The story of News Corps ever unraveling corruption is still far from over. This week’s revelations in the News Corp drama highlights the lies in the Murdochs’ prior testimony to parliament, and demands that more questions be answered regarding who knew what and did what. At this point the level of criminal activity and cover-up exceeds anything seen in recent history. And all signs continue to point to a need to replace Joel Klein with an independent entity that can conduct a thorough and unbiased internal investigation.
Let’s review the latest. There’s Clive Goodman’s letter from 2007, in which he made clear that high level News International executives were aware of the use of wire tapping. As Goodman wrote, “This practice was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the editor.”
And then there’s the fact that, directly after Goodman sent this letter to News Corp, following his release from prison, News International paid him nearly a quarter of a million pounds. This payout being strikingly larger than what was previously claimed by the company.
On top of all of this, one of the Murdochs’ hired law firms, Harbottle & Lewis, has come out and claimed that some of the evidence the Murdochs presented was “hard to credit”, “self-serving” and “inaccurate and misleading”. When your own lawyers come out against you, you know you have a serious problem.
While all this news was breaking, it was also learned that Rupert’s daughter, Elisabeth, has been given $214 million plus in payment for the sale of her company to her father’s company.
And then, as I write this, news comes in that another News of the World reporter has been arrested. James Desborough was arrested today on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications. What’s particularly significant is that after the hacking incident the British police suspect him of, he moved to the US to continue to work for the company out of Los Angeles. This raises the question of whether he continued hacking practices while in the US, and, if so, how widespread this practice was among other News of the World journalists’ in the US.
All of this new documentation was released this week by either British law enforcement or by the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, and it should have a devastating impact upon the Murdoch investigation.
The Murdochs, without question, should be forced to reappear in front of the committee to account for the lies they presented in their last appearance, and to address this new information.
But more than that, all this new information coming from outside investigations highlights how inadequate it is to have Joel Klein continue to lead the internal News Corp investigation. There is clearly a lot of details of corruption that remain to be exposed, and Klein as a hired inside guy is by no means the person able to do that. It is important that the outside investigations continue to shine a light on the facts of the scandal, but the internal investigation must also have at least some potential for true accountability. By which, I mean accountability to the truth, and not to providing further protection to Murdoch. Joel Klein must be replaced.
As Outfoxed exposed seven years ago, the Murdochs run a company based on conglomerate control, corruption and a full lack of ethics. Rigorous investigation into their history and present practices needs to continue. The Murdochs must be called forward to answer for their crimes. Father and son both need to resign. And Joel Klein needs to be replaced. The only way to move forward from such a web of corruption is to cut off the sources of it, and to create true accountability for our journalistic structures.