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
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.