Yes, Parliament is back nipping at the Murdoch's heels. Two public inquiries begin to day, the Leveson Inquiry into the state of British media, and another into the riots of the summer. But in terms of the hackgate story, today in the Culture and Media Committee, News International's lawyers face a grilling by MPs.
In short, its time to enjoy the schadenfreudefestschrift of the ongoing Newscorp scandal.
Live feed of the Select Committee is here (thanks dweb8231), but I'll embed the stellar Guardian's feed below. It has a brief ad, but the newspaper desperately needs the revenue.
Streaming Live by Ustream
Tuesday 6 September, the Wilson Room, Portcullis House
• Mr Jonathan Chapman, former Director of Legal Affairs, News International
• Mr Daniel Cloke, former Group HR Director, News International
• Mr Colin Myler, former Editor, News of the World
• Mr Tom Crone, former Legal Manager, News Group Newspapers
All times BST, five hours ahead of EST. Obviously many Americans will be only waking up once the evidence is over. I'll be summing up and gathering reaction below the squiggle.
A Bit of Background
Many thanks to Ceebs for finding some clear explanations of what is at stake today: the careful unpicking of a NI's cover-up of the extensive phone hacking at the time the 'rogue reporter' News of the World's Clive Goodman and his PI source, Glynn Mulcaire. There's some excellent legal analysis from the New Statesman:
Clive Goodman wrote a couple of letters to News International back in March 2007. They were published last month when they were included in materials released to the Select Committee on Culture Media and Sport.
Commenters seized on the first of these two letters to say it finally demolished the "lone rogue reporter" narrative promoted by News International executives since 2006.
In that first letter, Goodman tells News International that the practice of phone hacking "was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the editor". Tom Watson MP said the letter was "absolutely devastating" and added:Clive Goodman's letter is the most significant piece of evidence that has been revealed so far. It completely removes News International's defence. This is one of the largest cover-ups I have seen in my lifetime.
Just like any extensive coverup, the legal aspects of this story are now evolving into multiple strands of deceit, contradiction, and unravelling narratives. There is now the additional information that hacking victims lawyers themselves were targets of Newscorp. I'll let fellow Kossacks explore those many threads in the comments below. But to sum up today's proceedings:
In his previous appearance before Parliament James Murdoch claimed he had no indication of extensive hacking when he authorised a legal payout three years. News International's senior lawyer Tom Crone, and NoW's former managing editor, say he's
So there could be fireworks.But I'll be looking for that slow insistent demolition of News International's carefully confected wall of lies.
Why this matters to Americans
I know sometimes this can look like a parochial obsession, but as I always like to emphasise, Rupert and James Murdoch are US citizens. Newscorp is registered in the US. Having dominated the media in Australia and the United Kingdom, becoming the major influence on US politics and culture was always Murdoch's main ambition.
I'm not saying these diaries or the effect on Kossacks have been dispositive, but in the early days, the uproar here about the hacking allegations soon led to questions by Democratic Senators, and the opening of a DOJ investigation. The revelation that Newscorp was running the major educational software for New York's schools led to a union outcry and the suspension of the contract.
In the UK we learned, through the popular appeal to advertisers to withdraw from News of the World, that people power can have an effect on unaccountable virtual monopolies like Newscorp.
So don't stop. Don't give up hope. It's slowly working. And as Nick Davies says, the Murdoch story isn't just about bad journalism, but the corrupting effect of power elites
In Other News
To confirm just how ingrained Murdoch became in both Tory and New Labour administrations, there was the startling revelation over the weekend that Tony Blair was the godfather of one of Rupert and Wendi's children.
The former prime minister was reportedly present in March last year when Murdoch’s two daughters by his third wife were baptised on the banks of the Jordan.
The information was not made public and its disclosure in an interview with Mrs Murdoch in Vogue will prove highly embarrassing for Mr Blair.
His close ties to the Murdochs could explain his reluctance to condemn the News International phone hacking scandal.
In July, it was reported that he asked Gordon Brown to put pressure on Tom Watson, the Labour MP who helped expose the scandal, to drop his investigation.
Mr Blair’s spokesman categorically denied the allegation.
What can I say? I know Rupert was known as the 24th member of the cabinet for the effect he had on UK policy. I knew New Labour had to neutralise him in the early days. But I always thought it was a grudging dance of convenience.
The permatanned one has now lost any credibility he once had in my eyes. I know Wendi is much more liberal than Rupert, and has softened his stance on some issues.
But this is Rupert Murdoch for godsake! The person Dennis Potter once named his cancer after, one of the most reviled figures for any on the left in the UK. That the former Labour Party leader is godfather to his child just shows the incestuous, self congratulating nature of the power elites.