One of the many news highlights of 2011.
A look back at the infamous Murdoch hearing. The lies and legal investigations are still ongoing since this article was first published in 2011.
Will the public ever know the entire story when it comes to Rupert Murdoch’s shadowy world?
Confidentiality clauses are not to be taken lightly and breaking these employment terms and conditions can have serious consequences. The case of Jeffrey Wiggand comes to mind with regards to confidentiality clauses. Wiggand was a Brown and Williamson tobacco research and development employee who blew the whistle on the company about the addictive ingredients that were added to the company’s cigarettes. Wiggand endured harassment and death threats throughout the case but was also threatened with incarceration if he broke the confidentiality clauses included in his contract. Confidentiality clauses are designed to protect the company, even if this means that employees are aware that wrong doing is taking place, wrong doing that it would be in the public’s best interests to know about.
Back to the hearing and it was obvious that although the need for transparency was mentioned by Murdoch Jr he had no intention of actually admitting to anything. Murdoch Jr followed a set pattern when answering questions, which basically included repeating the sentence, “That is a good question and it’s an important question and I would like to answer that question but I don’t have that information at the moment.”
With Murdoch Snr sitting with a glazed expression and Murdoch Jr apparently using the mantra approach to answering questions the entire hearing did have a farcical feel to it. The farce then turned to slap-stick with the appearance of the pie man. Jonnie Marbles, a stand-up comedian, had managed to enter and then sit in the hearing with a foam filled plate. Marbles tweeted a few lines during the hearing such as, “Murdoch is Mr Burns’ and “It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat” before sauntering down to where Murdoch Snr was sitting to thrust the foam pie into Murdoch’s face. Murdoch’s wife was having none of this and sprang into action to deliver a stinging blow to Marble’s face. You got the feeling that this was something she should have done long ago to Murdoch Snr, perhaps it was misdirected anger.
Rebekah Brooks finally arrived and gave a valium induced performance. Brooks came on stage after the Murdochs as an indication that she is the one to blame, leave the best until last. Brooks has been viewed as either the fall guy of the entire scandal or as the one who is entirely responsible. For some reason Brooks seemed to be the star of the show here. Would she do the right thing and let something slip that would incriminate the Murdochs? Would she say screw the confidentiality clauses and the £3.5 million, here is the truth of the matter? Would she stand up to the might of the Murdochs?
Brooks sat in the room, which was now empty of the public thanks to Marble’s surprise attack. The security team that let Marbles in with his pie had now decided to clear the room as a security precaution. So whereas the Murdochs had a packed audience Brooks sat alone, looking tired, with her head constantly bowed. With her mass of red curls she looked somewhat similar to Little Orphan Annie or maybe her older more cynical sister. She did at least try to answer some of the questions fired at her. But with confidentiality clauses in place we were not going to get the entire truth or anywhere near the truth from Rebekah Brooks. At the end of the hearing she did state that she hoped that in the future when she was free from ‘legal constraints’ she would be given the chance to appear again to answer questions. Yes Rebekah/Annie, the sun will come out tomorrow, on Sunday’s if the rumors are correct.
And so with the hearing over and my coffee buzz reaching critical levels my mind started to reassess the dark maze that was the ‘phone hacking’ scandal, focusing particularly on the death of Sean Hore. Hore was the whistleblower in the scandal, the first journalist to admit that Andy Coulson knew that his staff were using phone hacking methods to obtain stories. Coulson, a former News of the World Editor and more recently Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications director has since been arrested and questioned on allegations of corruption and making pay-offs to Metropolitan police officers. According to Hore, Coulson had actively encouraged him to use hacking methods to obtain exclusive news stories.
On the 18th of July, the day before the Murdoch’s hearing, Sean Hoare, a man described by those who knew him as an old school journalist and a man who took no payment for telling his story and naming names was found dead at his home. The police stated that Hoare’s death was unexplained but not suspicious and that no third party was involved in his death. Hoare had stated on the phone hacking scandal that, “There’s more to come. This is not going to go away.” Hoare was a journalist who couldn’t be bought off and was not going to shut up about what he knew. In fact only a week before the hearing Hoare was talking to the New York Times about the mobile phone technology provided by the UK police in exchange for payments from News of the World journalists.
In the world of conspiracy theories there are many that can be made from Hoare’s death. As the corruption allegations are now being investigated in Murdoch’s empire worldwide theories include that Hoare was murdered to shut him up and as a warning sign to others to shut up. If anyone at the Murdoch hearing had decided to come clean and break their confidentiality clauses the unexplained death of Sean Hoare the day before the hearing would definitely make them think twice about doing so. Another theory has been touted that Hoare was murdered by a third party to place further suspicion on Murdoch and to help with the deterioration of his grip on his empire. Of course maybe the 40 year old Hoare simply died, in an unexplained manner, the day before the Murdoch’s hearing. It’s a perfectly reasonable coincedence.
News reports are now edging towards questions about Prime Minister David Cameron and his extent of knowledge and involvement in the scandal. David Cameron was after all a friend of Rebekah Brooks, employed Andy Coulson as a member of staff and had frequent meetings with Rupert Murdoch. It was mentioned at the hearing and admitted by Murdoch that whenever he was invited to Downing Street by Cameron he had to enter and leave by the back door. One of those back door visits was made in order to help Cameron celebrate his victory in the 2010 general election.
There is no doubt that Rupert Murdoch and his media empire hold a huge influence throughout the world, especially where politics and business go hand in hand. His company owns Fox News, and Murdoch supported Bush and the Iraq war. Fox News held a pro Bush and pro Iraq War stance and Fox News reports were designed to influence the public in favor of the war. Murdoch is a man who can influence the public into supporting illegal wars. He uses his media corporation to influence others to his agenda but it seems as if the walls of Murdoch’s global empire are now crumbling, or at least that is how it appears to the world.
As Sean Hoare stated, “There’s more to come. This is not going to go away.” But will the public ever know the entire story when it comes to Rupert Murdoch’s shadowy world?
About the Author: Garry Crystal
Garry Crystal is a freelance writer living in the UK. His short stories and articles have appeared in print and online including Expats Post, The Andirondack Review, Turnrow Journal, Roadside Fiction and Orato. br> His first book Leaving London is available on Amazon and other retailers now. br> View My Profile