Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain

Overview

Dial M for Murdoch uncovers the inner workings of one of the most powerful companies in the world: how it came to exert a poisonous, secretive influence on public life in Britain, how it used its huge power to bully, intimidate and cover up, and how its exposure has changed the way we look at our politicians, our police service and our press.

Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers had been hacking phones and casually destroying people’s lives for years, but it was only after a trivial ...

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Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain

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Overview

Dial M for Murdoch uncovers the inner workings of one of the most powerful companies in the world: how it came to exert a poisonous, secretive influence on public life in Britain, how it used its huge power to bully, intimidate and cover up, and how its exposure has changed the way we look at our politicians, our police service and our press.

Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers had been hacking phones and casually destroying people’s lives for years, but it was only after a trivial report about Prince William’s knee in 2005 that detectives stumbled on a criminal conspiracy. A five-year cover-up then concealed and muddied the truth. Dial M for Murdoch gives the first connected account of the extraordinary lengths to which the Murdochs’ News Corporation went to “put the problem in a box” (in James Murdoch’s words), how its efforts to maintain and extend its power were aided by its political and police friends, and how it was finally exposed.

The book details the smears and threats against politicians, journalists and lawyers. It reveals the existence of brave insiders who pointed those pursuing the investigation towards pieces of secret information that cracked open the case.

By contrast, many of the main players in the book are unsavory, but by the end of it you have a clear idea of what they did. Seeing the story whole, as it is presented here for the first time, allows the character of the organisation which it portrays to emerge unmistakably. You will hardly believe it.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

A thriller on par with the legendary All the President's Men, the story of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and British phone hacking scandal makes for political drama at its finest. Hickman, the reporter for The Independent who pursued the story; and Watson, a relentless Labour Party Parliament member who helped lead the government investigation that toppled the nearly 170-year-old News of the World, have produced a gripping account that will likely be a go-to source in years to come. News of the World reporters hacked voicemail messages of royals, actors, and soccer notables to drive newspaper sales in the hyper-competitive world of the tabloid press. Led by Rupert Murdoch, the paper's executives exerted enough pressure on police and politicians to foil years of investigations. An elaborate cover-up that passed off the hacking as the work of a "rogue reporter" and a private investigator was initially successful, but what ultimately undid the tabloid and brought down top execs like Rebekah Brooks were the revelations that reporters deleted voicemails of a murdered teenager, deceiving police and her family into thinking that she might still be alive. Anyone interested in the media scandal of the decade and its reverberations across the pond won't be able to put this book down. Photos.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Washington Post
Almost all the events described in Dial M for Murdoch have been well-documented in daily news coverage in Britain. The book's value is in pulling them together into a single narrative. The impact is powerful: We come away with a clear picture of the sordid relationship that existed between the Murdoch press, the police and senior politicians.
—Ewen MacAskill
Kirkus Reviews
Comprehensive chronicle of the British phone-hacking scandal that cost Rupert Murdoch part of his coveted media empire. Revelations that Murdoch employees hijacked the private voice mails of thousands of people (including a missing girl who was later discovered murdered), not only sparked the closure of the 168-year-old News of the World tabloid in 2011, it also gave the House of Parliament and U.K. police undeniable black eyes. Member of Parliament Watson and Independent correspondent Hickman delve deeply into the sordid mess, a tabloid hell in which the only imperatives were to sell more newspapers, cultivate power and destroy enemies. The authors detail the depths of the illegal phone-hacking scandal as well as the payoffs, coverups and intimidation that followed. The authors also show the bulk of Britain's famed Fleet Street press and much of the Metropolitan Police force casting a blind eye to the "dark arts" practiced by Murdoch's henchmen (and henchwomen). Members of Parliament, meanwhile, and even the occupants of Number 10 Downing Street, routinely kowtowed to the Aussie power broker's will. Readers will be continually taken aback by the level of hubris involved in the whole affair. For example, Prime Minister David Cameron blithely appointed News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his communications director just four months after Murdoch's man quit the newspaper in disgrace. Coulson was eventually busted on conspiracy charges in 2011 in connection to the phone-hacking scandal and payoffs to police. Other Murdoch confidants, like former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, would follow Coulson down. The story, however, only started to gain traction after the New York Times covered the scandal. Interestingly, it might now be left to Watson and Hickman's book to spark new investigations into Murdoch's activities on this side of the Atlantic. Required reading for news junkies and those interested in understanding Murdoch's seemingly ironclad grip on the news.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399162633
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/8/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

TOM WATSON is the MP for West Bromwich East. He campaigns against unlawful media practices and led the questioning of Rupert and James Murdoch when they appeared before Parliament in July 2011. He is the deputy chair of the Labour Party.
 
MARTIN HICKMAN has worked for the Independent since 2001, and has driven the paper’s coverage of the phone hacking scandal. He was named Journalist of the Year by the Foreign Press Association in 2009.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Dramatis Personae xv

Preface xvii

1 The Wrong Headlines 1

2 Wapping's News Factory 13

3 The Dark Arts 27

4 First Heads Roll 36

5 Rogue Defence 53

6 The Manchester Lawyers 68

7 One Determined Reporter 81

8 Intimidating Parliament 96

9 A Murder 107

10 Our Man in Downing Street 121

11 Losing a Battle 135

12 Out of Control 149

13 U-turn at Wapping 167

14 Summer's Lease 183

15 A Missing Girl 189

16 Sky Plus 210

17 'We Are Sorry' 228

18 Democracy Day 238

19 Assault on the Establishment 255

20 The Ghosts of Wapping 269

21 The Press on Trial 289

22 Darker and Darker 305

Appendix 1 Individuals in Glenn Mulcaire's Notes 319

Appendix 2 Arrests 323

Acknowledgements 326

Notes 329

Index 341

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    Pardon misspelling in headline still a great book!

    Critics of Murdoch are not illiterate depite my typo above. An abdorbing book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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