Comprehensive chronicle of the British phone-hacking scandal that cost Rupert Murdoch part of his coveted media empire.
Revelations that Murdoch employees hijacked the private voice mails of thousands of people (including a missing girl who was later discovered murdered), not only sparked the closure of the 168-year-old News of the World tabloid in 2011, it also gave the House of Parliament and U.K. police undeniable black eyes. Member of Parliament Watson and Independent correspondent Hickman delve deeply into the sordid mess, a tabloid hell in which the only imperatives were to sell more newspapers, cultivate power and destroy enemies. The authors detail the depths of the illegal phone-hacking scandal as well as the payoffs, coverups and intimidation that followed. The authors also show the bulk of Britain’s famed Fleet Street press and much of the Metropolitan Police force casting a blind eye to the "dark arts" practiced by Murdoch’s henchmen (and henchwomen). Members of Parliament, meanwhile, and even the occupants of Number 10 Downing Street, routinely kowtowed to the Aussie power broker’s will. Readers will be continually taken aback by the level of hubris involved in the whole affair. For example, Prime Minister David Cameron blithely appointed News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his communications director just four months after Murdoch's man quit the newspaper in disgrace. Coulson was eventually busted on conspiracy charges in 2011 in connection to the phone-hacking scandal and payoffs to police. Other Murdoch confidants, like former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, would follow Coulson down. The story, however, only started to gain traction after the New York Times covered the scandal. Interestingly, it might now be left to Watson and Hickman’s book to spark new investigations into Murdoch’s activities on this side of the Atlantic.
Required reading for news junkies and those interested in understanding Murdoch’s seemingly ironclad grip on the news.