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Phone Hacking Corruption and the Closure of the News of the World

Rupert Murdoch Scandal


The case in this essay is Rupert Murdoch Scandal, which is about the misuse of the power by key media owner to further their own agenda instead of what the media should really do (“FreePress”, 2011). The case focuses on the News of the World newspaper, which is owned by News Corp where some of its journalists were hacking of key personalities in the UK like the royal family members (Boyle, 2015). The essay, therefore, specifically focuses on misuse of media powers by News Corp and its executives like Rupert Murdoch to meet its aims in the UK.

Summary of the Case

Rupert Murdoch scandal started merely as an investigation against rogue journalists who were eavesdropping on some of the royal family members. However, it turned out to be one of the biggest and the most popular media scandal in the world where many journalists and executives of the News of the World were arrested and some even sentenced to many months of imprisonment. Some of the people that were arrested included one of the royal reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Mulcoire (Boyle, 2015).

What started as a small investigation revealed that the News of the World journalists were hacking phones through the use of device pre-set pin codes to access private voicemails of key personalities in the UK. Their prime targets were members of royal family, movie stars in British, politicians, footballer, and members of Scotland Yard. The person who was at the centre of the scandal was Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of News Corp and a famous figure in the international media industry (“Freepress”, 2011).

Murdoch misused his powers to manipulate the news in order to achieve his own agenda and that of his company. He used his powers to influence legislatures to pass corporate friendly policies and to shut down the unfavorable ones to further his agenda. In addition, he used his media to influence politics by endorsing his friends and airing negative coverage against perceived enemies. Even though some journalists were arrested, Murdoch and his key allies like his son James Murdoch denied the claims that they were personally responsible and they were never arrested. Government agencies that were supposed to pursue the matter never responded as was expected (Chittum, 2011).

Theoretical Underpinnings

The case can be associated with a school of thought known as “the manufacturing of consent.” The proponents of the theory are Edward Harman and Noam Chomsky. The assumptions of the theory include: media is used as propaganda tool; media live in fear of political leaders; the true role of media is unrealistic because it is unprofitable. The theory states that media owners, law enforcing officers and political leaders are operating in a mutual back-scratching system (Herman & Chomsky, 2002).

The case fulfils the assumptions of the theory because Murdoch and his media company neglected its key objective of government watchdog because it was unprofitable. Because of the fear of politicians, he worked closely with them to influence their elections and intimidated those who could not tore the line. Law enforcers like private investigators were also compromised Murdoch and his company while politicians also agreed that they played the game of influence. The theory of manufacturing of consent, therefore, perfectly matches the case (Mason, 2011).

Key Questions

There are two main questions that arise from the case: why were the journalists hacking phones of some of the prominent people in the UK? And why was Murdoch interested in political elections? It is clear from the case that journalist and Murdoch were doing all these to serve their own interest, to get as much power as possible, and to maximize profits so that News Corp can continue to dominate media industry in the world (Chittum, 2011).


The case shows that media has a lot of influence in the society and create a lot of impact. However, it is always used to serve the interest of a few people in the society, especially to gain power and to gain wealth. It also shows that justice is only meant for powerful people in the society while common people face a lot of injustices. For instance, only journalists were arrested while the key suspects like Murdoch and his son James were protected.


The case shows that the media, in most instances have failed to serve their mean roles, but instead serving its own interest. There is a lot of insincerity in the media as their main agenda is to serve their own interest and to protect and propagate for the agenda of the a few powerful people in the society. The media has increasingly become irresponsible as they invade privacy of individuals in the name of getting news.


Boyle, C. (2015). British phone-hacking scandal was a low point for Rupert Murdoch. Retrieved from 20150611- story.html

Chittum, R. (2011). Rupert Murdoch and the Corporate Culture of News Corp. Retrieved from

Freespress. (2011). Rupert Murdoch Scandal. Retrieved from murdoch-scandal

Herman, E. & Chomsky, N. (2002). Manufacturing Concent: The Political Economy of Mass Media. Retrieved from %202002%20-%20by%20Chomsky%20and%20Herman.pdf

Mason, P. (2011). Murdoch: the network defeats the hierarchy. Retrieved from