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Voicemail Hack Scandal Leads To Closure of UK Tabloid 268

Posted by timothy
from the wait-for-the-rename-and-reorg dept.
Some Bitch writes "Britain's biggest selling Sunday tabloid will close after this Sunday's issue. The tabloid has been embroiled in a voicemail hacking controversy for some time now and the news that they compromised the voicemail of a murdered schoolgirl and paid bribes to Metropolitan police officers for stories kicked off a renewed assault on the paper. The News Corp daily counterpart to Sunday's News of the World is the Sun; the domain sunonsunday.co.uk was registered two days ago."
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Voicemail Hack Scandal Leads To Closure of UK Tabloid

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  • by F34nor (321515) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @06:32PM (#36688578)

    Send that fuck a bill for Iraq while you're at it.

    • Indeed, I think the shell shocked and newly unemployed rats at Arse-of-the-World are about to do just that as we prepare to find out just how solid their "honor among scoundrels" is.
      • by Canazza (1428553)

        Except, like a hydra, cut off one head and two more will take it's place.

        The first, The Sun on Sunday, a Sunday edition of that whacky fun time daily tabloid everyone in Liverpool loves to hate [wikipedia.org], that rants on about paedophiles on page 2 and shows a barely 16 girl baring her breasts on page 3. With the second head likely coming with the full buying out of BSKYB. They'll control the News, Sports, Movies and general Entertainment the majority of people in the UK watch.

        I'll stick with Blogs, BBC News, Film4 and

        • Indeed, there's already some impetus to prevent Murdoch buying BSkyB [38degrees.org.uk] ; that would seem to be a likely reason that he's engaging in this symbolic gesture - to draw attention from this campaign.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @06:33PM (#36688584) Journal

    If the intolerable hyping and biasing of the Casey Anthony trial in complete disregard of the defendant's right to due process isn't enough, there's that whole ordering people to tell lies about science to bias legislation [mediamatters.org] thing.

    • by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @06:40PM (#36688660)

      If the intolerable hyping and biasing of the Casey Anthony trial in complete disregard of the defendant's right to due process isn't enough...

      If you're singling out Fox News for that, you're nuts. Every single news outlet was doing exactly the same thing. It was disgusting.

      • by sconeu (64226) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @06:44PM (#36688710) Homepage Journal

        Yeah. Isn't Nancy Grace on MSNBC?

        By all that's holy, I cannot stand that woman!

        • No; in her house at CNN, dead Nancy Grace waits dreaming.

          • by Froboz23 (690392)
            Nancy Grace has interpreted your statement as a death threat. You have been tried in the media and found guilty of attempted murder. Please report to your local police station for sentencing.

            When asked for comment on the Slashdot death-threat case, Mrs. Grace replied "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Nancy Grace CNN wgah'nagl fhtagn!"
        • by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @07:11PM (#36688926) Journal

          She's on CNN [cnn.com].
          (My wife is unfortunately an addict of that damnable show).

          Personally, I have zero respect for someone whose very paycheck apparently requires rhetorically feeding from the literal corpses of children, but that aside and to be fair, it wasn't just her, it was the whole damned channel's prime-time lineup: Dr. Drew, "Issues", and the rest of that particularly incestuous bucket of shows.

          To be fair to Fox, they really didn't invest nearly as much time in the whole affair. I don't think MSNBC did all that much on it either, but in their case I don't know offhand. CNN on the other hand seemed like they should have named themselves the Casey News Network and been done with it. :/

        • "Terrorist fist bump??" For the life of me i will never understand how she wasnt laughed out of the industry for that one.
      • by mjwx (966435)

        If the intolerable hyping and biasing of the Casey Anthony trial in complete disregard of the defendant's right to due process isn't enough...

        If you're singling out Fox News for that, you're nuts. Every single news outlet was doing exactly the same thing. It was disgusting.

        Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't make it right.

        I'm glad here in Oz I've got the ABC (public broadcaster) and SBS (hybrid public/private broadcaster) who have to maintain standards of impartiality as well as the BBC from the UK.

        I'd hate to think what life would be like if the likes of Murdoch and Packer had a news monopoly.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      Wait what? News isn't always 100% fact and may contain opinion? The same thing could be said for CNN, MSNBC, the BBC or heck, even Slashdot. Nothing is without bias.
      • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @06:44PM (#36688716) Homepage

        Nothing is without bias.

        Yes, but honest news outfits do everything in their power to minimize their bias, rather than reveling in it like Fox and the other NewsCorp properties do.

        • Yes, but honest news outfits do everything in their power to minimize their bias...

          Replace the word "bias" with "drama" and I'd call you a damned liar. :)

          That said, where is this honest news outfit on US television* these days? They all seem rather wrapped up in their own particular slants, each catering to a clearly definable ideology.

          * (the Beeb I actually have some respect for in this aspect)

          • That said, where is this honest news outfit on US television* these days? They all seem rather wrapped up in their own particular slants, each catering to a clearly definable ideology.

            Not that I live in the US, but surely there's some respectability still left at the news divisions of the broadcast networks, NBC/ABC/CBS? Or are those marginalised too?

            That said, I think you'd be hard-pressed to suggest that CNN is catering to a clearly definable ideology.

        • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @07:21PM (#36688992)
          Right, and what "honest news outfits" are out there? None of them. Because quite honestly, no one really cares about news. The masses want their mindless celebrity gossip. The left wants to hear alarmist predictions about what republicans are doing, the right wants to hear alarmist predictions about what democrats are doing. Others want local "mush" stories about a three-legged dog, giving the elderly a free air conditioner, etc. But no one really wants facts and figures. And even if there is a market for facts, how do you even get reliable facts? Everyone with the capability to gather facts will always have an incentive to skew the facts. Even "neutral" organizations such as universities and publicly funded studies have a desire to gain more funds, which either means agreeing with the powers that fund them (usually the government) or being alarmist to gain more funds. Because, no funds mean no jobs.

          Bias is human and as long as humans are involved in some way, news will have bias.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by artor3 (1344997)

            False equivalency bullshit, as usually from Fox apologists. There's a difference of scale. Fox, and right-wing pundits in generally, are far more likely to demagogue than their left-wing counterparts. These are the people who actively pushed the idea that the Democrats were trying to set up "death panels" to kill off the elderly. Find me something on Rachel Maddow that is even remotely on par with that.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Darkness404 (1287218)
              And like usual, yet another person saying that bias exists on the other side but not -my- favourite news agency. And surely not in my point of view. For example, look at MSNBC trying to stereotype all people protesting health care as white racists. Just take a look at this news clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYKQJ4-N7LI&feature=player_embedded#at=15 [youtube.com] and how concerned they are that these "white racists" are carrying guns so close to the first black president. When in reality, the guy carrying the "a
          • by sqldr (838964)
            Regardless of what people think of the BBC (or other countries' state-run media), it's this exact reason that people are prepared to pay the license fee in the UK. They don't have to "sell" news - they get the money anyway. Their obligation is more towards the BBC Trust (the third party organisation which monitors them) and following their mandate, which states that their output (not just news) must be to "entertain, inform, and be accessible". This includes stuff like making program in Scots Gaelic even
            • And yet even the BBC has bias, less on their actual reporting, which is pretty fair, but at least on their website and from the BBC newscasts I've seen on television, they seem to be fairly selective which stories they carry, now, part of this may be from me not being British and therefore having a different view of what is important, but the BBC seems to carry a fairly hefty center-left slant, and unabashedly pro-government in a lot of their stances, rarely questioning the necessity of many government prog
              • by sqldr (838964)

                and unabashedly pro-government in a lot of their stances, rarely questioning the necessity of many government programs

                In the past, pretty much every government in the UK has complained that the BBC is anti-government, regardless of which party it was. What you do get is that on "Newsnight", Jeremy Paxman will grill anyone about anything. There's been some spectacular youtube moments over the years from that. Hmm.. from the UK version of the 'politics' page (we get a different layout to the internationa

          • There is always going to be some bias, but at least good news sources are discreate or on slight in their bias. The problem with Fox it's not really bias, but whatever view point that will get the blood flowing. News is meant to be informational, not some action movie.

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      On that subject, Murdoch's daily UK tabloid "The Sun" is also in the dock over almost exactly the same thing:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/sun-and-mirror-in-the-dock-over-coverage-of-joanna-yeates-murder-2307524.html [independent.co.uk]

  • shell game...? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lead Butthead (321013) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @06:33PM (#36688590) Journal

    so they close down one tabloid and move all the employees to another?

    • I'm not sure why exactly they're quoting him (as opposed to any other famous Brit), but the BBC reports actor Hugh Grant saying "I think this is a cynical management manoeuvre".

      Bingo.

      • by rishistar (662278)
        Hugh Grant did a reverse sting operation on a journalist who stated that Rebekah Brookes was well aware about the phone hacking operations. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/apr/06/phone-hacking-hugh-grant-taped [guardian.co.uk]
    • Re:shell game...? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Catmeat (20653) <mtm.sys@uea@ac@uk> on Thursday July 07, 2011 @07:09PM (#36688912)

      so they close down one tabloid and move all the employees to another?

      No, it's cleverer than that. The close a Sunday tabloid and move a small number of staff to the daily stablemate, just enough additional hands for it to operate effectively over seven days rather than six. The rest are fired, giving massive savings. The News Corp accountants are now punching the air, and the senior management making wry jokes about silver linings.

      Hell, that may have been a long-term plan for a while. The scandal had just given them an excuse to bring the plans forward.

    • Re:shell game...? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Zocalo (252965) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @07:13PM (#36688950) Homepage
      Actually, it's not so much the employees that interest me; it's the paperwork. Specifically, what is going to happen to all of the News of The World's emails, accounts and all of those other records that might be of use to, say, a public inquiry or police investigation? I can't help but wonder whether this knee jerk reaction on behalf of Rupert Murdoch is a desperate attempt at damage limitation because knowledge of what was going on goes a lot higher up the ladder than just former News of The World staff.

      As an aside, The Guardian has a rather interesting piece [guardian.co.uk] on the use of private investigators by UK media from back in 2007 when things first kicked off. The NoTW only came in fifth behind those other stalwarts of quality UK journalism; The People, The Daily Mirror, The Mail on Sunday and, the run-away leader, The Daily Mail.
  • Aaaaand... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Inquisitus (937664) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @06:33PM (#36688594) Homepage
    ...here's the new name, complete with domain registration: http://webwhois.nic.uk/cgi-bin/whois.cgi?query=thesunonsunday.co.uk [webwhois.nic.uk]
  • I for one cheered when I heard this. A horrid, awful, sensationalist piece of crap 'news'paper. Excellent! Good riddance to bad rubbish!
  • Nothing but PR (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chris Down (2350174) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @06:35PM (#36688610)

    This is the press equivalent of amputating a gangrenous limb to try and stop the spread of the infection, without even acknowledging that the rest of the body is already riddled with disease...

    • Not even close. Most of the editors, journalists, and other staff will either be moved to other Murdoch publications, or else will have a six month sabbatical while the launch of "News Of The World 2: Paper without Honour or Humility" is carefully prepared.

      This process is actually best compared to cutting out a festering tumour, and them transplanting pieces of it back into the rest of the body.

      • It's more like removing the festering tumor, lifting it a half inch above the body, then dropping back in.

  • The same paper has done it to celebrities as well. Apparently people didn't care as much when it was celebrities. In the newest revelations, it just wasn't a schoolgirl; it is alleged that the paper also illegally accessed the voicemail of the families of soldiers killed in combat.
    • by rainmouse (1784278) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @07:30PM (#36689060)
      The schoolgirl was arguably the worst however as they actually deleted some of her voice mails to make room for new messages to see what else they could dig up about the terrified friends and family. This is both deleting evidence in a murder investigation but also led the family to falsely believe she was still alive by thinking she was freeing up space on her voice mail.
  • It make very little difference to Murdoch. Most of his money now comes from american interests: TV and this clears an obstacle in his quest for taking over even more satellite TV in the UK. He also knows that newspapers as a medium are dying so this is no great loss - for him or anyone else, except the people who worked there. Ironically, the current staff, who lose their jobs were probably the least guilty of all the spying/hacking accusations, since most of the ones that have come to light so far are from
    • by Dan667 (564390)
      murdoch is losing his grip, this is a major blow to him and will probably spread to his other businesses. If you think that only the news of the world is doing this in news corp you are crazy. I bet fox news is next for a scandal like this.
  • by omar.sahal (687649) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @06:52PM (#36688788) Homepage Journal
    Hugh Grant just called the Murdoch Empire a protection racket live on Question Time.
  • News of the Screws (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jambox (1015589) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @07:06PM (#36688898)
    Frederick Greenwood, editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, met in his club one day Lord Riddell, who died a few years ago, and in the course of conversation Riddell said to him, `You know, I own a paper.' `Oh, do you?' said Greenwood, 'what is it?' `It's called the News of the Worldâ"I'll send you a copy,' replied Riddell, and in due course did so. Next time they met Riddell said, 'Well Greenwood, what do you think of my paper?' 'I looked at it,' replied Greenwood, 'and then I put it in the waste-paper basket. And then I thought, "If I leave it there the cook may read it" â"so I burned it!' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_of_the_World#History [wikipedia.org]
  • Coincidentally, he just announced he is soon launching a brand new paper: Wews of the Norld. Appearances are everything.

  • by pev (2186) on Thursday July 07, 2011 @08:04PM (#36689322) Homepage

    I must say that I'm quite surprised that no-one technically minded has yet managed to raid Mr Murdoch and Mrs Brooks voicemails and publish them on YouTube. I'm sure there must have been some juicy irate messages left and would be a most apt thing to do.

    Hang on, didn't them crafty LulzSec buggers have a request-line...?! Anyone got the number?

    • No, that group was only around to convince people the United States needs an internet "killswitch", more restriction, and less privacy on the internet. They would never be deployed to take down a conglomerate that hurts people.
  • A company commits a crime, they should be gone, and anyone directly responsible have their professional reputation smeared for life.

    No different than if a person commits a crime, the go to jail.

    • Except in this case (and many others with revolving door CEOs) the true criminals have moved on leaving others to take the blame.
      What we are seeing instead of any sort of justice is a shrewd move by that evil old bastard Rupert who gets to clear his name by sacrificing a tiny piece of his huge media empire that barely brings in any money. He'll fill the gap with another part of Newscorp before any competition gets a chance to move in, and he'll do it with less staff than News of the World had.
      Hopefully som
    • It isn't, except for the influence of the people involved.

      Actually, makes me wonder what has become of Conrad Black?

    • by Patch86 (1465427) on Friday July 08, 2011 @03:37AM (#36691750)

      The company isn't gone. This is the equivalent of The Coca Cola Company selling cans of Fanta Orange intentionally laced with arsenic, being caught out, and then agreeing to discontinue the brand "Fanta Orange" (but immediately announcing the launch of new "Sprite Orange"). Oh, and firing some factory workers who weren't even on the pay roll at the time of the arsenic-lacing for good measure.

  • This case perfectly showcases the difference between regular people and those at the top. Let's be honest, here is what would happen if some random Joe broke into that girl's voicemail and deleted messages:

    1. Within hours, the national police would raid Joe's home, arresting him and confiscating every piece of electronic equipment he owns, promising to return it within days (and making this promise every few days for years).
    2. The police would charge Joe with obstruction of justice, bulglary, destruction of prop
  • by xenobyte (446878) on Friday July 08, 2011 @04:09AM (#36691870)

    The real issue is not the lack of morals in the tabloid press... We've always known that they never had any.

    No, the real issue is how easy it was for some low-life private investigator to 'hack' voicemails all over the place. Most systems appear to use just 4-digit PINs and have no limits to how many times you can try your luck, as well as no logs (or nobody looking at the logs), so it's not surprising it is possible, but why haven't anything been done?! - This have been going on for 5 years or more, as we know from the early scandals involving this newspaper, and thus despite public knowledge nothing has been done?

    Now that's the real scandal!

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