have alliteration - and is lower than a poodle (belly wise).
posted by Bitter soylent at 7:21 AM on August 16, 2011


If any story could be characterised as "drip, drip, drip" it would be this one, except that what's dripping now isn't water, it's highly corrosive acid. I'm enjoying my schadenfreude and feel no shame in doing so.
posted by ob at 7:23 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


But dachshunds have dignity. Poodles are just cheap trash.
posted by Rat Spatula at 7:26 AM on August 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


That's not fair. No dog has any control over its haircut. I mean, I usually can't get the haircut I want, and I'm technically human.
posted by Grangousier at 7:27 AM on August 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Remember that this is the guy whose dad out-thugged Kerry Packer and then blogged about it:

Packer was often the centre of controversy. One of the earliest incidents occurred in 1962, when his father was trying to take over the Anglican Press, a small publisher run by Francis James. According to author Richard Neville, Frank Packer was angered by James' refusal to sell the Anglican Press, so he sent Kerry and some burly friends to pressure him into selling. They forced their way in and reportedly began vandalising the premises, but James was able to barricade himself in his office and call his friend Rupert Murdoch, Packer's most powerful rival. Murdoch quickly dispatched his own team of 'heavies', who threw Kerry and friends out. Not surprisingly, the Murdoch press had a field day with the news that the son of Australia's biggest media tycoon had been caught brawling in the street.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:37 AM on August 16, 2011


Jehan: I notice this post has a "davidcameron" tag. You feeling lucky?

Well, I mostly put it in because he's mentioned, prominently, in the Guardian piece. But yes, hoping, if not feeling, lucky. I think, ultimately, it doesn't matter whether Coulson lied to Cameron (or not) about the hacking thing. The fact is that anyone – from the lowliest hack, or random punter on the street all the way up – should have twigged that none of the hacking would ever have been countenanced without the involvement/permission of the editor. And given that Cameron has known Coulson, Wade/Brooks, the Murdochs etc. for more than a decade in some cases, and they're all part of a very close set, there's no way he couldn't have known.

Tie that in with all the stuff about Coulson's lack of high security clearance, Cameron's insistence that Coulson – though not those jailed for 6 months for stealing a bottle of water from Lidl during the riots – "deserved a second chance", and the ongoing questions about police bribery at NI, and whatever the fuck else has still not come out, and Cameron's judgement looks fucking appalling. It puts the whole of his stewardship of the party/the govt/the country on a very shoogly peg. As I mentioned in the last thread, it's come to a pretty pass when Norman Tebbit(!), of all people, is writing editorials in the Guardian criticising a sitting Tory PM. And that was before today's evidence came out.
posted by Len at 7:41 AM on August 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: a very shoogly peg
posted by spicynuts at 7:56 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's stories like this that make me wish there was a Hell.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:32 AM on August 16, 2011


But dachshunds have dignity. Poodles are just cheap trash.

Sorry about contributing to this derail, but poodles are among the smartest dogs.
posted by Jpfed at 8:37 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's stories like these that light me on fire. If CEOs are going to be compensated with astounding packages I don't see why they shouldn't be held accountable to the same degree.

Either people knew this was going on so they are complicit, or they were ignorant so are incompetent. One is criminal the second should see them having to compensate share holders for their utter ineffectiveness.

When people were calling for Brooks to to resign I was saying she belonged in jail.

My dream is if it can be proven James was guilty that he go to jail for the rest of his father's lifetime. I think that is some small amount of justice.

Regardless I think the Murdoch legacy is horribly tainted.

I also wrote some of the largest News Corp. stock holders and asked them to send me a few shares because I was out of toilet paper.

This whole thing makes me ill.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:14 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry about contributing to this derail, but poodles are among the smartest dogs.

It's not hard to be smartest in a pool that limited.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:16 AM on August 16, 2011


Heh. They just keep coming today.

Metafilter: It's not hard to be smartest in a pool that limited.
posted by jaduncan at 9:17 AM on August 16, 2011


Metafilter: It's not smart to be hardest in a poodle that limited.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:20 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Labour's Tom Watson, the select committee MP who has pursued the phone-hacking scandal most vigorously described the revelations as "devastating" for News International which for four years maintained phone-hacking was the work of 'one rogue reporter'. He says he now takes what News International tells him with "a pinch of salt".
O rly?
posted by BungaDunga at 10:52 AM on August 16, 2011


Downing Street has released a statement:

'It would be inappropriate for us to comment - there is an ongoing police investigation'

Ah. That would be why there has been no government comment on the rioting, and follow-up investigations and sentencing policy then. I had wondered.

And on the main issue, wonderful. I had hoped there would be more to come. It's a bit like seeing an enormous Acme Co. anvil dropping from blue skies right on the head of someone you hate. Repeatedly.

At Tommy Sheridan's trial for perjury, Coulson told the court: "I don't accept there was a culture of phone hacking at the News of the World. All I can tell you is that, as far as my reporters are concerned, the instructions were very clear: they were to work within the law and within the PCC code. It's in their handbooks."

Pack your toothbrush and cancel the milk, Andy.
posted by reynir at 10:59 AM on August 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


I was expecting more things like this coming sooner, so I'm a bit shocked it took this long. With the amount of people involved, and the amount of face-saving and back-stabbing that could potentially occur, I'm disappointed there hasn't been more.
A number of the ranks have been closed in, but here's to hoping the defense tatters and the full truth comes to light.
posted by Theta States at 11:26 AM on August 16, 2011


I find it very hard to believe that Murdoch had anything but the best intentions for his paper, his employees and the people of Britain. I find it equally hard to believe that journalists are especially devious or dishonest. Also, my brain just fell out of my left ear.

Shit... you know, that Lady Gaga stuff is pretty good when you really listen to it.
posted by Decani at 12:04 PM on August 16, 2011


I wish they would stop calling this hacking. It isn't like someone at the news desk figured out a weakness in the security design of the phone system. They simply got the pass code and illicitly accessed the voice mail. It was definitely an ethical failure but hacking it was not*.

*says yoda
posted by dgran at 12:15 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


They simply got the pass code and illicitly accessed the voice mail. It was definitely an ethical failure but hacking it was not*.

Social Engineering is a tried and true tool of hacking culture, though...
posted by Theta States at 12:32 PM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, if corporations are people, when does News Ltd do a stretch inside?
posted by rodgerd at 12:48 PM on August 16, 2011


The MURDOCH PHONE HACKING THREAD IS BACK squeeee!!!

News is what a chap who doesn't care much about anything wants to read.

Fox News is what a chap who cares about the worst things constantly watches.

My dream is if it can be proven James was guilty that he go to jail for the rest of his father's lifetime. I think that is some small amount of justice.

Oh, dare to dream. Why just that long?

Regardless I think the Murdoch legacy is horribly tainted.

Murdoch's legacy will not be kind to him regardless of the scandal; the only people who really like Murdoch generally are the people already reading and watching his stuff. He's the second coming of William Randolph Hearst, and more than deserving of his own Citizen Kane.
posted by JHarris at 1:00 PM on August 16, 2011


If there was even a modicum of justice I would deny the father any contact (written, physical, or by phone) with the son. It just appeals to me that the heir go to jail and have no contact with the father. I just like poetic justice. The parents of Milly Dowler will never get to see their child again. I'd love for this to be true of Rupert as well.

I also like the idea of the son knowing he'll stay in jail for at least as long as his father lives. Let the son yearn for his father's death. Let Rupert know James will be in jail for at least as long as he lives. Give the man nothing to live for.

I'm all for denying them both a legacy.

I recognize I have an irrational hate-on for these two, but I they disgust me.

And there's nothing keeping James from staying in jail longer. I just think he needs to be there at least that long.

Hell, if it can be proven the father knew of these crimes I'm all for throwing him in jail as well. I just don't see that happening.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:18 PM on August 16, 2011


Alas, James is not the last of the line.
posted by Scram at 1:31 PM on August 16, 2011


But why a poodle specifically?

Because "dick-in-a-poodle" has a quite delicious meter. Try them both together. You will find the poodle rolls off the tongue much more nicely...so to speak.


In that case, how about a pug? You could sing "dick-in-a-pug" to the tune of Dick in a Box.
posted by homunculus at 1:33 PM on August 16, 2011


I think a hatefest is not helpful. The moral and legal failings of Rupert Murdoch, his family and businesses are clearer every day. It is sure enough that the time will come when they are censured and punished, and indeed many have already entered that process. Fantasies about the personal harm that should be inflicted upon them are irrelevant. Our concern should be with the political harm that they and their associates will experience and the consequent loss of influence. This is where they affect our lives, and how this scandal really touches the public interest.
posted by Jehan at 1:33 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Helpful? No.

Kinda fun, though.
posted by ryanrs at 1:58 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Personal harm? I just want them to go to jail. Beyond that I don't much rightly care.

Alas, James is not the last of the line.

He is groomed as the successor though.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:34 PM on August 16, 2011


I'm enjoying this letter from Harbottle & Lewis, NOTW solicitors, to the Parliament Home Affairs committee.
posted by mgrrl at 2:48 PM on August 16, 2011




Alas, James is not the last of the line.

He is groomed as the successor though.


Is it to be Lachlan's turn again?

The Murdoch inheritance moves from one to another like a game of pass the parcel.
posted by Grangousier at 3:11 PM on August 16, 2011


Personal harm? I just want them to go to jail. Beyond that I don't much rightly care.

Your previous post suggests you are in favor of not just imprisoning James Murdoch, but inflicting unusual and unnecessary punishment on him. It is important we know what we want, and understand that hatred of the Murdochs comes from their effect on public life. It should not become a thing in itself.
posted by Jehan at 3:46 PM on August 16, 2011


Oh man, so busted. Murdochs scooped!
posted by Hoopo at 4:04 PM on August 16, 2011


Your previous post suggests you are in favor of not just imprisoning James Murdoch, but inflicting unusual and unnecessary punishment on him.

If the evidence shows that James knew of the phone hacking, condoned it, and worked to cover it up he belongs in jail for a very long time. I said if it can be proven.

I don't think jail for this is that unnecessary or that unusual.

The only unusual aspect of my dream of punishment would be to deny him access to his father.

I doubt he'll ever be held accountable for any of this. He'll get another company and a bigger salary and he'll keep on keeping on.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:25 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the story that keeps on giving.

Supposedly Fox News Web site filters out or disallows any comments containing the word "Murdoch" - haven't tested that myself.
posted by Rumple at 5:25 PM on August 16, 2011


Jehan: "Your previous post suggests you are in favor of not just imprisoning James Murdoch, but inflicting unusual and unnecessary punishment on him. It is important we know what we want, and understand that hatred of the Murdochs comes from their effect on public life. It should not become a thing in itself."

I struggle to conceive of a punishment short of death that qualifies as "unnecessary" for someone so complicit in the degradation of the political culture of (at least) two nations. To see them deny to the last while their lackeys fall on their swords makes feeling that way that much easier.
posted by mkultra at 7:17 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Phone hacking: all in this together; Clive Goodman's explosive letter poses fundamental questions for the whole phone-hacking controversy. Guardian editorial.
Rebekah Brooks still on News International payroll complete with chauffeur.
posted by adamvasco at 12:51 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]




Phone-hacking demonstrates their commitments to the shareholder.
posted by Theta States at 5:46 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]




PLEA BARGIN! PLEA BARGIN! PLEA BARGIN!
posted by Theta States at 5:54 AM on August 18, 2011












Finally!
Add in some smuggled pandas and we've got the perfect caper movie.
posted by Theta States at 10:43 AM on September 12, 2011


A report and The interview podcast.
posted by adamvasco at 2:11 PM on September 12, 2011


whoops via
posted by adamvasco at 2:12 PM on September 12, 2011






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