Hold the Presses!

From Channel 4 News:

Conspicuous for her shock of curly red hair, it has never been easy for Rebekah Brooks to elude the limelight.

The 43-year-old became the youngest person to edit a national newspaper when she took over in 2000 at the helm of the News of the World – the newspaper where she had begun her journalistic career 11 years earlier.

[I]n November 2005, […] Brooks […] had been arrested after an alleged assault on her husband.

In the meantime she had been promoted by News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch, who owns the News International stable, to editorship of The Sun, Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper.

Original movie poster

In 2009 Murdoch promoted her again, to become News International’s chief executive.

…snip…

But for all the high profile that Ms Brooks has enjoyed, she appears never to have courted publicity […]

…snip…

[T]he best known among Brooks’s rare public pronouncements is one that continues to haunt her. Called in March 2003 to give evidence to a [House of] Commons committee investigating covert investigative methods, she told [Members of Parliament] that journalists were entitled to use bugging if there was a strong public interest in the story. At one point Brooks, who was present alongside Andy Coulson, then her deputy at The Sun, admitted that: “We have paid the police for information in the past” – whereupon a mortified Coulson interjected: “We have always operated within the code of the law.”

Fast forward eight years. This week’s unravelling crisis at News International, when it emerged the News of the World had hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, has thrown up the revelation that NOTW made payments to senior police officers between 2003 and 2007, while Andy Coulson was the paper’s editor.

Until now, Andy Coulson has taken more flak for whatever happened at News International than his erstwhile colleague. […] [I]n January 2011 he resigned as Prime Minister David Cameron’s head of communications.

But since the start of this year the spotlight has turned towards Rebekah Brooks. On 24 January the Independent newspaper published an article alleging that David Cameron and James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and the chairman of News Corporation in Europe and Asia, had attended a dinner in Oxfordshire given by Ms Brooks.

The dinner is reported to have taken place days after Business Secretary Vince Cable was stripped of his responsibility for media policy – which had included ruling on News Corporation’s proposed bid for control of BSkyB.

…snip…

James Murdoch is heir apparent to the business empire of his father, Rupert Murdoch. And Murdoch Senior is unarguably the most important business connection in Rebekah Brooks’s life.

…snip…

On Tuesday, as News International teetered under the weight of yet more developments in the phone hacking scandal, Rebekah Brooks emailed NI employees to say she was “sickened” by the Milly Dowler claims, asserting it was “inconceivable that I knew or worse, sanctioned these appalling allegations”.

Then, on Wednesday, a statement by Rupert Murdoch appeared to restate his support for his protegee: “I have made clear that our company must fully and proactively cooperate with the police in all investigations.”

The statement continues: “That is exactly what News International has been doing and will continue to do under Rebekah Brooks’ leadership.”

So Rebekah Brooks is safe for now. But she has spent most of her working life as a Murdoch employee, and any future outside the Murdoch embrace might present a chilling prospect. As one profile put it recently: “For Brooks, there is no visible life after Murdoch.”

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Facing a tide of outrage over rampant phone-hacking, Rupert Murdoch jettisoned the notorious News of the World tabloid in an effort to protect his media empire, but the dramatic step may prove insufficient to contain the growing scandal or secure his bid to expand an already-huge presence in Britain.

…snip…

Murdoch is struggling to ensure that toxic fallout does not infect other parts of News Corp., a media giant with holdings from Asia to the United States, including the Wall Street Journal and Fox News.

Most important in Britain, Murdoch is eager to shore up his bid for BSkyB, the nation’s biggest satellite broadcaster. The surprise announcement Thursday that the News of the World would cease publication after Sunday, despite enviable circulation figures and a 168-year pedigree, is clearly meant to limit any damage to his controversial takeover bid, which is under consideration by the government.

…snip…

But critics dismissed it as a cynical maneuver that would cost 200 rank-and-file employees their jobs, while doing little damage to the company’s bottom line and protecting senior executives such as his son, James, and Rebekah Brooks, who is very close to the Murdoch family.

It also may not be enough to quell the public anger.

Daily revelations of new potential hacking targets, including the relatives of murder and military combat victims, have fed a rising tide of popular outrage against Murdoch and News International, the British subsidiary of News Corp. Politicians who once might have feared angering the Australian-born media baron are now denouncing him loudly in Parliament.

Police also are pressing ahead with one of the biggest investigations they have going at the moment, with reports that Andy Coulson – a former editor of the News of the World who later became a top aide to Prime Minister David Cameron – is about to be arrested today.

31 Comments

Filed under Fox News, Great Britain, Journalism, Media, News Corp, Rupert Murdoch, Scandals, snark, Wiretaps

31 responses to “Hold the Presses!

  1. And you’d think Fox News would be Murdoch’s underbelly. I guess everything he has a hand in is just creepy-crawlie, low-life kind of endeavors.

    • it may sound mean (and i don’t care), but i’m so glad this happened when uncle rupie is in his declining years. when he goes to meet his maker, i hope he realized that his legacy is one of evil, and nobody has any respect for him. of course, i’m talking about a man so delusional, he probably thinks his wife married him for love.

    • “I guess everything he has a hand in is just creepy-crawlie, low-life kind of endeavors.”

      At least MySpace was like that before he bought it.

      So, how long before he ruins the Wall Street Journal?

  2. jean-philippe

    This is the window of opportunity a lot of people waited to challenge the evil empire of Murdoch… Worst case scenario, he’ll play chess with Conrad Black in jail…

  3. johncerickson

    Murdoch got his hands on the Chicago Sun-Times decades ago, and turned it into one tiny step above our supermarket tabloids from the respectable challenger to the venerable Chicago Tribune. (It may have gotten better in the 10 years I’ve been in exile, but the website doesn’t support that.)
    And everybody over in the UK seems to expect the Monday-Saturday Sun to move into the Sunday slot of the NotW. The website was registered anonymously, several days ago, right after the story started to break. Interestink, veddy interestink!
    Will this negatively impact Fox News? We can only hope……

    • i read a lot of stories about this, and it appears that everything being done by uncle rupie’s people are being done to cover asses, not to get to the truth of what happened. i’d say that alone is evidence of guilty consciences.

  4. Safe to say the Shit has hit the fan!

    A crack in Murdoch’s Media Empire Castle.

  5. A comment last year in The Guardian sized him up pretty well. On the subject of what he gets in any given country he sells his rags in: “Rupert is like a parasite growth that attaches himself to an organism (country. political party) and sustains his relationship to the point where it cause the demise of the host, and he just moves on looking for his next victim”. All this hacking and tapping are going to raise some eyebrows with his Chicom buddies. And 200 unemployed reporters are going to get even with the bastard. NewsCorp is down 7% this week. This is going to cost him big time! I forsee the cable and broadcast stations freeing themselves from his evil lying hands. What a day it will be when FNC announces the firing of 90% of on air staff and makes a pronouncement that manipulated party news is a thing of the past. And for Roger Ailes, the revolver is on the nightstand.

    • Oh, Tex. I like that ! :)

    • lovely scenario, but i don’t think it will happen. some heads will roll, but uncle rupie will come out of this just as powerful as before. the higher-ups are scrambling to find jobs for those at the paper. they don’t want people talking, so they’ll appease (read: bribe) them any way they can. uncle rupie doesn’t really have a hand in the day-to-day operation of faux news, and roger ailes is too arrogant to ever admit that anything is wrong. i suspect that faux news will report this as just a few editors getting a bit over-anxious to prove themselves to the powers that be and making some bad choices. but i like your scenario better. :wink:

  6. Snoring Dog Studio

    Bring it, Brits! Oh, I’d love to see Murdoch and his cronies take a fall. What a pestilence.

    • amen, sds. i just hope there are plenty of people in power in britain who are not yet completely owned by uncle rupie and will make sure that there is a thorough and fair investigation. i wouldn’t thank the british authorities too much. i believe it was a newspaper, the independent, that uncovered all of this, and now the guardian is doing a lot of digging, too. just like watergate, it will be the media that brings this shitstorm to light, not those who should have been watching and making sure none of it was happening.

  7. jeb

    Normally, if you lift the rug and find dirt near the edges, there’s lots more the deeper you go.

    If this were a story about journalistic integrity, it would sadden me, but since I don’t consider anything in Rupie’s oily hands to be journalism, I’m ready for the next salvo. The most fun part will be the Casablanca reaction of those shocked to find out there is gambling in Casablanca (your winnings sir) as they all scramble to save their careers and cover their asses. I can’t wait to see the rats begin to desert the sinking shit.

    • they’ll pay off as many as possible with new jobs and nice salaries, but someone will slip through the cracks and be pissed off enough or care about journalism enough to do some lip-flapping. at least, i hope so.

  8. elizabeth3hersh

    During our extended vacation to London many years ago, I became quite enamored of British tabloids. By enamored, I mean head-over-heels besotted. They are far meatier, in depth and employ much more colorful language than their American counterparts. I am only guilty of occasionally peeking in the National Enquirer to see the name attached to the 300 lb. celebrity who has ‘let herself go’ pictured on the front page (“Guess This Body!”) with row upon row of undulating cellulite in a bathing suit (this always makes me feel better about myself). The British tabloids, however, are positively delicious and cover a wider spectrum of topics. My oldest daughter just returned from Paris and what did she bring me home as a souvenir? An Eiffel Tower necklace? Nah…the Daily Mail from a stopover in London. That’s it…pleased as punch!! So, imagine my DELIGHT to see my youngest daughter profiled in the Daily Mail two days ago (shameless promoting to follow…apologies):

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2012362/Bebe-Zeva-star-new-documentary.html

    I don’t believe I ever read News of the World. Doesn’t sound familiar and probably won’t be missed…but I am a fan (apologies again) of Fox news. Shepard Smith delivers the news with gravitas or hilarity depending on the content (I perceive him as liberal minded). Neil Cavuto has a solid business show (I disagree with his negative views on food police), Bret Baier leans Repub…no doubt about it, but he seems fair (plus, I lust over that sexy D.C. correspondent James Rosen!), O’Reilly has liberal guests on all time (okay, he often shouts over them, but not all the time) and is a militant child advocate (for that reason alone he should be tolerated). The rest I don’t watch (Hannity is too far right for my tastes). Add to that a good dose of Anderson Cooper (CNN) whose philosophy mirrors mine:

    “I’m not an opinion person. I’m not interested in being a conservative anchor or a liberal anchor, a Republican anchor or a Democratic anchor. I’m much more interested in trying to look at things at multiple angles and trying to walk in other people’s shoes and understand things from a different vantage point.”

    Love Anderson, and tabloids and Fox News (hehe).

    • Ah, yes, British newspapers.

      • that was hilarious! especially the rundown of all the papers.

        • There’s an American version.

          The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

          The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

          The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

          USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

          The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country – if they could find the time — and if they didn’t have to leave Southern California to do it.

          The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much.

          The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country and don’t really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

          The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who’s running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

          The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.

          The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure there is a country … or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy provided, of course, that they are not Republicans.

          • perfect! but someone forgot to add that they are all read my princess sarah. :P

            p.s. i hope you don’t mind that i fixed the formatting so it wasn’t all chopped up. it was distracting me.

      • elizabeth3hersh

        Lol!!! The Sun is my favourite whilst on holiday!

    • a friend of mine went to england and ireland a few years ago, and she sent me a package filled with various stuff from there. among the stuff was one of the tabloid papers. i was amazed at the crap that was in there.

      don’t try to sell me on faux news. i won’t watch it ever. i’ve seen clips, and those were enough to tell me how biased it is. the only one i would
      watch (only if someone held a gun to my head and forced me) is shep smith. neil cavuto, from what i’ve seen, is an asshole. ditto for bill0. i’ve only seen bret baier on the daily show, and i wasn’t impressed in the least bit. as for anderson cooper, he might have been okay at one time, but now he’s the ryan seacrest of news to me. i won’t even watch cnn anymore. it has no credibility left at all.

      congrats on the offspring. best of luck to her. you must be one proud mama.

  9. elizabeth3hersh

    Curiosity has the best of me nonnie. What are your preferred news sources? Have you tried Link TV?

    • i watch msnbc and now current (keith olbermann’s show). i peruse the newspapers and blogs online. i used to watch cnn during the day, but when they hired that racist asshole, erick erickson, that was the last straw for me. i haven’t watched it since. and, yes, i don’t like that racist asshole, pat buchanan, being on msnbc either, but at least they usually have someone else on to rebut him. i’ll usually google to see what’s different newspapers have on certain subjects.

      i’ve never tried link tv.

      • elizabeth3hersh

        You might like LinkTV (not sure if you get it though as it is not available everywhere). LinkTV is heavy on global news, documentaries, and lots of cultural programming, and best of all…it’s commerical free!! It’s where I pick up al Jazeera.

        Wow, Pat Buchanan is on MSNBC?!!!!? I am lol-ing so hard!! :-) Who’d of thunk it?

        • yes, ol’ pat is on to give the racist misogynist take on whatever subject might fit his expertise. he spouts his bullshit, the other guests tell him how full of shit he is and why, and then ol’ pat giggles, because that’s what he does when he realizes the people he’s speaking to aren’t as dumb as he thought or hoped. thankfully, he’s usually only on for a few minutes at a time. it’s a good opportunity to pee or to go to the kitchen for a nosh.

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