Hair’s to a Snake in the Grass

From the Mirror:

THE News of the World hacked a phone belonging to Sarah Payne’s mother – which was given to her by then editor Rebekah Brooks, it was claimed yesterday.

Scotland Yard have told Sara – mother of the eight-year-old schoolgirl murdered by Roy Whiting – that the mobile may have been targeted by the newspaper. They said they had found evidence suggesting she was hacked by News of the World ­investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Officers from ­Operation Weeting told her on Tuesday that they had found her personal details among his notes. The evidence is believed to relate to the phone Rebekah Brooks gave her to help her stay in touch with supporters.

medusarubensrebekahbrooksOriginal painting (Medusa by Rubens)

Friends of Sara Payne said that she is “absolutely ­devastated and deeply ­disappointed” at the news. The newspaper – and particularly Rebekah Brooks – had championed Sara’s campaign for Sarah’s Law. Sara even wrote a column for the paper’s final edition, calling their staff “my good and trusted friends”.


Labour MP Tom Watson said: “This is a new low. The last edition of the News of the World made great play of the paper’s ­relationship with the Payne family. Brooks talked about it at the committee inquiry. Now this. I have nothing but contempt for the people that did this.” It has already been revealed the paper hacked and deleted the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

The latest news will raise further doubts about whether News Corporation is “fit and proper” to own TV licences and its 39% share of BskyB.

Last night, Rebekah Brooks said: “These allegations are abhorrent and particularly upsetting as Sara Payne is a dear friend.


A News International spokesman said: “News International takes this matter very seriously and is deeply concerned, like everyone. As the facts are established, the company and the independent Management and Standards Committee will take all appropriate actions, including co-operating fully with any potential criminal inquiries or civil proceedings which may arise.”

John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said it would be meeting tomorrow to discuss its next steps.

From The Boston Globe:

Even in the worst of times, Sara Payne was a defender of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. She thought she had good reason.

After her 8-year-old daughter was killed by a convicted pedophile living a few miles away, Payne credited the feisty tabloid with helping her campaign for a new British law giving parents the right to know if anyone with regular access to their children is a sex offender.

But in a case generating a fresh uproar in Britain over the nefarious methods of News of the World, Payne acknowledged yesterday that she might have been among the thousands of British citizens targeted by the paper in a widespread campaign of illegal phone hacking.


The revelations again put Murdoch’s News Corp. under a blinding spotlight at a time when some politicians here are calling for the company’s vast British media holdings to be broken up, saying it does not meet the criteria that media owners here be fit and proper companies. It also dealt another blow to Scotland Yard, which had earlier told Payne she was not among those targeted by the tabloid, a position it only recently corrected.

More than anything, though, Payne’s involvement in the scandal robs News Corp. of one of its most sympathetic voices.

Earlier this month, Payne had bemoaned Murdoch’s decision to shut down the tabloid after revelations that its employees had hacked the phone of a different young murder victim – hampering a police investigation in the process. Payne chided the newspaper for hacking phones, including that of the girl, Milly Dowler. But she nevertheless described the 168-year-old paper’s closure as “the passing of an old friend’’ in a piece she penned for its final edition.


Payne’s targeting could spell fresh trouble for Rebekah Brooks, who resigned as head of News Corp.’s British operations this month and is facing criminal charges tied to the hacking scandal. When serving as the editor of News of the World in the early 2000s, Brooks closely directed the paper’s coverage of Payne’s crusade. She has denied any knowledge of illegal newsgathering at News of the World.


The news came just as the independent inquiry into the scandal officially launched yesterday, with Lord Justice Brian Henry Levenson [sic], who is leading the investigation, saying it could take 12 months or longer to complete. Hearings would begin this fall, with the mandate of the inquiry now broadened to explore illicit activities among not only newspapers, but also television and social media in Britain.

“It may be tempting for a number of people to close ranks and suggest that the problem is or was local to a group of journalists then operating at the News of the World,’’ he said. “But I would encourage all to take a wider picture of the public good and help me grapple with the width and depth of the problem.’’

Before anyone gets too excited about the investigation, keep this in mind–from The Telegraph:

Lord Justice Leveson went to two parties in the past year at the London home of Matthew Freud, a PR executive married to Elisabeth Murdoch, the daughter of Rupert Murdoch widely tipped to be her father’s successor.

MPs said last night that Lord Leveson’s social connections to News Corp raised questions about his impartiality and suitability to lead the inquiry.


It emerged […] that Lord Leveson, while chairman of the Sentencing Council that advises the Government on punishing criminals, met Mr Freud at a dinner in February last year in an Oxford University college.

The pair discussed how to promote public confidence in the criminal justice system.

Mr Freud then offered to provide some staff from his company Freud Communications to work for nothing advising the council on how to raise confidence in sentencing. This resulted in Lord Leveson attending two parties at Mr Freud’s London home, in July last year and last January.

They talked about punishing criminals?  Set your irony meters to high, kids.


Filed under Britain, humor, News Corp, parody, politics, Rupert Murdoch, Scandals, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

30 responses to “Hair’s to a Snake in the Grass

  1. Rebekah Brooks earned that image. She should be mortified that she revictimized the mother. I can’t imagine Payne’s sense of betrayal….she must feel so used.

    News Corp. has to be held accountable. This really is the seediest treachery….for money.

    • every night, i post the posters over at the big orange in a couple of threads. it didn’t even occur to me when i was making the poster that the image is rather violent and could be taken the wrong way. whenever i see that mop of rebekah’s, i’m reminded of medusa, and that’s why i chose this painting. for some reason, it took up until just a few minutes ago, for it dawn on me that the imagery is rather stark, and that i shouldn’t post it over at dkos, because i don’t want anyone else’s site taking any heat for it. that said, i’m not sorry for making it, because i think rebekah and all the other uncle rupie minions are evil, greedy asswipes who care nothing for anyone except themselves. to add to the grief of murdered children’s parent is so beyond the pale. it’s unspeakably wrong, so i won’t apologize for portraying ms brooks in this manner. i will, though, point out (so that there is no question) that i am not calling for any violence to be perpetrated against her.

      • maggiejean

        Hear! Hear! nonnie. I couldn’t agree with you more. Medussa indeed. According to myth and wikipedia she was a monster and just gazing directly upon her would turn onlookers to stone.

        • that’s where i got the painting, maggiejean! rebekah is a monster. i guess that’s why uncle rupie is so fond of her. birds of a feather and all that.

          p.s. i hope you don’t mind that i fixed your link. the brackets don’t work over here. you have to use the long form <a href= linkypoo , which is a pain. i hope that one day, wordpress will make comments easier by including buttons that will take care of bolding, linking, quoting, etc. until then, i will act as the comment fairy, working my magic behind the scenes to fix the comments that may have gone awry. 😉

          • The image worked for me because Medusa was the stuff of my childhood nightmares. And the seemingly all-powerful can be defeated.

            I’m way too princessey (and so are you 🙂 ) to be interested in violence for these sleazeball crooks. Global shame and justice running its proper course and mocking power run amok are sufficient weapons.

            • you’re right, m’liss. we are way too princessy to call for violence. hell, i wear latex gloves just to prepare chicken, because i’m afraid of the e-coli cooties.

  2. May her gaze turn Uncle Rupie to stone.

    On another note, I subscribe to Russia Today on YouTube. They just liked this version of this blog’s theme song.

    • uncle rupie’s heart was turned to stone long ago. why shouldn’t the rest of him follow suit.

      this is weird, but as i watched amy winehouse in that video, her body movements reminded me very much of judy garland when she was older and the booze and drugs had taken their toll. she could still sing the hell out of a song, but her body movements seemed removed from the performance.

  3. gregg

    I think you are making yourself crazy worrying about your Medusa being interpreted as a call for violence and creating trouble at Kos. It is a creative commentary that goes to the kind of horror media outlets that rip off suffering people’s private lives for profit create. Further we of course have the cheer leading Ruppie’s empire did for the invasion of Iraq which led to horrors experienced by innocent children and adults that will not be forgotten for generations. Hit them with your best shot.

    • thanks, gregg. i’m not really making myself crazy. it’s just that i’ve posted posters over at the big orange before that some people found offensive for one reason or another, and some were real pains in the ass. i don’t feel like arguing, so i didn’t post it over there. i’ve got better things to do than to make someone else feel politically correct. 😉

      • gregg

        i love big orange but when i first discovered the intertubes i was posting at atrios and then wandered over to kos and didn’t realize the change in cultural norms so i claimed “first” on a thread which resulted in a severe whacking….as the discussions at atrios became less interesting i realized kos provides an enormous amount of data pretty much every hour and now am careful to mind my manners usually. i am glad you are not making yourself crazy….i on the other hand will soon set up my own electro shock device and start trying to blast michelle bachmann’s face out of my memory bank.

        • i pretty much stick to the open threads and people on my hot list at the big orange. i try to avoid all the pie fights and the thread commandos. when i do to diaries, i usually rec if i like it and then rec the tip jar and leave. if it’s a subject i’m really interested in, i’ll peruse the comments, but i try not to join the firing squads when someone commits a faux pas.

  4. So, is it true that if I stare at that Medusa image I will be stoned? Far out. Don’t sweat D/K commentors. Some ride very high horses indeed (that’s one reason I quit commenting there). Just remember back to all that flak you took using ladypart humor in the Cheney sense…”I mentioned vagina once but I think I got away with it!”

    • so far, everyone over at the big orange has had no problem with the pic, jerry. one person said she was shocked, but she wasn’t upset. everyone else who actually clicked over said that there is nothing shocking about one of the old masters (rubens, not me 😉 ). i figure that, if one of them rides up on their high horse, then they really don’t have anything to complain about since i didn’t post it over there. what was the kerfuffle about the lady parts? was it one of the the campaign posters that wasn’t appreciated? if i wasn’t so lazy, i’d look for it.

      • jeb

        I don’t go to the big orange ever. I can’t remember the last time I went. In the dark days of the Bu$hco reign of terror, it was my favorite site but it got so bad with all of the Kos-wannabe’s and the comment police that I lost interest.

        I haven’t kept up with the news on this scandal so I’m getting most of my information from your posts (since you’re my favorite source now). This is beyond appalling. If this is true, Rupie himself must be held responsible and none of his crazy crap about people betraying him should be allowed. Of course, if someone from a newspaper just gave me a phone, I’d think I’d wonder what the hell was up. But then my ex always said I was too cynical and negative.

        • (in my best announcer voice) welcome to the raisin, your source for all uncle rupie news! 😀

          the mother of the little girl might have been cynical under ordinary circumstances, but when you figure in that she was dealing with the murder of her child, i’m sure she wasn’t thinking about whether someone was trying to trick her or not.

          the comment police drive me crazy, too, but i’ve been able to pretty much avoid them. i don’t spend even a quarter of the amount of time i used to spend over there. i’d rather go to the blogs of the other raisinettes to see what i missed.

      • The campaign signs for 2008…funny stuff!

  5. ” Freud Communications ”

    Is the name pronounced “Fraud”, because that would so fit the Rupert Murdoch Media empire.

    • i’ll design the logo for fraud communications at no charge. did you know that he’s the grandson of sigmund? grandpa would have a field day psychoanalyzing his descendant and his in-laws.

  6. While I have no problem piling on Ms. Brooks, I just hope it doesn’t serve to distract from Uncle Rupie. I’d almost be willing to let Ms. Brooks walk if I knew it would destroy Murdoch. Almost.
    Now, if Omnicity can keep their service working, I may just catch up today! Then comes the real fun – trying to get data off the dead laptop’s drive. I can probably re-create the bookmarks, but there are a number of warships I built, each one taking HOURS, that I really don’t want to re-do! (If that sounds interesting to anybody, go to It’s a program that allows you to create any “gun” warship from about 1850 to 1950. Great fun!)

    • i would love to see rebekah in jail, but i wouldn’t be heartbroken if she gave up uncle rupie, jamesy wamesy, roger ailes, david cameron, and some others on a platter.

      i hope omnicity is better than comcast. my tv crapped out again (second time this week). i was trying to watch ‘the town’ on one hbo channel earlier tonight, but the picture totally pixelated. i checked some other channels, and the same thing. so i called comcast (for the second time this week). i was on the phone with an idiot there for over 20 minutes, and he didn’t fix a damned thing. of course, he wanted me to make an appointment for a tech to come out. i said i’d bring the box in and exchange it. he kept pushing and pushing for me to make a service appointment, and i kept saying no, because they only want to charge me for a service call. the idiot said that it seems like it’s a comcast problem (no shit, sherlock), and i probably wouldn’t be charged. i asked what problem it could be other than the box, and he finally got around to saying that, if the problem is with the inside cables, i would be charged. i said that comcast put the cables in, so why should i be charged for a problem with them, and he said…this was the kicker…comcast sold you the cables, so they’re your responsibility. huh? i never ever got any bill for cables. they were installed 21 years ago, and installation was free. i said something about bullshit and hung up the phone.

      • Sounds like DirecTV out here. We’re praying for Time-Warner to move in with cable. While IO can’t speak personally to the rival (Dish Network) and their business practices, I’ll put it this way. Time-Warner was checking the area out using a guy in a car to check the poles for cable lines (there’s a mess left when the former cable company, whose name escapes me, imploded and just left the area). Every time he came out, people would run out of their houses (me included) to beg the guy for cable service. They stopped sending him out (he was getting nothing done dealing with people stopping him) and reverted to a van doing “stealth” drive-bys at 2-3 am. No word yet, but we’re hoping!

        • we actually have a lot of options here, but they really aren’t very competitive. they’re all too expensive. i don’t like the idea of signing any contract that makes me stay with one company for any length of time, so my options are down to comcast and at&t.

          • Welllll…… I’d say “Go with AT&T” every time. Then again, my dad worked with the Bell System for 39 years, and my first job was with Ameritech, so I’m just a WEE bit biased. 😉

            • i was going to switch over to at&t years ago. 2 salesmen were here, and they yammered on for an hour. i made the appointment for them to come and set everything up. they never showed up. i called, and i was given some lame excuse from their dispatcher, and not in a very nice way. they told me they’d come out in a few days, and i told him where he could shove his cables. what i don’t like about at&t, as well as the satellite companies, is that they have these special deals to start you off with, but they never tell you what your actual bill will be when the freebies are over. they can’t seem to figure out what all the fees and taxes will be so you can compare them to the set-up you have now. i tell them to just look at someone else’s bill who is in the same billing area. it’s not rocket science or brain surgery. what really pisses me off is that none of them have a sensible plan where you can just pay for the channels you want. i don’t need religious or shopping channels or faux news. i don’t need 400 music channels.

            • johncerickson

              We’ve been wanting to dump DirecTV, but I sat down with their and Dish’s package listings. Not only could I not get to an apples-to-apples comparison between the two, I couldn’t figure out which DirecTV package we currently have! We have some channel that aren’t in the “official” list for our package, and we’re missing others (which I don’t watch). Honestly, I’m terrified to ask questions for fear they’ll figure out they screwed up and triple our costs!

              • we are no longer customers of huge corporation, we are their hostages. you have to fear calling them, because they make up their own rules as they go along, and they can triple your bills without answering to anyone.