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April 19, 2013





The Guardian: James Murdoch could face criminal charges on both sides of the Atlantic


Now that News of the World is toast, and Andy Coulson has been arrested for phone-hacking allegations, we're all waiting for the next shoe(s) to drop.

Wait.. what's that I hear?


Yep, that was a shoe. Via The Guardian:

James Murdoch and News Corp could face corporate legal battles on both sides of the Atlantic that involve criminal charges, fines and forfeiture of assets as the escalating phone-hacking scandal risks damaging his chances of taking control of Rupert Murdoch's US-based media empire.

All together now, in unison: Awwww.

Next I want a gigantic size 18 boot to drop, with the name Rupert scrawled all over it.

[T]he younger Murdoch has admitted he misled parliament over phone hacking, although he has stated he did not have the complete picture at the time. There have also been reports that employees routinely made payments to police officers, believed to total more than £100,000, in return for information.

The payments could leave News Corp – and possibly James Murdoch himself – facing the possibility of prosecution in the US under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) – legislation designed to stamp out bad corporate behaviour that carries severe penalties for anyone found guilty of breaching it – and in the UK under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 which outlaws the interception of communications. [...]

While the UK phone-hacking scandal has been met with outrage in the US, the hacking itself is unlikely to prompt Washington officials into action. But because NI is a subsidiary of the US company, any payments to UK police officers could trigger a justice department inquiry under the FCPA.

I just got back from the eye doctor so my eyes are dilated, and reading/typing are a real challenge for the time being, so please read more here.


Andy Coulson to be arrested over phone hacking tomorrow


Earlier I posted that James Murdoch announced that News of the World would cease operations. It's closing Sunday after 168 years. However, per Sarah Ellison of Vanity Fair on MSNBC just now, they're expanding The Sun tabloid to seven days a week, so they're basically just moving pieces around the board.

But there is action on the legal front. Via The Guardian:

Andy Coulson has been told by police that he will be arrested on Friday morning over suspicions that he knew about, or had direct involvement in, the hacking of mobile phones during his editorship of the News of the World.

The Guardian understands that a second arrest is also to be made in the next few days of a former senior journalist at the paper.

Wild guess: Rebekah Brooks?

Coulson was David Cameron's director of communications until last January, when he resigned.

Coulson was editor of The News of the World between 2003 and 2007. A close friend and deputy of News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks when she edited the paper, Coulson resigned a few weeks before the paper's royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed after admitting intercepting messages on royal aides' phones.

It would be so loverly if they nabbed Rupert the Wonder Sharpei.

More details here.

H/t: Keith Olbermann


James Murdoch: News of the World to cease operations


I got a late start today, opened my email, and saw this:

News of the World executive James Murdoch says the British tabloid, at the center of accusations into the illegal hacking of cellphones, will publish its last issue Sunday.

More soon at

And this:

The tabloid at the center of the British phone hacking is to be closed after a final, ad-free Sunday edition this weekend, according to a top official at News Corp., James Murdoch, in a sudden statement that underscored the devastating effect of allegations that targets included not only a 13-year-old murder victim but also relatives of fallen soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read More:

And this, in a CNN email alert:

Britain's embattled News of the World, the world's top-selling English-language newspaper, will shut down after Sunday's edition. The scandal-hit tabloid, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has been at the center of phone hacking charges.

Victims of the alleged phone hacking, where reporters are said to have obtained PIN numbers and listened to voicemails, include a teenage murder victim, celebrities, royalty and at least one man killed in the 2005 London bombing.

Murdoch has condemned the allegations against News of the World as "deplorable and unacceptable." Murdoch's media empire extends to the U.S. to include Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.

And this via Yahoo:

  News Int'l says some 200 tabloid staffers to be laid off, can apply for other company jobs

That's how I like to start my day, although unemployment is never good news.


Phony indignation = news


By GottaLaff

This is one of my pet topics. What was once hard news has gradually morphed into tabloid gossip, shouting matches, and bi-polar self-righteousness that is passed off as fair and balanced reporting.

The news dee jays and spokesmodels are like permissive, self-serving parents who enable rapt children who plug into frothy politics like they were narcotic iPods.

And so the viewing audience is hooked on manufactured drama the way Boss Limpdong is addicted to Oxycontin:

It's appropriate that a book about the 2008 campaign -- Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's newly published "Game Change" -- has given us yet another example in which phony outrage over an out-of-context sound bite captivates the media all out of proportion to the offensiveness of the remark. The statement was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's 2008 comment that he expected Obama to fare better electorally than previous black presidential aspirants partly because of his lighter skin tone and lack of "Negro dialect" -- a term, incidentally, that the "Google Books" search engine finds in 3,780 publications, all before this year, none apparently racist. [...]

The most obvious reason is that it's a political game perfectly suited for our new news cycle. Episodes like the Reid comment provide "catnip for the news media," as Obama said, because of the new rhythms of cable TV and blogging, which intensify the old talk-radio pattern: polarized and combative, with guest experts and pundits chosen to parrot each side's arguments with requisite rage. Verbal missteps work well for cable because they require little explanation (so the fight can begin quickly); they lend themselves to simple partisan battles; and viewers can readily align their own emotions with one side or the other.

The media, of course, reflect our politics, and a second reason these flaps are so common lately is that they fit well with our divided and mutually suspicious condition. [...]

Then there's a third, less obvious reason that the outrage game is thriving: its connection to the politics of race. [...]

Ultimately, explaining all the subtleties of a linguistic concept like "Negro dialect" -- or any other touchy subjects that could trigger such an episode -- demands more time, patience and intellectual precision than the leading producers and avid consumers of our breakneck political discussions wish to indulge.

David Greenberg is a professor of history and journalism and media studies at Rutgers University and the author of "Nixon's Shadow: The History of an Image" and other books.

Much more here.


I rest my case


By GottaLaff

How many times have I posted rants about how tabloidy the not-news media has become, and how sad and frustrating it is to watch the Tee Vee Machine these days as they concentrate on Tiger Woods instead of Afghanistan? An uninformed public will inevitably lead to a deterioration in democracy.

I was speaking about that very thing on the Angie Coiro Radio Show last Friday night, in reference to my Teen Idles post.

I rest my case:

"I mentioned that I was in Asia on this trip thinking about the economy, when I sat down for a round of interviews. Not one of them asked me about Asia. Not one of them asked me about the economy. I was asked several times about had I read Sarah Palin's book. (Laughter.) True. But it's an indication of how our political debate doesn't match up with what we need to do and where we need to go."

-- President Obama, quoted by Time, about the American television network correspondents who interviewed him while in Asia.