Rupert Murdoch's flagship Sunday tabloid in Britain, News of the World, is firing back in response to a damaging New York Times report about the newspaper's alleged illegal "phone-hacking" of political and celebrity voicemail accounts. News of the World managing editor Bill Akass, in a letter to The Times, accused it of breaching its own ethics guidelines by publishing "unsubstantiated rumor" to punish a key rival, Murdoch's Wall Street Journal. Does Team Murdoch have a case? (Watch Rupert Murdoch refuse to discuss the scandal)
Team Murdoch "has no case": Let's review News of the World's "recent ethical conduct," says Jack Shafer in Slate: One reporter jailed for illegal wiretapping, two 2009 out-of-court phone-hacking settlements worth $1.6 million, and apparent collusion with the police. And this tabloid wants to preach ethics to The Times? That's "a little like walking in on a guy shtupping your wife and having him lecture you on the evils of adultery."
"Team Murdoch on ethics"
The Times is definitely playing hardball: The phone-hacking story is about "The Times striking back" at Murdoch's Journal-led aggression, says Michael Wolff in Newser. But its trump card is what it hasn't printed — yet: If ousted World of the News Editor Andy Coulson knew about this illegal activity, then so did Murdoch and his son James. The Times wants Murdoch to know that if he tries to take on the N.Y. Times, "he and his son are going down, too."
"What did Rupert Murdoch (and son James) know, and when..."
The war is bigger than a media feud: The Times may be slinging a little mud, says Philip Stevens in the Financial Times. "The mud, though, is sticking." Scotland Yard has reopened the case, and Prime Minister David Cameron is in hot water for hiring Coulson as his press secretary. And rightly so: Having a tainted Murdoch minion as his mouthpiece shows bad judgment. Whoever wins this Times-Murdoch war, "Cameron is the loser."
"More than a tale of tabloid skulduggery"