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July 20, 2011
How Will Murdoch's Mayhem Play Out In U.S.?
The extent to which average Americans care or understand about the debris now being dredged up in the Rupert Murdoch News of the World scandal remains to be seen. Up until now, the hacking drama complete with a brutal murder of a young girl, an 'unexplained' death, arrests of government aides, editors and police officials, bribery, and a humbled multi-billionaire has been fittingly relegated to the land of Shakespeare.
- Shakespeare King Henry IV Part I, Act III
But petitions and calls for investigations into hacked voicemails on this side of the Atlantic have already begun. The Center for American Progress has gathered 12,000 signatures demanding to know whether News Corp reporters violated U.S. law by illegally obtaining phone records here. Democratic Senators Jay Rockefeller, and Barbara Boxer sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting an investigation.
One can only wonder what other "spirits" the Democrats will summon from "the vasty deep" to bring down the guy in charge of that "pretty big megaphone" Fox News. Now Murdoch will not take over control of British Sky Broadcasting; a deal that was in the works just weeks ago.
In 2007 during a closed door inquiry with the House of Lords Communications Committee on media ownership and the news, minutes from the meeting revealed that Murdoch wished to replicate his success with Fox.
The tumultuous hacking debacle which began with the horrific murder of 13-year old Milly Dowler in 2002 eventually led to the arrests of a reporter from News of the World and a private investigator and the resignation of its editor Andy Coulson in 2006.
Coulson claimed to know nothing of the intercepted emails of many public figures and went on to become David Cameron's media chief in 2007 before his election in 2010.
Coulson also worked alongside President Obama's former White House communications director Anita Dunn to help get his boss elected while the opposition was being aided by senior advisers David Axelrod and David Plouffe.
A former Coulson News of the World colleague and whistleblower Sean Hoare told the New York Times last September that Cameron's media adviser "actively encouraged his staff to intercept the calls of celebrities" when he was editor of the paper. Then just last week Hoare went even further stating that reporters bribed law enforcement officials to locate mobile phone signals via "police technology." Coulson denied his old friend's allegations after he was arrested for hacking earlier this month. Prior to Hoare's whistleblowing, "pressure had eased on Mr. Coulson."
The 47-year old Hoare was found dead on Monday after his neighbor told Guardian reporters that he had become increasingly reclusive and paranoid. Hoare told him "someone from the Government was coming to get him."
The scenarios keep unfolding as Murdoch faced questions today before UK's Parliament. During the inquiry a protester rushed up behind the businessman hitting him with a shaving cream pie yelling "you naughty billionaire." Soon after the inquisition Bloomberg reported that the News Corp CEO may step down to try and stop the avalanche threatening to bury the corporation.
For now Murdoch will have to relinquish his dream of owning British Sky Broadcasting and turning it into England's version of Fox News. The multi-leveled intrigue has already cost him financially and if it plays here in the States a new cast of characters emerging from the depths could finally get their revenge.
Read more M. Catharine Evans commentaries at Potter Williams Report
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