End of the Innocence

(Reuters) – News Corp agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to an early phone-hacking victim because it recognized that evidence from the case was ‘fatal’ to its claims of innocence, new details released on Tuesday showed.

Original DVD cover

Briefing notes and emails exchanged between News Corp lawyers and handed over to the British parliamentary committee investigating the scandal indicated senior figures were aware of the problem in 2008 and were working to keep the issue private.

“There is a powerful case that there is (or was) a culture of illegal information access used at NGN (News Group Newspapers) in order to produce stories for publication,” News Corp’s senior outside counsel Michael Silverleaf told his clients.


The slow drip of information has severely damaged Rupert Murdoch’s son James, the presumed heir to the media group, over his handling of the fallout and the implication that he tried to prevent the true scale of the problem from emerging.

Analysts and critics of the firm have suggested Murdoch must have been aware of the scale of the problem when he approved the huge payoff and therefore was in some way culpable.


On Tuesday, the newly released evidence suggested that lawyers for News Corp agreed to a huge pay-off to the victim, soccer players’ union boss Gordon Taylor, in 2008 because they realized the position was now “perilous”.

Taylor had got hold of a News of the World email which included transcripts of his voicemails and appeared to implicate other News of the World journalists. News Corp executives maintained until recently that only one reporter was responsible for the hacking and he had already gone to jail.

According to Julian Pike, a lawyer from the London firm Farrer & Co who was at the time acting for the tabloid, the briefing notes were made for the then editor Colin Myler ahead of a meeting between Myler and James Murdoch, who was at the time in charge of the UK newspaper division.

According to Pike, Myler and James Murdoch met on May 27 to discuss the issue, although this contradicts what James Murdoch told parliamentarians.


Pike also told parliament in October that he believed James Murdoch had been briefed at the May meeting on potentially illegal practices by Myler.

Myler and News Corp lawyer Tom Crone have told parliamentarians investigating the case that they made James Murdoch aware of the significance of the email and why they had to make such a large payout.


The large payout to Taylor of around 750,000 pounds ($1.2 million) was agreed at a meeting between Crone, Myler and James Murdoch on June 10.

“So James Murdoch has mis-recalled the sequence of events in that regard?” Pike was asked by Damian Collins, a member of the Culture, Media and Sport parliamentary committee, when he appeared in October.

“I think so, yes,” Pike replied.


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

19 responses to “End of the Innocence

  1. John Erickson

    Another chip in the News Corp. armour? Dare we hope this leads to the collapse of the whole rotten edifice?
    Gee, when I “mis-recalled” things when I was a kid, it was called “lying”. Gotta love the modern idiom (but not the modern idiot using it!). 😀

    • rich people don’t lie. they simply say stuff that their expensive lawyers are paid to first deny, later explain, and ultimately blame other people for.

  2. “Mistakes were made?”

    Don’t they always get off on this one?

    Hoping for a trial.


    • when they lie, it’s a mistake. when the unwashed masses lie, they’ve perjured themselves and deserve to go to jail for a long time (or, in texas, get a lethal injection).

      p.s. s, you really, really have to correct your name in wordpress, because your comments are posting with your email addy as your name. i changed it again, but i can’t promise i can catch it quickly. i don’t want nefarious people getting access to your email addy.

  3. maggiejean

    It would be so pretty to think that the Murdoch brand is in trouble, serious trouble. I won’t hold my breath, though. They have enough money and influence to buy their way out of everything.

    • i would have agreed that they’re too rich to suffer any consequences until occupy wall street took off. the unwashed masses aren’t happy, and a pile of money just might not protect you if the people are pissed off enough. after all, members of parliament and congress won’t rush to uncle rupie’s defense if they think it will cost them their jobs. we shall see.

  4. Thanks,

    Now how did that happen?

    Maybe because I don’t use WordPress?

    Again, thanks!

  5. Sprog of the Evil One ain’t going anywhere. The Board of Directors will eventually squeeze the Murdoch bile out of US operations. And the old shitass will eventually die. The best thing for cable network is to just hit the off switch. James can go back down-under and run the Adelade Advertiser.

    • i think the only reason jamesy wamesy is still around is that people are afraid of the wrath of uncle rupie. once uncle rupie kicks the bucket, jamesy wamesy will be out on his ass, and wendi will be calling the shots. if they thought uncle rupie is scary, wait until madame murdoch is calling the shots.

  6. Latest update, James had to turn down the extra $6mil when the story came out….
    “James Murdoch was set to get a payout of $17.9 million, boosted by a $6 million bonus and $8.3 million in stock awards. He will now receive $11.9 million. His father’s pay was boosted by a $12.5 million bonus and $8.5 million in stock awards.”
    …so if no good deed goes unpunished, then I guess no evil one goes unrewarded.

    • sickening, but true. what’s happened to our society? is it a cyclical thing where the bad guys get rewarded until decent people get fed up enough to force authorities to punish them?

  7. jay

    Don’t worry about News Corp. They’ll hack the bank account in a few weeks to get the settlement back.

  8. Rupert owns so much of the media, people don’t even know they are
    caught up in his evil web (Direct TV, Fox network, Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s magazine & a zillion other papers).
    According to the 2011 list of Forbes richest Americans, Murdoch is the 38th richest person in the US and the 117th-richest person in the world, with a net worth of $7.6 billion.
    He is ranked 13th most powerful person in the world in the 2010 Forbes’ The World’s Most Powerful People list.

    Hmmmm, does he own Forbes’ magazine too?

    • i didn’t know he owned direct tv. now i’m glad i didn’t switch. that said, it’s almost impossible not to enrich some corrupt corporation nowadays. we only have a finite number of choices, and even fewer when you don’t have a lot of money.