News Corporation — perhaps the most powerful private institution in the world — would like us to forget about all that ugliness over phone hacking a few years back.
Rupert “not a fit person” Murdoch had “the most humble day” of his life (though the octogenarian remains firmly in control of the business); James “repeatedly fell short” Murdoch quit the British operation (only to re-emerge as heir apparent in America); Rebekah Brooks pleaded ignorant but stood down in disgrace (only to return as leader of the British business); the News of the World paper was killed off (only for The Sun on Sunday to take its place); journalists solemnly vowed never to (illegally) hack into the private lives of citizens again. Job done.
But overnight, a little reminder of just how morally bankrupt, how criminally corrupt, the culture was at the Murdochs’ political plaything. And, for all we know, might still be. From a Bar Standards Board hearing in London, The Guardian reports:
“A News of the World lawyer ordered surveillance of two solicitors engaged in litigation against the paper for phone hacking in order to gain an improper advantage, a disciplinary tribunal has heard.
“Tom Crone, legal affairs manager with the now defunct newspaper’s publisher, News International (now News UK), is accused of attempting to uncover an alleged affair between the two colleagues to provide the NoW with ‘good leverage’ in legal proceedings.”
Yep, while Rupert was offering his humble apologies, his hired goons were digging for dirt on lawyers for his victims.
The bar board has brought six changes of professional misconduct against Crone. The Murdochs, Brooks and many of the executives and editors in the building while phones were being hacked, meanwhile, work on.