Friday, July 8, 2011

Breaking News: Phone Hacking Scandal and The 26th Law of Power

 This post concerns the British Tabloid that was involved in the recent hacking scandal. [Note: This also connects with the case for regulation of news media.]

There is a timeline of events here, that suggest there was some hanky panky going on in the background (i.e. payments being made for keeping people happy/silent) such as this one;
January 2007 – News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire are convicted of conspiracy to hack into phone voice mails of royals and are jailed. Andy Coulson, the paper's editor, claims to be unaware of hacking but still resigns.

July 2007 – Goodman and Mulcaire sue the tabloid for wrongful dismissal. Goodman receives £80,000 and Mulcaire receives an undisclosed amount. (click here to read more)

How can you get money for wrongful dismissal if you are guilty? Well, the story is still breaking...for example;

One of the Murdoch's has this to say, "The Company paid out-of-court settlements approved by me. I now know that I did not have a complete picture when I did so. This was wrong and is a matter of serious regret."

To say that making a payment was wrong, after such a large time period, is unusual.

And this, "We have also admitted liability in civil cases. Already, we have settled a number of prominent cases and set up a Compensation Scheme, with cases to be adjudicated by former High Court judge Sir Charles Gray. Apologising and making amends is the right thing to do."

There are still bugs to work out with asking questions and understanding business deals, however, since lie detector tests are allowed in civil suits, I think it's a good idea for citizens to take advantage of this and thoroughly interrogate any suspects associated with the invasion of privacy laws. (It won't happen, but I wanted to say this anyways).

On a side note ... or more accurately, something more directly related to the art of politics...

About 22 seconds into the video...

Notice that the entire staff is new (except for 3 people) - which means all the people involved in the hacking scandal have left.

According to the 26th law of power from the book, "The 48 Laws of Power"

Basic Law: "Keep Your Hands Clean: You must seem a paragon of civility and efficiency: your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds. Maintain such a spotless appearance by using others as scapegoats and cat's-paws to disguise your involvement."

Shutting down the newspaper, as if to blame an 'institution' or more accurately to blame a newspaper headquarters for any misdeeds done, thus wiping your hands clean.

To make this law work properly you have to "Conceal your mistakes - Have a scapegoat around to take the blame" as the author explains on page 201, "Our good name and reputation depend more on what we conceal than on what we reveal. Everyone makes mistakes, but those who are truly clever manage to hide them, and to make sure someone else is blamed. A convenient scapegoat should always be kept around for such moments."

If you watch the above video you will notice that the original wrong doers have all left. And one of the top executives, a woman by the name of Rebekah Brooks...has an interesting history with Murdoch...
In March 2003 she courted controversy -- and hinted at the scandal to come -- when, appearing before a government committee, she admitted that her paper had paid police officers for information. 
Brooks held the Sun post until 2009 when she was handpicked for the role of News International chief executive by the paper's owner, media magnate Rupert Murdoch.
The pair had been close for many years: Murdoch is said to treat Brooks like a daughter.

If this was a movie and the whole editorial staff didn't get fired I could see the detective saying. "Not firing the one in charge was your mistake as that person connects you directly to the crime... that and the settlements you made makes this a juicy case..." but, nowadays, you can just close down a building and people are so caught up in names that they associate the name News Of The World with all the wrong deeds done by individuals (i.e. the deeds were done by people NOT a building).

I find this new use of the 26th law of power very disturbing.

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