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CNN Ignores Piers Morgan’s Connection To News Corp Scandal

Ex-News of the World Editors Piers Morgan, Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson (Brooks and Coulson have been arrested)

The ongoing News Corp. hacking scandal has given competitors a likely long-sought chance to tear into Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, with CNN leading the way. According to a Media Matters report, CNN reported on the scandal 107 timesover the same period of time MSNBC and Fox News reported on it 71 and 30 times, respectively. But while the Time Warner news network may smell blood, some may be emanating from their own studios.

Piers Morgan, the British journalist and talk show host who took over for CNN’s venerable Larry King earlier this year, is a former editor of the now-defunct News of the World, the tabloid at the center of the hacking scandal. Moreover, Morgan has been implicated in a separate celebrity phone hacking scandal while he was editor of the U.K’s Daily Mirror.

But so far, CNN has failed to report any of this. A ThinkProgress search covering the last 30 days of several media monitoring services and CNN’s own website, show the network has not so much as mentioned Morgan’s connection to the failed News Corp. tabloid, nor the separate Mirror allegation.

A CNN spokesperson confirmed the lack of coverage to Ad Week last week, “saying that the network hasn’t covered the matter because Morgan has not been officially called to testify in England.”

Morgan himself did address the issue on Monday, telling a CBS talk show that neither he nor his former publication have broken any laws.

The allegations are especially troubling given this passage from Morgan’s 2005 book, The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade:

Apparently if you don’t change the standard security code that every phone comes with, then anyone can call your number and, if you don’t answer, tap in the standard four digit code to hear all your messages. I’ll change mine just in case, but it makes me wonder how many public figures and celebrities are aware of this little trick.

As Ad Week notes, “Morgan has been sounding a fairly sympathetic note about Murdoch.” In the CBS interview, he said, “I’m not going to join the Murdoch bashing. I’ve always been a big admirer of his. He gave me my first break in journalism. He made me editor of [News of the World] when I was 28 years old.”

Update

This afternoon (7/17) on CNN’s Reliable Source, Howie Kurtz briefly noted Morgan’s connection to News Corp. Kurtz said that the media should “be careful about some of these allegations” because Piers Morgan has “absolutely denied” knowing about the illegal conduct. Pressed by one of his guests if that was “an official company denial,” Kurtz said he’d be happy to speak with Morgan about it.

By: Alex Seitz-Wald, Think Progress, July 17, 2011

July 18, 2011 Posted by | Journalists, Media, Press, Pundits | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Indifference To Human Dignity”: Finally, Rupert Murdoch Gets His Due

So here’s the synopsis of my forthcoming exposé emulating Evelyn Waugh’s novel “Scoop.” I conceived it during an email exchange with a French friend who’s an expert on the British satirist.

The working title is “Scantily Clad.”

A tabloid newspaper hires buxom ladies to “have it off,” as the Brits say, with politicians, celebrities, members of the royal family and the Manchester United Football Club. Once done, the editors hire a hitman to kill them off, and a psychic to help Scotland Yard find the bodies — preferably naked in luxury hotel suites or stately country homes with riding stables and formal gardens.

Is there a serial killer among the aristocrats? Millions of yobbos (working-class folks) demand to know. Enter an intrepid French politician with a hyphenated name to expose the plot by exposing himself to a buxom hotel maid dispatched by the Daily Wank to seduce him…

OK, that’s enough. Even if I could write fiction, I couldn’t write British fiction. Besides, satire depends upon comic exaggeration, while the deepening scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s News International corporation has far surpassed my puerile imaginings.

After all, prostitutes get bumped off every day in this fallen world. For a newspaper to exploit the families of kidnapped 13-year-old girls, the victims of terrorist attacks, and the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, implies an indifference to human dignity that can only be described as depraved. All that and more was apparently done by Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World.

News International shuttered the weekly tabloid in a transparent attempt to pretend that executives have been shocked by the transgressions of overzealous staffers.

Meanwhile, the Sun, Murdoch’s other London tabloid, obtained the medical records of then Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s 4-month-old son. Brown said that he and his wife were “in tears” on learning that their infant’s cystic fibrosis would decorate the newspaper’s front page.

Brown has accused another Murdoch newspaper, the allegedly respectable Sunday Times, of hiring “known criminals” to rummage through his bank accounts, legal records and tax returns.

“If I,” Brown has said, “with all the protection and all the defenses and all the security that a chancellor of the Exchequer or a prime minister, am so vulnerable to unscrupulous tactics, to unlawful tactics, methods that have been used in the way we have found, what about the ordinary citizen?”

So that’s lesson one. Privacy in the digital age no longer exists. The more fortunate or, in the case of victims of terrorism or tragedy, the more unfortunate you are, the more your intimate sins and sorrows will be merchandised as infotainment for the rabble.

Perhaps British audiences titillated to hear of Prince Charles’ wish to become a tampon shouldn’t be so horrified to see innocent crime victims treated as rudely as philandering aristocrats.

After all, Murdoch’s minions may have rationalized, what does it matter why somebody’s famous? Fame has no rights.

Even more than his fiercely competitive business practices, it’s Murdoch’s unsparingly cynical view of human nature that’s made him the most powerful media mogul in the world. Mass audiences respond to voyeurism: sex, violence, personal tragedy, and racial and political melodrama. And in Great Britain particularly, people yearn to see the mighty humiliated.

Nevertheless, the British are horrified. They’re outraged about journalists bribing cops, about interfering in murder investigations, about identity theft, and about hacking thousands of cellphones, even as News International executives assured Parliament that a handful of rogue employees were involved. (News flash: Newspaper staffers can’t authorize six-figure payoffs.)

Murdoch’s coziness with Tory and Labour politicians alike has become a problem for him and them. See, something else people love is the vicarious pleasure of watching a coverup come undone. News International big shots are face cards, too. Prominent careers will be ruined; powerful people are going to prison.

Meanwhile, notice how studiously everybody in the United States is concentrating on the purely British aspects of the scandal? Murdoch’s ruthless; he gets even. Besides, a person could end up working for him.

However, cracks have developed in the transatlantic wall. Already, a former New York cop has said News of the World offered him cash to hack the cells of the 9/11 dead. Les Hinton, the longtime aide that Murdoch placed in charge of the Wall Street Journal, is among those who gave now-inoperative testimony to Parliament in 2007. One bad apple, he said.

Even Roger Cohen, for my money the New York Times’ best columnist, defends Murdoch’s “visionary, risk-taking determination” even as he deplores the influence of his biggest moneymaker, Fox News. “[With] its shrill right-wing demagoguery masquerading as news,” he writes, “[Fox has] made a significant contribution to the polarization of American politics, the erosion of reasoned debate, the debunking of reason itself, and the ensuing Washington paralysis.”

Apart from having the moral imagination of a water moccasin, in other words, Rupert Murdoch’s just a terrific guy.

By: Gene Lyons, Columnist, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, published in Salon, July 13, 2011

July 15, 2011 Posted by | Corporations, Journalists, Media, Politics, Press, Public, Right Wing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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