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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 06:11 PM
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News Intl. threatened retaliation against Gordon Brown; New York Post facing similar
News Intl. threatened retaliation against Gordon Brown; New York Post facing similar allegations
by Hunter

From the Guardian's Marina Hyde:

Are you insufficiently repulsed by the Sun's mysteriously-obtained exclusive on Brown's son's cystic fibrosis? Don't worry - like everything about the hacking scandal, there are always more details to emerge to compound the horror. I've been speaking to a source close to Gordon Brown at the time of the story, who recalls that it was served up with a chaser of threat:

Gordon insisted - despite a heavy brow-beating from Rebekah - that he was not willing to let his son's medical condition be the stuff of a Sun exclusive, recalls this source. So he put out a statement on PA to spike their scoop and make clear that despite his condition, Fraser was fit and healthy. The Sun were utterly furious, and Brown's communications team were told that if Gordon wanted to get into No 10, he needed to learn that was not how things were done.

It wasn't enough that the Sun had snatched his son's medical records, in an effort for a scoop: they were mad at Brown for blowing that "scoop." And, more importantly, the paper threatened to retaliate against Brown and his career.

That ties in rather well with allegations about a Murdoch operation here in the United States, the New York Post:

There were people you were not supposed to mess with, says (Ian Spiegelman,) former reporter for the gossipy Page Six, if they were friends of executives at the Post or its parent company, News Corp. At the same time, word would come down through your editor, This is someone we should get, should go after. The people high up had people they just didnt like.

There was a kind of thuggishness, says Jared Paul Stern, a former Page Six contributor at the center of the controversy. He says Murdoch was on the phone with Post Editor in Chief Col Allan all the time. He was down in the newsroom. I cant imagine anything of that scale could go on and him not know about it.

In a 2007 affidavit, Spiegelman said accepting freebies, graft and other favors was not only condoned by the company but encouraged as a way to decrease the newspapers out-of-pocket expensesand that News Corp. attorneys had been instructed to look the other way. There was a policy of favor banking, the affidavit said, practiced on a much larger scale by Rupert Murdoch.

It is hardly unreasonable to question whether or not such practices are practiced company-wide, especially since, well, there are direct allegations that the practices were company-wide. As in Britain, the allegations against the Post were simply pooh-poohed by News Corp. executives at the time, arguing that it was merely a case of a few rogue reporters.

Regardless of whether the allegations of wrongdoing headed by Murdoch himself turn out to be true (and I think we all have, ahem, our suspicions on that one), a rather more alarming question is why we continue to allow single media companies to have enough power to single-handedly bend the news to their will.

The Brown example is especially pernicious. We shouldn't be surprised that a set of media companies systemically broke the laws of a nation: corruption of individuals and within organizations is not terribly unusual. But we should be alarmed that such companies could issue encompassing threats to even prominent members of a nation's government and be large enough to legitimately carry those threats out.

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tsuki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 06:25 PM
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1. Drip, drip, drip... nt
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 07:31 PM
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2. Ooh goody! It is so satisfying to see this unfold. Rec'd. nt
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