Following the criminal conviction of Rupert Murdoch’s former News of the World editor and news-slant czar Andy Coulson, Scotland Yard detectives have announced that they want to talk to Murdoch himself. The conviction and announced interview is related to a phone hacking scandal that emerged in 2011.
Phone hacking, bribery of public officials, and computer hacking have prompted Scotland Yard detectives into three separate investigations. Coulson was found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones, but former head of Murdoch’s UK newspaper holdings, Rebekah Brooks, was found innocent.
The newly announced interviews with Murdoch will be approximately the third time that Murdoch will have to explain himself to government officials. One instance happened in 2011 where he appeared before the British parliamentary committee.
The phone hacking scandal began when a private investigator working for News of the World may have intercepted and deleted voicemail messages of 13-year-old Milly Dowler, who disappeared in March 2002 and was found dead in September. On several, subsequent occasions, those working for Murdoch were reported to have intercepted information via cell phone from court officials, England’s Prince William, and other highly regarded figures, for news content.
Altogether, reporters and other people with News of the World newspaper were suspected to have hacked nearly 6,000 peoples’ phones. The scandal came to a head in 2011 when the British High Court ordered private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to reveal the person who ordered him to hack phones. From there, several reporters were arrested, as well as Coulson.
The antics of the News of the World reporters are a disgusting reminder that there are still many so-called “journalists” out there who fail to respect the ethics of the trade. They have proven themselves as no better than hackneyed paparazzi who are paid to snap shots of some celebrity’s birthmark.
Surely, the interviews announced by Scotland Yard will be to find out exactly how much Murdoch knew about the scandal, and if whether or not he supported it. Detectives will likely get nil from Murdoch though, which is unfortunate. It may be another case where another ludicrously rich person gets away with another crime. But that will be nearly impossible to find out for sure.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.