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Tracking the wake of Hackgate

Rupert Murdoch is driven from his apartment on July 20, 2011 in London, England.
Rupert Murdoch is driven from his apartment on July 20, 2011 in London, England.
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For more than three weeks the Hackgate scandal has ricocheted intensely through Rupert Murdoch's media empire and beyond. It originated at one of his British tabloids, News of the World. Unscrupulous reporters and editors were directly and indirectly involved in hacking the voicemails of up to 4,000 individuals. After years of incremental developments, Hackgate exploded this month with fresh allegations about one phone-hacking target. Allegedly, a News of the World investigator hacked the voicemail of a teenage kidnapping victim. It was done in such a way that led the victim's parents to believe she was still alive, though she had already been murdered. That event occurred in 2002, but new information revealed the worst of the allegations thanks to dogged reporting by British newspaper, The Guardian, along with The New York Times. Since then, the News of the World has been shut down. Reporters and editors have been arrested. Murdoch was dragged in front of British Parliament, and it goes on from there. The tentacles of News Corp. seem to touch all echelons of media and politics. NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflick has been covering Hackgate endlessly of late. What new information has emerged? What are the connections to American politics? What does this story say about press regulation? What about media ownership and concentration? How will it change relationships between journalists, media owners, politicians and police? What are the most significant aspects of Hackgate?


David Folkenflik, NPR's media correspondent