Flying too close to the sun. Image by Len Radin
It now appears that the phone hacking scandal that is threatening to bring down the Murdoch empire in the UK is going transatlantic. If Murdoch thought things were going badly, he couldn’t have been more wrong. From Politico:
New York Republican Pete King is calling on the FBI to investigate whether Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation hacked into the voicemail accounts of Sept. 11 victims, calling the allegations of the scandal “disgraceful.”
“As I see it, I would expect more things to be coming out over the next several weeks,” King told POLITICO. “And as we approach 9/11, the tenth anniversary, it’s even going to get worse.”…..
A number of Democratic senators are also calling for inquiries into the scandal. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, asked for an investigation on Tuesday into whether American phones were hacked by News Corp. reporters. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) says she supports Rockefeller. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J) wants authorities to look into allegations that News of the World reporters bribed London police for information about the British royal family. The Daily Mirror in London reported that News of the World journalists tried to get phone data involving the victims of the terror attacks.
If this turns out to be true, Murdoch is well and truly cooked. You’d have to think pretty hard to come up with something as utterly disgusting and offensive as hacking 9/11 victim’s phones – particularly in an ultra patriotic country like America. If it is true, it just goes to show how arrogant the Murdoch press has been, believing they were above the law and completely untouchable.
It turns out that no matter how powerful you are, you are always only moments away from complete collapse. As Chez Pazienza writes, no one can fly so close to the sun without getting burnt:
What’s happening right now with Murdoch has been years in the making. It was always inevitable. The entire corporate culture of News Corp has been one of imperiousness since the very beginning, the belief that it and its people simply aren’t required to adhere to the exhaustingly restrictive laws all those other poor suckers inexplicably submit to. They can do whatever they want and the awesome might of Murdoch and News Corp will protect them at all times. This kind of mad hubris, taken to its logical conclusion, will eventually result in your biting off a lot more than you can chew. Which is what Murdoch’s people did — in spades. They did it because the Murdoch ethos gave them tacit permission to.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.