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Rupert Murdoch's employees are accused by the UK government of hacking into the phones of murder victims, terrorist victims, family members of dead soldiers, politicians, and celebrities.  (Source: AP Photo)

In response to the scandal Mr. Murdoch's son announced that "News of the World" will close, printing its last issue Sunday. The tabloid is the biggest in the UK in terms of circulation, so the news came as a shock to many.  (Source: Bloomberg)

News Corp. owns multiple U.S. publications, including the tabloid "New York Post" and Fox News
News Corp. employees hacked into a variety of peoples' phones, including murdered children

When you get caught hacking into the phone of a murdered child and hinder the investigation, you know you're in deep trouble.  That's the position that embattled international news agency News Corp. find itself in.

News Corp. (
NWS), the brainchild of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has a penchant for controversy; with properties like U.S. news network Fox News.  However, such controversy pales in comparison to allegations brought against News of the World which is published by News International, one of News Corp.'s British holdings.

According to documents released in an ongoing police investigation, News Corp.'s British properties hired veteran hackers to gain access to the voicemail accounts of persons of interest -- including murder victims, terrorism victims, families of dead soldiers, celebrities, and politicians.  The hackers often altered the voicemail contents in an effort to fish for leads.

Just a few days ago the talk centered on whether News International CEO and Murdoch-protégé Rebekah Brooks would resign.  Now that talk has been made a moot point, as Mr. Murdoch has decided that he will discontinue the entire News of the World publication.

The news shocked many, as News of the World is currently London's best-selling tabloid newspaper.  Many in England believe that the paper's articles make or break political candidates.

The news that the paper was dead was delivered by Rupert Murdoch's son, James Murdoch, a senior News Corp. executive.  He comments, "The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account, but it failed when it came to itself."

He revealed that the move would lead to 200 staffers losing their jobs, though they could apply for other News Corp. positions.  He also revealed that the proceeds of this Sunday's final edition would be donated to charity, in an effort to placate the growing firestorm of criticism.

The closure of the embattled publication may not be enough to silence the public outcry; particularly when pressing questions remain.  Questions include whether News of the World staffers broke British law during their actions and whether they shared their findings with other sister publications, such as The Times of London and the tabloid Sun.  If they did, these publications could find themselves subject to similar boycotts as News of the World.

Another compelling question is whether the questionable tactics were isolated to News Corp.'s British operations, or whether they could have been employed at American tabloids such as the New York Post.  Thus far there's no evidence of this, but the topic will certainly be examined as spotlight of scrutiny is cast onto News Corp.

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Money before morals for Murdoch
By cactusdog on 7/7/2011 8:17:35 PM , Rating: 1
So Murdoch is shutting down the paper for moral reasons? To put a stop to this phone hacking? What a load of crap. If it is as widespread as reported the management would know about it, and Murdoch wouldnt shut it down if it was making him money.

I think he wanted to shut down the paper, everybody knows newspapers are dying, much of the advertising is going online. This is just an excuse to shut it down so he doesnt cop any flack from employees,unions and the public.

He already owns the competing paper, so this makes his job easy to shut down the paper, and merge his assets into one newspaper. Theres enough advertising dollars to keep one paper going for another few years.

He probably "leaked" the story himself. He comes out looking squeaky clean and the media is reporting on on "dodgy journalists" instead of "dodgy paper owner"

Murdoch wouldnt give a crap about the phone hacking if it meant getting news first and making more revenue. He wanted the paper closed.

By YashBudini on 7/8/2011 12:33:21 AM , Rating: 2
So Murdoch is shutting down the paper for moral reasons?

In plain business english it's called damage control.

By Aloonatic on 7/8/2011 2:59:05 AM , Rating: 2
I doubt that he leaked this himself, that would be just plain stupid.

The headline to this article is misleading too. He hasn't been forced to close The News of the World.

He chose to.

Why? The BSkyB (Sky TV) buyout is the main reason that most people are sighting. Newspapers are old, and not all that profitable. TV is worth a lot more. Murdoch owns a big share of Sky already, but wants to buy it outright. It's already caused controversy, due to the amount of influence to would give Murdoch over the Media in the UK.

The rules have recently changed, and how the seniior managers of corporations who want to do what Murdoch is trying to do with the Sky buy out have to pass a "fit and proper" persons test. A little vague, but while Rebekah Brooks who is a senior member of Murdoch's staff now, is in place, they might struggle. She was the editor at the time when the Milly Dowler phone hack happened, which is what really tipped this phone hacking story from scandal to public outrage.

It's odd that Rebekah (yes, her name really is spelt like that) is being kept on. She offered to resign, but it was not accepted. It'll be interesting to find out just why she has been kept on.

It's sad. Lots of people have lost their job. They really have sacked the wrong red top*.

Murdoch could easily have carried on with the NotW and just sacked the senior managers and editors who were in charge at the time of these hacks, but they've chosen to sack everyone at the paper apart from the editor who was in charge.

The Sun on Sunday, or The Sunday Sun will almost certainly appear in a month or too though, so hopefully these people will get their jobs back.

*Red Top being a sensation tablod, like The Sun (The week day and Saturady version of the NoTW), The Mirror or TNotW, and of course, Rebekah Brooks is a read head, in case you didn't know.

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