It's Time the Justice Dept. Got Serious About Hacking Allegations by Rupert Murdoch's Media Empire
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In February 2012 I asked, “When Will the Justice Department Get Serious About Murdoch.” The question remains unanswered—at least publicly. Along with Tom Watson, a Labour MP who had his own troubles this week, fellow MP Chris Bryant, whose phone was hacked by the now-defunct News of the World, called on U.S. authorities to press corruption charges against the media baron. “The interesting question,” writes Ross McKibbin in a fascinating review of Murdoch’s career in The London Review of Books, “is why those in political opposition were and are so reluctant to resist Murdoch.”
A year ago President Obama had an election to worry about—and may have felt that having the owner of Fox News’s balls in a vise was more useful than actually applying pressure. And of course the Justice Department has been very busy chasing whistleblowers and leakers. But now that Eric Holder has promised not to prosecute reporters, perhaps he could spare the time to consider the mountain of evidence against the Murdochs. (In one portion of the tape The Sun’s former managing editor, Graham Dudman, asks: “Will the company’s support vanish overnight if you’re not here?” Murdoch replies, “The decision would be…with my son, Lachlan”—which could make for a certain froideur if Rupert and James end up sharing accommodation at Allenwood.)
Because whatever else it has done, the release of the Murdoch tapes should make a quiet deal with Federal prosecutors political poison. So perhaps I can be excused for repeating the question: When will the Justice Department get serious about Murdoch?