The latest on the News International scandal is that it wasn’t just “one bad apple,” News Of The World. It was also The Sun and the Sunday Times. Those outfits apparently resorted to various nefarious and illegal practices to dig up information on Labor Party leader Gordon Brown and his family — even obtaining the medical records of his four month old son:
Confidential health records for Brown’s family have reached the media on two different occasions. In October 2006, the then editor of the Sun, Rebekah Brooks, contacted the Browns to tell them that they had obtained details from the medical file of their four-month-old son, Fraser, which revealed that the boy was suffering from cystic fibrosis. This appears to have been a clear breach of the Data Protection Act, which would allow such a disclosure only if it was in the public interest. Friends of the Browns say the call caused them immense distress, since they were only coming to terms with the diagnosis, which had not been confirmed. The Sun published the story.
Another breach of human decency by Rebekah Brooks, for whom 200 News of the World employees were sacrificed? I’d say she’s toast at this point. And now there are tabloid rumors that 9/11 victims in the U.S. were targeted, too.
So now that we know it wasn’t just News of the World, that this scandal involves more than one Murdoch media outlet, my initial question seems even more pertinent. Did it happen here? Hello?
Gawker reminds me that Les Hinton should not be overlooked:
What’s less clear is if there are any tactical moves that might save Les Hinton, the CEO of Dow Jones (right), who oversees the Wall Street Journal. Hinton ran News International during the initial, abortive investigations into phone hacking in 2005 and 2006, and assured Parliament—falsely, it is now known—that the practice was limited at News International and that all the culprits had been rooted out. Now Reuters and other news outlets are turning their attention toward Hinton and wondering whether the man in charge of Murdoch’s American flagship helped engineer a massive cover-up or was merely galactically stupid.
Ah yes, stupid or corrupt … it always comes back to that question, doesn’t it?