It’s hard at the moment to contain my giddiness with the events of the week. I have to literally suppress excitement in order to keep in tow the details of a viral story about the Icarus-like fall of British tabloid News of the World, a tentacle of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp media empire. Here we are, days after the partial solar eclipse in Cancer in another ‘pinch me’ moment in 21st century history: Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp — the corporate father of Fox News — is in deep trouble.
News of the World’s staff illegally hacked thousands of private voice mails of ordinary people, heads of state and the royal family. It obstructed justice by deletion of millions of emails corroborating the hacking. The publication routinely bribed police and other officials to obtain access to voicemails and private medical information on the UK’s former Labour Party Prime Minister while he was still in office. Collusion may have been involved between News of the World and members of the British government — particularly British Prime Minister David Cameron — to turn the tide in an election solely for the financial gain of News Corp. How big can this monster get? Well, the story has ‘legs’, a media term meaning a news story that has momentum beyond a 24-hour news cycle. And these legs are big — very, very big — with implications reaching right into the halls of Parliament and Congress.
In America, James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son, could also face the possibility of being prosecuted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act — the law designed to stamp out bad corporate behavior, which carries severe financial penalties for those found guilty. On Monday, after this series of revelations appeared over the weekend, the news day closed on an item about a group of investors from News Corp’s Board of Directors filing lawsuit in Delaware against Murdoch for running his mega-news conglomerate like “his own private fiefdom with little or no effective oversight from the board.” As of this writing today, News Corp has withdrawn its bid for BSkyB, a satellite television network, once a golden fleece for Murdoch, whose sole ownership he sought for years. He now has to deal with international political and legal scrutiny for News Corp’s actions committed over the years on behalf of their years-long attempt to purchase BSkyB.
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