I’m a little surprised at how surprised everyone is over the News of the World tapping phones and whatsit and whatnot. Really? Are you that shocked? Tabloid news has ALWAYS been that way. I just finished reading the book The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars, all about the newspaper showdown between Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, and the grisly 1897 murder that started it — the body turned up in pieces but the head was never found. They didn’t have the technology to tap phones but those guys would go to any lengths to win readership: skewering the truth, offering massive cash rewards — they had citizens tramping through the morgue by the hundreds, attempting to identify the corpse by its weiner — stuff Horatio Caine would NEVER let you get away with today.
Also, a while ago I read Tabloid Prodigy, by the stunningly self absorbed and unscrupulous Marlise Elizabeth Kast. A former tabloid journalist, Kast claims she left the profession because she started having doubts and something or other about a conscience. But no remorse is evident in the gleefully endless rationalization for doing things like sneaking into Roseanne Barr’s hotel room to rifle through stuff (and I hex you EXTRA, Ms. Kast, for making me take Roseanne’s side). It’s a good read. But tabloids are gross.
Anyhoodle. Came across this sketch from a Bit of Fry and Laurie, made in the 1995, in which the two Brit funnymen skewer Murdoch in a sketch spoofing It’s A Wonderful Life. I found it through Dangerous Minds, and a Tumblr post says they got to it through Roger Ebert’s Facebook page.
Clearly this stuff is nothing new and Murdoch has always been unpopular.