100 articles – ‘Tracing the trajectory of a scandal’

26 September 2011

Written by: Lawrie Zion

Tracing the trajectory of a scandal‘ by John W. Dean

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation suffered a tremendous blow on July 4, 2011.  Attempts to cover-up the practice of illegal phone hacking within the organisation’s publications had finally come undone.

The Guardian had uncovered the fact that News of the World had hacked into the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and the families of soldiers, serving, injured or killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The public outcry that ensued saw the Murdoch empire begin to unravel.

In this article in The Age three weeks later, Dean traces the course of Rupert Murdoch’s demise, drawing parallels with the Watergate scandal.  Dean was counsel to US president Richard Nixon from 1970 to 1973.

Although not directly involved in the illegal activities that created the scandals, Dean explains that Murdoch and Nixon fostered a culture ‘within their respective organisations where such conduct was not only considered acceptable but actually encouraged’.

Dean describes Murdoch as ‘News Corp’s core problem’, a ‘cancer’ on News Corporation and ‘a cancer of US and British democracy’.

How this story plays out remains to be seen but one thing is certain: Murdoch is not getting any younger and politicians who were previously unwilling to take on News’ papers head-on, are now openly critical of the company and its chairman.

The end will come in one way or another.

Kate Scarff is a Graduate Diploma in Journalism student at La Trobe University and is part of upstart‘s editorial team.  You can follow her on Twitter: @katescarff

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