The NOW Scandal

Don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with the wacky hijinks of the Murdoch Empire across the pond. A brief summary is that the News-Corps-owned News of the World was caught hacking into the cell phones of politicians, celebrities and even, alarming, a 13 year-old murder victim in an effort to get scoops. The practice appears relatively common among the British tabloids but NOW had taken it to new heights. They’ve also apparently been bribing police for information. Two figures are the epicenter of this: Andy Coulson, who went on to become David Cameron’s spin doctor; and Rebekah Brooks, a woman who rose from low in the ranks to become the chief of NOW and was close to Murdoch. My apologies if I’ve left off or mangled some salient points.

I’ve been trying to think on this and kept writing up posts, but the issues seem fairly obvious. What News of the World did was vile and illegal and people should go to prison over it. It doesn’t matter if other tabloids were doing it and it doesn’t matter if there is animus against Murdoch involved. It was illegal; it was vile. Even if you leave out the part about hacking into a murder victim’s cell phone and erasing messages when her voice mail got full, it was still wrong. I’m not a big fan of celebrities, but they deserve some privacy. Uncovering the activities of Hugh Grant’s dick is not exactly exposing government corruption. I’m sorry; the people do not have a right to know what, say, J.K. Rowling might be doing at all times (rolling around in large piles of cash, I would imagine).

That having all been said, the glee that many on the Left are feeling about this, which reached its zenith when some idiot threw a pie at an 80-year-old man, is misplaced. Murdoch is not going to jail and Fox News is not going to shutter its doors. Sorry, guys. Not going to happen. McArdle:

The very thing that makes liberals hate Fox News–its slant, and its large audience–make it impossible to kill. Even if you destroyed the network, some other cable network would buy up most of its talent and move into its niche, with an audience that would be even more fanatically loyal thanks to the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy that killed their beloved news channel. This scandal will be bad for Murdoch, bad for the current British government, and very possibly, ultimately good for News Corp. But I doubt it’s going to mean much one way or another for the balance of power between liberal and conservative media outlets.

Exactly. Fox News is not the result of the Devil inflicting his vile propaganda on an unsuspecting public. It’s not a evil dragon waiting for Michael Moore to ride in on a hefty white horse and slay it, liberating us from their poison. It’s the result of millions of conservative people craving a channel that is slanted in their direction rather than the direction that all good and moral liberals think it should be. Sean Hannity is not going to be out on the street. Sarah Palin is not going to be in a pillory. Bill O’Reilly will not tarred and feathered.

Some awful people who did bad things are going to jail. And that’s the way it should be.

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  1. CM

    Some awful people who did bad things are going to jail.

    I’m not so sure about that. I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody went to jail. It strikes me as one of those things we’ll never really get to the bottom of. Anyone with any sort of power usually does enough to cover their tracks well enough and ensure plausible deniability. Sure, they’ll be some resignations (and from people who had nothing to do with any of it, like the top UK cops who have already gone), but I’d be surprised if accountability went any further. So many elites like to talk endlessly about ‘personal responsibility’ but then fail to demonstrate any themselves. Or they simply ensure they’re never put in situation where it’s relevant.

    The interests of the elite are all so closely intertwined. Especially when it comes to the media and politicians. They mix in the same circles, and usually have done for years or decades (same schools even). Michaell Wollf wrote a biography on Murdoch but couldn’t get an interview with Blair. He kept trying and trying. Then he happened to mention it while talking to Murdoch’s wife, and she replied ‘Oh, well, leave that to me’. Within an hour he had Blair sitting in front of him and more than enough time than he needed. Apparently Blair just couldn’t shut up about how amazing Murdoch was. What does this suggest about the power of Murdoch’s news? I think Blair would have have found it almost impossible to get the required political support for his war without Murdoch’s strong support in every single one of his news outlets. IMHO it was sickening to be there witnessing it (even more so being in the public gallery of Parliament to watch the final debate and vote)

    Personally I’m not unhappy for this scandal to be Murdoch’s legacy. I think he’s got a a lot to answer for, but he’ll answer for none of it (other than through a spotted copybook).

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  2. AlexInCT

    This is no scandal. There is no expectation of privacy in Europe and governments there do much worse than this on a daily bases. I know. What we have here is a big circus orchestrated to help Obama score some traction against Fox News since that is the most likely source of real information about him – the LSM isn’t going to do much than kissing his ass and modling the news to make him come off as divine, as they did before when they got him elected – come the 2012 elections. Enjoy the freak show and the grand standing, cause that’s all this is. Don’t take any of it seriously. The British government does far worse things than this every day. In fact, as soon as more information comes out about the role of several members of the British government, they will sweep it all under the carpet.

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  3. CM

    This is no scandal.

    No, obviously not, if right-wingers are potentially in trouble then it must all be made-up. Hacking into and clearing messages from a 13 year-old murder victim’s phone is scandal-free.

    There is no expectation of privacy in Europe and governments there do much worse than this on a daily bases. I know.

    Because you’ve personal experience? Where in Europe did you live and what happened?

    What we have here is a big circus orchestrated to help Obama score some traction against Fox News since that is the most likely source of real information about him – the LSM isn’t going to do much than kissing his ass and modling the news to make him come off as divine, as they did before when they got him elected – come the 2012 elections.

    You’re constantly attempting to outdo yourself with your bizarre conspiracy theories aren’t you Alex. Only YOU could come up with a way of saying this is all to help Obama. You really are a one-trick pony.

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