Rupert Murdoch Phone Hacking Scandal: News of the World Shutting Down

Rupert Murdoch, the 80 year old Australian-American whose full name is Keith Rupert Murdoch, is said to be the most influential man in the world. As the CEO and Chairman of News Corporation, he is considered one of the world’s most powerful people with a financial worth of 6.3 billion dollars (USD).

He started his path to wealth with one very small newspaper in Adelaide, then went on to start different publications in Australia. He expanded his News Corporation to the United Kingdom, the Asian market, and the United States. In the United States, in 1986, he began the Fox Broadcasting Company.

Murdoch claims that the rumors of his empire crumbling is all lies and that he is not losing his grip on his media empire. He is the center of a phone hacking scandal that took place originally in the United Kingdom where Murdoch’s employees were involved in hacking into voice mails. In the United States they were alleged to have bribed law enforcement officials to obtain telephone numbers of families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist tragedy.

In the United Kingdom, Murdoch apologized for the scandal that involved two of his top executives. The apology was written as a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal. He further claimed that the apology and fixing the mistakes are only the first steps. Another apology that was not signed by Murdoch offered to cooperate with the police.  Chris Bryant, a British lawmaker and one who campaigns against media abuse, has stated that he feels a public relations consultant told Murdoch what to write in his apology and that it sounds more like a confession than an apology. He doubts the public will accept the apology.

This telephone hacking scandal has placed the British police under pressure for accepting money and other bribes for illegal actions. Telephone hacking was reported to the police as far back as the year 2005 but nothing was done about it. In fact, Wallis, a man that was arrested in the telephone hacking incident, was hired by the police as a consultant for a wage of 24,000 pounds for working two days a week.

The News of the World newspaper, which is owned by Murdoch and which is now closed, was said to have hacked into thousands of telephones including that of a thirteen year old girl that had been murdered. Murdoch apologized to the parents of the little girl which was akin to a confession that the News of the World had indeed hacked into the voicemails of the murdered girl. This caused Murdoch to shut the paper down.

James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s successor and son, had taken over the operations in Europe of the News Corporation just when the telephone hacking scandal was beginning. James and Rupert will face a tough questioning by Britain’s Parliament.