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Shadow Elite Escapes Real Consequences

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Tex

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Janine R. Wedel

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Shadow Elite: Shaving Cream -- Murdoch's Only Punishment?
Posted: 7/21/11 08:10 AM ET
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Fox News , News Of The World , Phone Hacking Scandal , Rupert Murdoch , Phone Hacking , Shadow Elite , Media News

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The shaving cream hurled at Rupert Murdoch on Tuesday as he sat before a British parliamentary committee may be the only punishment he'll get. True, the tycoon -- whose News Corp holdings encompass Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post, as well as giant swathes of the world's English-language media -- pronounced himself humbled before millions of viewers and listeners. But whether or not Murdoch and his coterie of close collaborators will ever get their comeuppance, Murdochgate is exposing how power and influence, infused with insidious new forms of corruption, operate today. And we'd better pay attention if we want to understand -- let alone have a say in -- the policies that affect everything from our pocketbooks to our health care and habitats to "our" wars.

The actors caught up in the scandal exemplify the modus operandi of the shadow elite -- the top power and influence brokers of our era. The media/police/political nexus over which Murdoch presides showcases the intertwining of state and private institutions, relationships, and power that characterizes the era to a T. And this story, with its swirl of players and networks is red meat for a social anthropologist like me.

Here are key markers of the shadow elite, as illustrated by Murdochgate:

A government/business/political/media nexus. A web of tight relationships that span media, police, and political establishment elites under-gird the collusion between government and private institutions.

A family-like network of trust across institutions of influence. Exhibit A is Rebekah Brooks, who, as we know, ran Murdoch's News of the World, Britain's best-selling tabloid, and is suspected of involvement in paying police for information and hacking the phones of public figures. She is said to have a daughter-like relationship with Murdoch and is a close personal friend of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

An "evolving door" practiced by those in the network. As reported, the metropolitan police -- Scotland Yard -- employed former News of the World journalists and executives as consultants or staff. Prime Minister Cameron appointed Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor, as his director of communications. Coulson had resigned from the tabloid after two of its employees were prosecuted for phone hacking.

The corruption and compromise of government institutions and top officials by private organizations and agendas. The News of the World allegedly obtained proprietary information through bribery and cozy relations with police. And while the prime minister's office employed the former tabloid editor Coulson, Scotland Yard hired Neil Wallis, a leading editor at the tabloid when the phones were being hacked, as a media strategist.

The blurring and blending of institutions. Where did the activities and agendas of the News of the World end and those of Scotland Yard or the prime minister's office begin? It's not clear. As the New York Times found, former News of the World editor Wallis reported back to the tabloid while working on the hacking case at Scotland Yard.

The fusion of state and private power. Scotland Yard, the government agency responsible for pursuing allegations of wrongdoing at the Murdoch news establishment, instead became intertwined with it.

Global reach. There's no firm line between Murdoch's influence in the United Kingdom, the United States, and elsewhere. As has been reported, Les Hinton, the head of the Murdoch-owned Dow Jones & Co. and the publisher of the Wall Street Journal who has now resigned, previously served as chairman of Murdoch's British newspaper arm during some of the time its employees are alleged to have engaged in phone hacking.

Bailing out alleged collaborators. News of the World editors and reporters who landed in trouble were paid even after being fired. And the tabloid's parent company assumed the legal fees of two employees who pleaded guilty to charges of phone hacking.

Full-frontal coverup by members of the network. Murdoch operatives masked inquiries and skirted adverse consequences by mobilizing their networks. Evidence that the News of the World bribed the police for information was withheld for four years, and other evidence was destroyed. The Metropolitan Police, whose two top officials have resigned in the wake of the scandal, now alleges a "deliberate campaign to undermine the investigation into alleged payments by corrupt journalists to corrupt police officers." As the New York Times put it: "The testimony and evidence that emerged last week, as well as interviews with current and former officials, indicate that the police agency and News International, the British subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and the publisher of the News of the World, became so intertwined that they wound up sharing the goal of containing the investigation."

Control of the media and message and cutting-edge use of information technologies. Murdoch's establishment obviously specializes in this.

Failure to take responsibility. Murdoch told the parliamentary committee that he doesn't accept responsibility for what happened. To blame instead, he said, are the "people that I trusted to run it [the news organization], and then maybe the people they trusted."

Ability to defang, override, and outrun investigatory bodies. Shadow elites know no borders, but the government auditors and investigative journalists who can monitor them often do. Murdoch's News Corp faces a worldwide probe of its news outlets under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to determine whether any other subsidiaries are implicated in bribery. But while such investigations are a step in the right direction, they are, at best, limited in reach and partial in scope.


In the days and weeks to come, Murdoch-related intrigues will likely fill the airwaves as the mighty are "humbled" and some of their practices exposed. As details flood forth, the question is this: Will we take Murdochgate as a case study of today's top power brokers in action and do the work required to understand and challenge them? Or will the ability to hold them to account end with nothing more than a close shave?
 

TSR

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I hope the FBI gets in on the investigation if they haven't already. Any outspoken, investigative journalist doing his own investigation might end up in a hospital with some unknown terminal illness.
 

Steve

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seldom does the top fall when the bottom collapses in the world of the wealthy..

and while I feel the old bugger should be investigated,.. did he do anything wrong in our country?

why not wait to see how the UK investigation plays out before wasting our resources?

Mensch stated that Morgan had boasted in his 2005 book "The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade" of having won a scoop for his Daily Mirror tabloid newspaper by using a code to gain entry into another person's cell phone.

Morgan said Mensch had got her facts mixed up.

In the book, he wrote that he suspected he was a victim of phone hacking. "I wrote in my book that someone warned me phones could be hacked, so I changed my pin number."

Morgan, who said little during the first two weeks of the phone hacking scandal, said on his show on Monday that he did not believe that any story published in either the News of The World or The Daily Mirror under his editorship was obtained by unlawful means.

He also defended Rupert Murdoch, saying that he found it "impossible, personally knowing the man, to believe that he would have known about law-breaking on his newspapers, let alone would he condone it."

while some in the US have been implicated ...


by implication any employee of any American company can get the company investigated.. just by breaking a law.. but does that mean that the company is guilty?
News Corp., as an American company, is accountable to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which states that U.S. companies can be prosecuted for crimes committed abroad.

and that those who knew little of the scandal should go to jail for others crimes?
 

Tex

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Steve said:
seldom does the top fall when the bottom collapses in the world of the wealthy..

and while I feel the old bugger should be investigated,.. did he do anything wrong in our country?

why not wait to see how the UK investigation plays out before wasting our resources?

Mensch stated that Morgan had boasted in his 2005 book "The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade" of having won a scoop for his Daily Mirror tabloid newspaper by using a code to gain entry into another person's cell phone.

Morgan said Mensch had got her facts mixed up.

In the book, he wrote that he suspected he was a victim of phone hacking. "I wrote in my book that someone warned me phones could be hacked, so I changed my pin number."

Morgan, who said little during the first two weeks of the phone hacking scandal, said on his show on Monday that he did not believe that any story published in either the News of The World or The Daily Mirror under his editorship was obtained by unlawful means.

He also defended Rupert Murdoch, saying that he found it "impossible, personally knowing the man, to believe that he would have known about law-breaking on his newspapers, let alone would he condone it."

while some in the US have been implicated ...


by implication any employee of any American company can get the company investigated.. just by breaking a law.. but does that mean that the company is guilty?
News Corp., as an American company, is accountable to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which states that U.S. companies can be prosecuted for crimes committed abroad.

and that those who knew little of the scandal should go to jail for others crimes?

I think all of the assets from companies and past earnings should be at risk when the companies employ illegal tactics to win in the market place. The FCPA is not being enforced. Big law firms just buy off the top Justice officials at FCPA after deals are made with them to get their clients off and NO ONE ends up in jail. The FCPA is just another agency of the federal government that is used to extort benefits, not provide justice or enforce the law. It seems anyone can just buy their way out of it's enforcement and pretty cheaply at that.

Should anyone go to jail for other people's crimes? Of course not. People shouldn't get away from jail time if they are involved, even if it is for a rich person like Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch should have to pay in money and the people actually committing the crimes should have to pay with incarceration, not get off because someone like Murdoch or Tyson gets them out of it. That is selling justice, not enforcing it.


Tex
 

hypocritexposer

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Tex said:
Steve said:
seldom does the top fall when the bottom collapses in the world of the wealthy..

and while I feel the old bugger should be investigated,.. did he do anything wrong in our country?

why not wait to see how the UK investigation plays out before wasting our resources?

Mensch stated that Morgan had boasted in his 2005 book "The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade" of having won a scoop for his Daily Mirror tabloid newspaper by using a code to gain entry into another person's cell phone.

Morgan said Mensch had got her facts mixed up.

In the book, he wrote that he suspected he was a victim of phone hacking. "I wrote in my book that someone warned me phones could be hacked, so I changed my pin number."

Morgan, who said little during the first two weeks of the phone hacking scandal, said on his show on Monday that he did not believe that any story published in either the News of The World or The Daily Mirror under his editorship was obtained by unlawful means.

He also defended Rupert Murdoch, saying that he found it "impossible, personally knowing the man, to believe that he would have known about law-breaking on his newspapers, let alone would he condone it."

while some in the US have been implicated ...


by implication any employee of any American company can get the company investigated.. just by breaking a law.. but does that mean that the company is guilty?
News Corp., as an American company, is accountable to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which states that U.S. companies can be prosecuted for crimes committed abroad.

and that those who knew little of the scandal should go to jail for others crimes?

I think all of the assets from companies and past earnings should be at risk when the companies employ illegal tactics to win in the market place. The FCPA is not being enforced. Big law firms just buy off the top Justice officials at FCPA after deals are made with them to get their clients off and NO ONE ends up in jail. The FCPA is just another agency of the federal government that is used to extort benefits, not provide justice or enforce the law. It seems anyone can just buy their way out of it's enforcement and pretty cheaply at that.

Should anyone go to jail for other people's crimes? Of course not. People shouldn't get away from jail time if they are involved, even if it is for a rich person like Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch should have to pay in money and the people actually committing the crimes should have to pay with incarceration, not get off because someone like Murdoch or Tyson gets them out of it. That is selling justice, not enforcing it.


Tex


If a company/Corp. was not aware of the crime, should they be punished?


Should CNN punish Piers?


What would be a suitable punishment?
 

Tex

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hypocritexposer said:
Tex said:
Steve said:
seldom does the top fall when the bottom collapses in the world of the wealthy..

and while I feel the old bugger should be investigated,.. did he do anything wrong in our country?

why not wait to see how the UK investigation plays out before wasting our resources?



while some in the US have been implicated ...


by implication any employee of any American company can get the company investigated.. just by breaking a law.. but does that mean that the company is guilty?


and that those who knew little of the scandal should go to jail for others crimes?

I think all of the assets from companies and past earnings (note I didn't say profits) should be at risk when the companies employ illegal tactics to win in the market place. The FCPA is not being enforced. Big law firms just buy off the top Justice officials at FCPA after deals are made with them to get their clients off and NO ONE ends up in jail. The FCPA is just another agency of the federal government that is used to extort benefits, not provide justice or enforce the law. It seems anyone can just buy their way out of it's enforcement and pretty cheaply at that.

Should anyone go to jail for other people's crimes? Of course not. People shouldn't get away from jail time if they are involved, even if it is for a rich person like Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch should have to pay in money and the people actually committing the crimes should have to pay with incarceration, not get off because someone like Murdoch or Tyson gets them out of it. That is selling justice, not enforcing it.


Tex


If a company/Corp. was not aware of the crime, should they be punished?


Should CNN punish Piers?


What would be a suitable punishment?

Rupert Murdoch knew about this problem before and said he would stop it. I think his company got one chance too many.

Earnings during the years people were doing illegal things for him should be at risk, not just profits.

We can not allow the shadow super elite the ability to hire people who break the law for them and their greed just pay token fine. Press permits and licenses to be on the public airwaves should be at risk.

You seem to want to minimize payment for crime for the super rich who benefit from tramping on the rights of citizen's privacy from it and stick it to the little guy when they do crime.

If you don't want to pay the fine, don't do the crime for Rupert, and for his workers who did it and didn't report it to the police immediately, don't do the crime if you don't want to pay time. Same goes for law firms who do this kind of thing for their corporate clients.

Pretty simple in my book.


Tex
 

hypocritexposer

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Tex said:
hypocritexposer said:
Tex said:
I think all of the assets from companies and past earnings (note I didn't say profits) should be at risk when the companies employ illegal tactics to win in the market place. The FCPA is not being enforced. Big law firms just buy off the top Justice officials at FCPA after deals are made with them to get their clients off and NO ONE ends up in jail. The FCPA is just another agency of the federal government that is used to extort benefits, not provide justice or enforce the law. It seems anyone can just buy their way out of it's enforcement and pretty cheaply at that.

Should anyone go to jail for other people's crimes? Of course not. People shouldn't get away from jail time if they are involved, even if it is for a rich person like Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch should have to pay in money and the people actually committing the crimes should have to pay with incarceration, not get off because someone like Murdoch or Tyson gets them out of it. That is selling justice, not enforcing it.


Tex


If a company/Corp. was not aware of the crime, should they be punished?


Should CNN punish Piers?


What would be a suitable punishment?

Rupert Murdoch knew about this problem before and said he would stop it. I think his company got one chance too many.

Earnings during the years people were doing illegal things for him should be at risk, not just profits.

We can not allow the shadow super elite the ability to hire people who break the law for them and their greed just pay token fine. Press permits and licenses to be on the public airwaves should be at risk.

You seem to want to minimize payment for crime for the super rich who benefit from tramping on the rights of citizen's privacy from it and stick it to the little guy when they do crime.

If you don't want to pay the fine, don't do the crime for Rupert, and for his workers who did it and didn't report it to the police immediately, don't do the crime if you don't want to pay time. Same goes for law firms who do this kind of thing for their corporate clients.

Pretty simple in my book.


Tex


and Piers?
 

Tex

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hypocritexposer said:
Tex said:
hypocritexposer said:
If a company/Corp. was not aware of the crime, should they be punished?


Should CNN punish Piers?


What would be a suitable punishment?

Rupert Murdoch knew about this problem before and said he would stop it. I think his company got one chance too many.

Earnings during the years people were doing illegal things for him should be at risk, not just profits.

We can not allow the shadow super elite the ability to hire people who break the law for them and their greed just pay token fine. Press permits and licenses to be on the public airwaves should be at risk.

You seem to want to minimize payment for crime for the super rich who benefit from tramping on the rights of citizen's privacy from it and stick it to the little guy when they do crime.

If you don't want to pay the fine, don't do the crime for Rupert, and for his workers who did it and didn't report it to the police immediately, don't do the crime if you don't want to pay time. Same goes for law firms who do this kind of thing for their corporate clients.

Pretty simple in my book.


Tex


and Piers?

The same standard should apply to everyone.

We have corporate crime because the punishment is too low and the payoff too high. To change the corporate crime rate, the economics of crime have to be balanced so the risk/reward ratio favors following the law. I think individual people who were hacked need personal compensation from ANYONE in the organization or its ownership who knew of it and didn't stop it. This would put Rupert's fortune at risk which is how it should be. The super rich should not be able to hire people to break the law for them and then take the benefits of it for their business and their personal wealth and bank it or pay off politicians to get out of accountability or limit accountability. That is the road to corruption.

Tex
 

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