How Could Rupert Murdoch Possibly Not Know?

It defies reason. The blatant continuation of phone-hacking by News Corps reporters for four years after the first culprits were arrested might be overlooked in an Inspector Clouseau satire for The Onion.  But if the Rupert family expects us to believe it did not know something was amiss in the empire, their contempt for the public is even greater than their contempt for the law.


It’s unbelievable that Rebeka Brooks, one of the editors during the hacking years, did not know what her reporters were doing.  As a corporate media executive, she must have had a system in place to vet reporters’ articles and verify their sources.  If she didn’t, she committed a gross violation of journalistic standards or deliberately left oversight loose to accommodate a ‘plausible alibi.?  Where did she think all the hot-off-the-press stories coming from?  How were her reporters getting such sensational material?

And it defies logic that Rupert Murdoch did not follow the ‘scoops’ his flagship newspaper and sentimental favorite, News of the World, uncovered. scoops that drew 2.5 million to its Sunday edition.   Again, one One would expect a CEO to more aggressively monitor their investigative units than any others, especially when reporters from those units had been convicted of wrongdoing in the past.  If News of the World failed to implement new systems to insure integrity within its investigative teams after the original arrests in 2007, that is enough to infer their complicity in what happened afterwards.

The sleaze drips down the cozy relationship between British politicians and News Corporation executives.  Why in the world would the British PM need to meet officials of News Corp. 26 times in 18 months?   Why would the head of Scotland Yard meet News Corp. executives 18 times during his own police investigation of phone-hacking?

This is political pornography. The real shock is that all this went on openly, as if all the players were sure that ‘nobody else’ would find and follow their trail.  Unfortunately, the code of silence worked for years.

The Greeks got it right 2500 years ago.  The great and powerful are brought down by a fatal flaw they don’t see in themselves . Hubris destroyed Oedipus as fast and surly as it did DSK and the lengthening list of executives associated with the Murdoch empire.   Of course, Oedipus took honorable action: he cut out his eyes because they didn’t ‘see.’  Once the tread is caught, it quickly unravels.

Bloomberg: (UPDATE)

Independent directors of New York-based News Corp. have begun questioning the company’s response to the crisis and whether a leadership change is needed, said two people with direct knowledge of the situation who wouldn’t speak publicly. Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief who Murdoch backed until last week, was arrested yesterday in London.

“The shell of invulnerability that Rupert Murdoch had around him has been cracked,” said James Post, a professor at Boston University’s School of Management who has written about governance and business ethics. “His credibility and the company’s credibility are hemorrhaging.”









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