Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/8/2011 (1800 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A week or so ago, it appeared to most observers reporters at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World hacked into telephone message banks regularly and with the blessing of senior management. Now, with the publication of a letter from a reporter who was jailed for phone-hacking, it appears not only that the managers knew about and encouraged the hacking, but that they lied about it to a parliamentary committee. Not only has the wicket gotten stickier for Murdoch and his son James, who gave the now-contradicted testimony to the committee, it gets stickier for Prime Minister David Cameron. It was once politically expedient for Cameron to cultivate the good will of Murdoch, and he did so assiduously. Probably the decision he rues most was to hire Andrew Coulson, a former News of the World editor, as a media adviser. It is beginning to look as if Cameron was naive in accepting Coulson’s assurance that he knew nothing of the hacking — the jailed reporter’s letter says the opposite. If Cameron does half as badly with his latest challenge, responding to the rioting in the United Kingdom’s major cities, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will be less enamoured of being deputy prime minister in a Cameron government. Sitting tight and denying all knowledge won’t work for Cameron this time, and he does not have his powerful media ally at his side. The hacking scandal was not nearly the top-of-mind issue that the rioting will be with the voting public, so Cameron will have to act decisively and wisely.