Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire media impressario who gave you Bill O'Reilly, the latest incarnation of Glenn Beck, the New York Post, and other wonders of the modern media world, also owns some of the largest newspapers in the United Kingdom. And Over There, he's allegedly up to no good:
Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.
The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public figures and to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills. Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars were all targets of the private investigators.
Today, the Guardian reveals details of the suppressed evidence which may open the door to hundreds more legal actions by victims of News Group, the Murdoch company that publishes the News of the World and the Sun, as well as provoking police inquiries into reporters who were involved and the senior executives responsible for them.
My initial reaction was to wonder whether Murdoch's evil henchmen could be up to the same tricks here in the States. But then it occurred to me that I couldn't think of a single interesting news story that Fox News Channel has ever broken, which suggests it's unlikely that they've been going to all that trouble to spy on people. Here in America, Murdoch makes a boatload more money "reporting" on the warped interconnections of Bill O'Reilly's brain than he would by hacking some senator's text messages.