The baby’s guirrel friend got nervous when she saw him racing across the campus with Pootie the Precious in hot pursuit. I assured her that they often jog together for fun and exercise. As if on cue, they finished their run and came over for a drink. The baby’s guirrel friend was relieved, until Pootie the Precious leaned over and began coughing.
“Is she okay?” the guirrel friend asked.
“Oh, she’s fine,” the baby replied. “She’s just hacking up a hairball.”
Kinda like Rupert Murdoch.
On Sunday, Murdoch’s London tabloid News of the World announced it was closing in the wake of popular, advertiser, and legal reactions to the ongoing phone-hacking scandal. The hacking began in 2005 and involved members of the British royal family and other public figures. In 2009, evidence developed that hacking victims also included the military and police, and earlier this year even the family of a murdered schoolgirl. Now evidence shows a News of the World investigator may also have targeted the families of dead soldiers and victims of the July 7, 2005 terrorist attacks, other murdered children, Scotland Yard investigators, and perhaps American families of 9/11 victims.
The paper may also have bribed British police officers to get information. As Murdoch’s NewsCorp is an American company, that would violate U.S. as well as British law, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) have called for a congressional investigation. CREW director Melanie Sloan said she would “usually have no chance” with such a request, but Americans’ support for the families of 9/11 victims may push Congress to act.
While the British Press Complaints Commission (PCC) played down the charges in a 2009 report, last week they admitted that report was flawed. British Prime Minister David Cameron has called for an independent body to investigate media wrongdoing, rather than the self-regulation of the PCC.
As BPI’s roving reporter, I hope the British don’t do that. Quasi-government investigations of the media invite political suppression, and we should remember that the investigation of NewsCorp was spearheaded by the press, specifically, The Guardian. Media self-regulation worked here. It just didn’t work through the PCC. NewsCorp employees who broke laws should be prosecuted. Some already have been, and others doubtless will be.
The rest of us should not have to choke on Rupert Murdoch’s hairball.
Good day and good nuts.