Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Independent On Whether The Hacking Scandal Ignites In The U.S.

The Independent has a great summary of the Week That Was at the Leveson inquiry and where things may go from there.

The Independent also reports
that Jeremy Hunt, a cabinet secretary in Cameron's government, is hanging by a thread over allegations he misled Parliament - and if he goes, the firewall protecting George Osborne and David Cameron goes too.

David Puttnam writes in The Guardian about how Rupert Murdoch undermined democracy.

Vanity Fair covers the "civil war"
going on within News Corporation (and not a surprise, Joel Klein is behind some of the whackings.) Vanity Fair also reports that two former Sun journalists, now accused of hacking crimes, have attempted suicide over the treatment they have received from their former employer, News Corporation.

And we await the Parliamentary committee report on hacking that will be released on Tuesday. Reuters says that report looks to be very critical of Rupert and James Murdoch:

LONDON (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch's tetchy and uncompromising appearance at a British inquiry into phone hacking could come back to haunt him this week when politicians give their verdict on the scandal at his defunct News of the World newspaper.

Three days of grilling at the Leveson judicial press inquiry last week extracted few new facts from Rupert and his son James as the 81-year-old casually threw out insults at politicians and described himself as a victim of a corporate cover-up.

That appearance will only increase pressure on a powerful parliamentary committee to be harsh in its verdict on the scandal, putting Murdoch's News Corp further on the defensive.

"The timing of the select committee report, following the week we've just had at Leveson, is crucial," a person familiar with the thinking and mechanics of the committee, told Reuters.

"Anyone putting their name to an amendment that supports Rupert and James, or dilutes the criticism of Rupert and James, would look very different now than they would have done a week ago."

Another person familiar with the situation said the report had become much more critical in recent months.

The committee will meet on Monday to vote and agree the final wording for the report, which had originally been expected late last year. It will be published on Tuesday.

I'm still waiting to see how many cases Mark Lewis files against News Corporation here in the United States.

I agree with Michael Wolff that the Obama administration has no will to take on Murdoch during this election season (or perhaps even after that.)

But if revelations come in civil cases brought by Lewis against Murdoch and his media outlets like the NY Post and FOX News, they will not be able to ignore that.

We'll see.

Every time the consensus is reached that the Murdochs have put out the flames on this scandal, the scandal continues to smolder and eventually reignites.

Right now we have three strands of flame on this scandal:

There's the government corruption angle that looks like it is about to take down Jeremy Hunt and threatens to take down George Osborne and David Cameron as well.

There's the TV piracy angle, which has the Murdochs accused of hiring hackers to steal code and use the theft to destroy rivals (a similar accusation was made against a Murdoch-owned advertising paper a few years ago, as reported in the NY Times. The Times reported that News Corporation paid $655 million dollars to make the "embarrassing charges of corporate espionage and anticompetitive behavior go away." )

And finally there is the American angle - with Mark Lewis about to file civil cases against Murdoch for the hacking of British and American citizens here on American soil and for other "dark arts" practiced by Murdoch's media outlets.

So far, Murdoch and his "fixer" Joel Klein have managed to keep those three flames from igniting into one huge conflagration (Reuters reports that Klein was one of Murdoch's "coaches" preparing the 81 year old oligarch for his Leveson inquiry.)

We'll see how much longer they can continue to do that.

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