‘News of the World’ gives tabloids a bad name.
Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid ‘News of the World’ came under fire in 2002 for hacking into celebrity and royal voicemails.
While certainly despicable, their actions then were at least understandable: readers salivate over the lives and scandals of public figures, and the paper was trying to get as much dirt as possible, even if it meant breaking the law.
As officials dug deeper into the scandal, though, they found something much more disturbing: a private investigator hacked into a missing girl’s voicemail and deleted messages to make room for more, leading the girl’s family to think she was in fact alive.
That turned out not to be the case: 13-year old Milly Dowler had actually been kidnapped and murdered. Now the paper has to explain whether it knew about the P.I.’s underhanded tactics.
The paper’s then-editor, Rebekah Brooks, denies knowing anything about the tapings, writing to her staff, “It is almost too horrific to believe that a professional journalist or even a freelance inquiry agent working on behalf of a member of the ‘News of the World’ staff could behave in this way.”
As the ‘New York Times’ points out, though, Brooks either played willful ignorance or condoned the investigator’s tricks.
One thing is for sure in all of this: Prime Minister David Cameron is furious, and called the security breach “a truly dreadful act.” And that’s putting it nicely.