The News of the World and the Murdoch empire

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The Daily Mail: Wendi’s crush on Blair revealed: Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife wrote of ‘warm feelings’ as it emerges that tycoon banned former PM from summit after he said ‘It’s me or Tony’
— Intimate note by Wendi Deng fuels Murdoch and Blair’s feud
— Ex-PM banned from summit after tycoon said: ‘It’s me or Tony’
— Blair and Murdoch, once allies, now have a ‘terminal’ rift, claim sources
17 June
FILE: Rupert Murdoch Files For Divorce

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Rupert Murdoch’s third marriage was doomed from the start — ‘jaw-dropping’ events lead to couple’s divorce
(The Telegraph via National Post) Wendi Deng, the continent-hopping, career-swapping, cream pie assailant-whacking wife of Rupert Murdoch, has proved only so adept at life on the big stage. Her talents are many, but ever since she married Rupert aboard his 155 ft yacht 14 years ago, the odds have been stacked against her.
14 June
Rupert Murdoch-Wendi Deng divorce story gets juicier
(USA Today) Curiouser and curiouser. Day Two of the Rupert Murdorch-Wendi Deng divorce story turned juicier when ex-British prime minister and Deng pal Tony Blair got dragged into it.
13 June
Wendi Deng: Rupert Murdoch files for divorce from third wife

News Corporation boss cites irretrievable breakdown in marriage in divorce filing from woman seen as key player in media empire
(The Guardian) Murdoch, 82, met Deng in 1997 at a company party in Hong Kong. They were married two years later, less than a month after his divorce from ex-wife Anna Murdoch was finalised after 32 years of marriage.
The couple are believed to have filed for joint custody of their children but there were no details of any settlement. Murdoch has cited irretrievable breakdown in marriage for more than six months as the reason for the divorce. In the divorce filing released on Wednesday, Murdoch’s lawyers said that the “relationship between husband and wife had broken down irretrievably”.

2012

24 July
News of the World The News of the World scandal has grown too big to include in the all-embracing Media Matters post; the twists and turns of the Murdoch ‘family’ saga likely will continue to entertain and scandalize us for some time to come.
The Guardian has led the investigation, as has been pointed out by several commentators and their comprehensive coverage of News Corp is a must-read ; the BBC offers a Timeline of the scandal going back to 2000 and the appointment of Rebekah Brooks as editor of News of the World
CSR in the Media: Fall-out From News of the World “Hackgate”
The first edition of NoW in 1843 proclaimed:
“Our motto is truth. Our practice is the fearless advocacy of the truth’. Now they say that ‘Here at NI, we concern ourselves with more than just news headlines. We think about the people that make them, the communities that read them and the societies that shape them.”
CSR in the media brings
with it a unique set of challenges. There needs to be balance of transparency and privacy especially when dealing with vulnerable members of the society such as minors, and victims of crime and war. There needs to be a certain kind of discretion to decide when exposure causes more harm than good by publishing bodies.
The core of the scandal involves illegal means of obtaining ‘news.’ Not only did it involve hacking phones of individuals, it also involved allegedly bribing the police. When such matters come to light, the company not only suffers a massive financial loss but also a loss of reputation that may take many years to regain. (July 2011)
Untangling Rebekah Brooks
Vanity Fair, February 2012
Rebekah Brooks was running the News of the World at 31, and Rupert Murdoch’s entire British newspaper empire at 41. A virtual member of the Murdoch family, close to Prime Ministers Blair, Brown, and Cameron, she relished her power—until the phone-hacking scandal took her down. Talking to Brooks’s former colleagues and friends, Suzanna Andrews uncovers the woman wrapped in the enigma, the keys to her meteoric rise, and the latest object of her incandescent ambition.

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Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson

Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks to be charged over phone hacking
PM’s former aide and ex-News International chief will face charges in connection with hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone
(The Guardian) British prosecutors say they have the evidence to prove there was a criminal conspiracy at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper involving former senior executives, including Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, to hack the phones of more than 600 people including the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Announcing the charging of eight people over the phone-hacking scandal on Tuesday, prosecutors alleged the tabloid’s targets ranged from a victim of the 7 July 2005 terrorist attacks to celebrities and senior Labour politicians.
21 July
Rupert Murdoch quits newspaper boards in U.S., U.K.
Move descibed as ‘corporate housecleaning exercise’
(AP via CBC) That was a reference to News Corp.’s announcement June 28 that it would separate its publishing business from its much more profitable media and entertainment business — forming two distinct, publicly traded companies. Under those proposed changes, Murdoch, 81, will chair both of the companies, although he would continue as chief executive of the media and entertainment company only.
Saturday’s announcement suggests that Murdoch may be distancing himself from his British newspaper interests, which have been shaken to the core by a widespread phone hacking scandal.
Move descibed as ‘corporate housecleaning exercise’
4 July
Phone Hacking: A Year After Milly Dowler Scandal, There Is No End In Sight To Crisis
(HuffPost) “News of the World hacked Milly Dowler’s phone during police hunt.”
Rupert’s son James, once presumed to be his heir apparent, has seen his reputation crash and burn due to his role in the scandal. His trusted deputy Rebekah Brooks has been arrested. So has Andy Coulson, a former Murdoch editor and top communications adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron. So have over 40 other people, all in connection with phone hacking or the bribery of public officials. Brooks and her husband are facing a criminal trial. Top government ministers have had their cozy dealings with the Murdochs exposed. The head of Scotland Yard has resigned. A huge public inquiry into press ethics has been running for months. There are three separate police investigations into illegal activity by the media. … there has been no rest in the scandal. It moves forward relentlessly. Events on Wednesday were proof of that, as three more people were arrested. It’s almost a certainty that the next year could be just as tumultuous as the last.
15 May
A tabloid tale: The rise and fall of Rebekah Brooks
Rebekah Brooks Charged: Former News Of The World Editor Faces Criminal Trial As Part Of Phone Hacking Probe
20 April
Hacking scandal: the net tightens on the Murdochs
Legal campaign against News Corp in US gathers momentum as Rupert and James Murdoch prepare to appear before Leveson next week
(The Independent) Rupert Murdoch’s grip on his media empire was dramatically challenged yesterday after his company was labelled a “toxic shadow state” which launched a dirty tricks campaign against MPs and now faces a salvo of phone-hacking claims in the United States.

2011

2 September
Murdoch gets raise, $12.5 million bonus
News Corp. cites his leadership through the economic downturn
Rupert Murdoch has finally gotten his comeuppance for the phone-hacking scandal that rocked his media conglomerate, News Corp., this year: a $12.5-million cash bonus.
In all, the 80-year-old tycoon took in $33 million in compensation in the fiscal year that closed at the end of June, just before the scandal erupted into a full-blown, pie-in-the-face crisis, the Guardian reports. That’s a 47 percent raise.
His son James Murdoch, who became the company’s chief operating officer in March, was offered a $6 million bonus of his own as part of a 74 percent raise. He turned down the bonus for the time being, calling it “the right thing to do.” He still made off with $12 million, including a $3 million base salary and $8.3 million in stock awards, the Los Angeles Times calculated.
23 July
Murdoch and the News of the World chief reporter he didn’t know
Max Mosley has called into doubt Rupert Murdoch‘s claim that he was unaware of the identity of the News of the World‘s chief reporter.
During questioning at the Commons media select committee on Tuesday, Murdoch was asked by Labour MP Tom Watson: “In 2008, why did you not dismiss News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck following the Mosley case?”
Murdoch replied: “I’d never heard of him.”
That reply surprised Mosley, the former motor sport chief who was the subject of a controversial NotW exposure of his private life.
22 July
Phone hacking: US authorities preparing to subpoena News Corp

Investigation launched into whether News Corp broke anti-bribery and hacking laws in US
(The Guardian) The judicial screws are tightening on Rupert Murdoch’s empire in America as the US justice department prepares to subpoena News Corporation in its investigation into whether the company broke anti-bribery and hacking laws on both sides of the Atlantic.
21 July
Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation Last of the moguls
Rupert Murdoch is the last member of a dying breed. Time for him to step back
(The Economist) Mr Murdoch will not be the last builder of a media empire. Michael Bloomberg has created a powerful firm and a political career as mayor of New York, although he has wisely kept the two separate. Proto-moguls like Mexico’s Emilio Azcárraga are appearing in the emerging world. But the era of the global mogul is over. Mr Murdoch would do his shareholders and his family a service if he recognised that, and stepped back.
News International shunned by Team GB’s Olympic 2012 athletes
Contract heralded by Rebekah Brooks giving News International titles exclusive access to Olympics stars is torn up
(The Guardian) The contract gave the embattled newspaper group’s titles – the Times, Sunday Times, Sun and now-closed News of the World – exclusive access to British athletes as they prepared for the games, and allowed them to use the slogan “Official Newspaper of Team 2012”.
20 July
Murdoch’s Enemies
The wrong and the right reasons for hating the media mogul
(Slate) The phone-hacking scandal has revealed the thinness of Murdoch’s friendships in Parliament, but also the limits of enemy-making and reverse ferreting. Today, Murdoch’s “friends” in U.K. politics are running from him as fast as they can, making the likelihood he’ll ever enjoy his status as a backdoor man at 10 Downing Street very slim. The scandal, Rupert’s doddering performance at the hearing, and the shuttering of News of the World may have defanged the Murdoch bite and can only embolden his many foes.
Murdoch’s media empire, which once had such a reputation for ruthlessness, seems to have lost its will to fight. Not one of the seven defensive editorials and opinion pieces published this week about the scandal in Murdoch’s U.S. flagship, the Wall Street Journal, has any teeth. It’s hard to inspire terror in your enemies when all you can do is gum them.
19 July
The Economist gives the flavor of the committee hearing: Rupert and James Murdoch before Parliament
More comprehensive coverage from Reuters: WRAPUP 13-’Humble’ Murdoch defends record, attacked by protester
‘Charlie’s Angel’ Wendi Deng avenges Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch’s wife appeared to land a right hook on a protester who threw a custard pie at her husband
18 July
No novelist would have dared suggest the latest twist in the plot: Hacking whistleblower found dead
(The Guardian) Sean Hoare, who was first named News of the World journalist to make hacking allegations, found dead at Watford home.
Reuters again leads the way with Special report: Inside Rebekah Brooks’s News of the World
15 July
The Reuters report is a pretty thorough round-up of the incredibly fast-breaking news surrounding the Murdoch empire.
Murdoch aide Brooks quits as head of UK newspapers
(Reuters) – Rebekah Brooks resigned as chief executive of News International on Friday, yielding to political and investor pressure over a phone hacking scandal that has shaken Rupert Murdoch’s media empire on both sides of the Atlantic.
Profile: News International chief Rebekah Brooks
(BBC) Rebekah Brooks – who has now quit as News International chief executive and been arrested over phone hacking and corruption – conquered the macho world of tabloid journalism with astonishing speed. What was behind her rise to power?
Rebekah Brooks – as she became following a second marriage – courted power but avoided publicity.
The phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s News International put her on the back foot, and in the public eye.
Murdoch admits to ‘minor mistakes’
(FT) The media executive backs his son James’s handling of the phone hacking crisis and says a committee will investigate allegations against the company
14 July
TIME Cover story Tabloid Bites Man
(The Guardian) FBI launches investigation into allegations that 9/11 victims’ phones were targets — The launch of the FBI inquiry amounts to the first official inquiry within the US into News Corporation activities. The move brings the scandal within Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper division closer to his American home and to News Corporation’s headquarters in Manhattan.
13 July
News Corp. pulls plug on BSkyB takeover
Murdoch, savaged in parliament, pulls British TV bid
(Ottawa Citizen) “Now it’s a new era. Political leaders will be falling over themselves to avoid close contact with media conglomerates. This is a turning of the tide. It’s parliament versus Murdoch.”
11 July
Scandal Sheets
In Britain, the Guardian takes on Rupert Murdoch’s cynical view of what newspaper readers want to read.

By Christopher Hitchens
(Slate) Of course, the daily handful of people on whom these heartless intrusions are visited are highly upset and distraught. But the opposite effect is produced on the many millions of people who are not thus violated and who hotly desire to read about those who are. When reporters speak so easily of the great influence exerted on politicians by Murdoch’s papers, what they really mean is by Murdoch’s readers. His only real knack lies in knowing what they want. And what they want are invasions of privacy—and plenty of them. …
The comparative fallout of the scandal on Britain’s two main political parties is probably fairly even. Successive Labour governments maintained much the longer and warmer relationship with Murdoch, while Conservative Party leader David Cameron did employ a former News of the World editor who is implicated in the phone-hacking scandal in a senior government media position (and Cameron has, aside from professional politics, himself pursued no career except that of a PR man for TV companies). The most neglected aspect of the entire imbroglio is this. Most of the allegations of shady practice against the Murdoch octopus have come from another newspaper. Under the editorship of Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian has been engaged in breaching an old unspoken code of the British press racket—that “dog does not eat dog.” The prime minister’s office showed itself incapable of conducting an investigation; the courts and the prosecutors appeared to have no idea of the state of the law, and the police were too busy collecting their tip-off fees. Admittedly, it isn’t usually the job of these institutions to keep the press honest. (Indeed, I could swear that I read somewhere that the whole concept was the other way about.) Still, it’s encouraging to record that when the press needed a housecleaning, there was a paper ready to take on the job.
News of the World closure announced – Thursday 7 July 2011
The News of the World is to close, James Murdoch has announced. It follows a series of revelations that the paper illegally hacked into phones, and amid calls for Rebekah Brooks to resign. The News International chief executive is said to retain the support of Rupert Murdoch

News of the world sign

The News of the World is to close after Sunday’s edition, following revelations of its illegal phone hacking.
Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Jeremy Kinsman:Don’t cry for Rupert Murdoch
The press tycoon broke all the codes essential to a democracy
Media outlets love media stories, but reader beware — the News of the World phone-hacking scandal is about much more than the lack of scruples in Britain’s gutter press.
To the Guardian, which outed its competitor, the scandal “is what major corruption looks like.” And, indeed, it is about power and accountability in a democracy. Even placid happy-face Canada should listen up.
8 July
Jack Shafer: Rupert Murdoch, Paper Tiger
The phone-hacking scandal undoes the media mogul.
(Slate) Blaming “the press” for the phone-hacking scandal, as Prime Minister David Cameron did Friday in a press conference, and calling for a new regulatory apparatus to govern the press, which he also did, ignores the obvious: It has been the press—make that the Guardian—that uncovered the phone-hacking scandal, payments by the press to the police, the various cover-ups by the police and Rupert Murdoch’s enterprises, the possible destruction of crime evidence, and the obstruction of justice. The press—not the police or a government inquest.
7 July
Phone hacking scandal closes News of the World
(WaPost) The News, a feisty, hugely profitable daily that has been continuously published for 168 years, will cease publishing on Sunday, said James Murdoch. BBC ; Guardian
5 July
This is simply appalling – it will be instructive to see how the British justice system punishes the News of the World’s despicable actions 
‘News of the World’ hacked Milly Dowler’s phone
(The Independent) The News of the World interfered with the police inquiry into the disappearance of the Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler by hacking into her mobile phone, police sources have confirmed. As the hacking scandal grows, where does it leave News International’s chief executive?
12 April
Hugh Grant: The bugger, bugged
(The New Statesman) After a chance meeting with a former News of the World executive who told him his phone had been hacked, Hugh Grant couldn’t resist going back to him – with a hidden tape recorder – to find out if there was more to the story . .
When I broke down in my midlife crisis car in remotest Kent just before Christmas, a battered white van pulled up on the far carriageway. To help, I thought. But when the driver got out he started taking pictures with a long-lens camera. He came closer to get better shots and I swore at him. Then he offered me a lift the last few miles to my destination. I suspected his motives and swore at him some more. (I’m not entirely sympathetic towards paparazzi.) Then I realised I couldn’t get a taxi and was late. So I had to accept the lift.
He turned out to be an ex-News of the World investigative journalist and paparazzo, now running a pub in Dover. He still kept his camera in the car’s glove box for just this kind of happy accident.

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