BOOK: NEWS CORP TRIED TO INTIMIDATE U.K. LAWMAKERS
After a parliamentary committee began investigating allegations of telephone hacking at the now-defunct News of the World in 2010, the then-editor of the paper, Colin Myler, instructed its reporters to “find out everything you can about every single member,” Labor MP Tom Watson told a news conference in London’today (Thursday). Watson, who spearheaded the investigation by the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee into the unfolding hacking allegations, spoke to reporters upon release of his new book, Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain, cowritten with journalist Martin Hickman. He said that the information, which he claimed was given to him by the tabloid’s chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, demonstrates how Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers in London go about intimidating members of parliament. Reporters were directed to find out “who was gay, who had affairs, anything we can use.” And, said Watson, the strategy paid off. “The committee’s legitimate investigation was undermined and parliament was, in effect, intimidated. News International thought it could do this, that they would get away with it, that no one could touch them; and they actually did it, and it worked.” The initial effect was a decision by the committee not to call News International chief Rebekah Brooks to give evidence. Brooks, regarded as a protegée of News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch, was eventually arrested (twice) called before the committee and now faces the possibility of criminal charges being brought against her for allegedly perverting the course of justice by interfering with a police investigation of the scandal.