This Is Investigative Reporting? News Corp. Allegedly Hacked Into Phones, Paid Off People To Silence Them

from the hmm... dept

We keep being told that only newspapers can do "real" investigative reporting, even though we've seen plenty of evidence of others doing quite impressive investigative reporting without having a background in journalism. And, now, we find out that some investigative reporting by those "real" journalists apparently involved breaking the law, violating individuals' privacy... and then paying people off to keep quiet about it. At least that's the charge from The Guardian against Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. According to the Guardian's report (and, yes, the Guardian is a real newspaper and appears to have done a nice investigative job here -- we're not saying newspapers can't do good investigative reporting), there's growing evidence that a lot of folks involved in Murdoch's News Group Newspapers were involved in hiring people to hack into thousands of mobile phones to record and transcribe phone calls between various politicians and celebrities, and also involved tricking "government agencies, banks, phone companies and others... into handing over confidential information." And? When that evidence started to come out, they apparently paid up a bunch of hush money and convinced a court to seal the files. Again, this isn't to implicate all newspapers (the fact that another newspaper figured this out is great). But the idea that newspaper investigative reporting is somehow "pure" once again seems to be in question.

Filed Under: hacking, newspapers, privacy, reporting, spying
Companies: news corp.

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  1. icon
    PT (profile), 10 Jul 2009 @ 2:19am

    "the Guardian being an openly left-wing newspaper, which actively campaigns for its causes."

    And Murdoch's media are, um, openly right-wing and actively campaign for their causes. Your point is?

    They were paying for illegal content at least twenty years ago. It was common knowledge that News Group would buy embarrassing or scandalous material on any celebrity, however it was obtained. Back in the day when cell phones were analog and you could listen in to the towers with a scanner, an ex sigint guy I worked with used to keep a recorder running all day. One day he recorded one of Princess Diana's conversations with her lover, and sold it to News Group for a tidy sum. The Sun went ahead and published it. There was some critical comment, but no investigation or prosecution.

    I submit that the publication is hard evidence of illegal activity. As for why there was no action taken, that's an area for speculation, at least until another newspaper manages to uncover how the decision was arrived at, and by whom. Go Guardian.

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