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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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RE: You Serious?
By adl on 7/7/2011 10:04:43 PM , Rating: 3
Ok I don't know about England, but in America tabloids are jokes. Rags that nobody takes seriously. In London they actually affect elections!?

just so you know, tabloid (and broadsheet, and berliner) refers to the actual physical size of the paper.

there is an implication that tabloids generally cater to the least common denominator, and are extremely sensationalist, but the degree of sensationalism isn't a well defined property.

of course, not having actually read the news of the world (or any american or english tabloid for that matter), i cannot comment on the impact they have in a social context.

RE: You Serious?
By Fritzr on 7/8/2011 3:13:35 AM , Rating: 3
In addition to being the name of a particular format, tabloid is the common designation for a newspaper that offers sensational and in many cases fake news. The 'tabloid news' label has even been applied to other media such as Fox Network News. This category is not new, an earlier label is "yellow journalism" which was spawned by William Randolph Hearst's newspapers.

They can influence elections as was shown by the recent revelations of US politician's having affairs. The greatest effect is when the story is picked up by mainstream news outlets. In the UK where the Daily Sun and similar rags are the print equivalent of Fox News, they can, with a large readership, swing the vote.

The tabloids can also start wars. By reporting events in the "proper" manner and adding editorials recommending the "proper" response, William Randolph Hearst is in large part responsible for the Spanish-American War. In modern times news outlets still sway public opinion with selective reporting, creative story writing and editorials written to sell a particular agenda.

We aren't talking about the National Enquirer, these papers are more like the New York Post that was named in this article...many people believe it is a legitimate newspaper.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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