The News of the World tabloid, called the most read newspaper in the world, folded under a shocking wave of allegations of phone hacking that resulted in public outrage and a bloodletting of advertisers.
There’s invasion of privacy, and, then, there’s what News of the World reporters allegedly did to get scoops: They hacked into the private cell phones of ordinary citizens, politicians and celebrities and listened to private conversations, sometimes, during the most vulnerable times in the victims’ lives.
Days ago, the scandal hit the fan when a private investigator divulged that News of the World hired him to access and delete voicemails from a 13-year-old kidnapping victim who was later found murdered.
James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, issued a statement that confirmed how serious the company took the alleged hacking into the cellphones of commoners and celebrities alike.
“The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account,” the statement read, “but it failed when it came to itself.”
Murdoch also said: “As a result, the News of the World and News International wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter. We now have voluntarily given evidence to the police that I believe will prove that this was untrue, and those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences.
This was not the only fault.
The paper made statements to Parliament without being in the full possession of the facts. This was wrong.
The Company paid out-of-court settlements approved by me. I now know that I did not have a complete picture when I did so. This was wrong and is a matter of serious regret.
Currently, there are two major and ongoing police investigations. We are cooperating fully and actively with both.”
According to the BBC, 200 staffers will lose their jobs, but, at least, they won’t serve jail time like the other News of the World reporter and private investigator who were caught intercepting the phone messages of the Royal Family’s entourage and even of Princes William and Harry.
In that case, a police inquiry found that reporters may have taken advantage of easy-to-obtain or semi-secure cellphone passwords to tap into the phones of targeted sports stars, politicians and celebrities. Police “turned up thousands of numbers of potential phone-tapping targets.” However, only the reporter, Glenn Mulcaire, and the private investigator, Clive Goodman, received several months in prison.
At that time, in 2007, the more than century-old newspaper insisted that the two were just bad apples, and hacking was not a part of the DNA of the esteemed News of the World reporting culture.
That notion is under fire again, as claims that hacking was widespread have since resurfaced. More reporters may be under investigation, even as you read this.
Rupert Murdoch wants this issue squashed quickly because he’s trying to take over yet another British media conglomerate, which is why he threw News of the World to the wolves, media analysts say.
Stay tuned. –zondra hughes