By John Romano
(YBH) – First it was Big George Webley who relayed a fear of the Murdoch machine and wound up dead. Now it’s Sean Hoare. Two British media whistleblowers. Two untimely deaths.
Let’s assume that neither was killed by Rupert Murdoch (toxicology reports haven’t been made available; foul play isn’t suspected by British authorities in either case), but something happened that put the fear of God into both men. Neither was known as a lunatic before their demise, both simply told the truth to British authorities about what they knew of Mr. Murdoch’s enterprises and died afterward at a relatively young age.
Mr. Hoare’s role in the evolving scandal is obvious: he worked at News of the World and broke the scandal wide open by charging his former editor, and then Prime Minister David Cameron’s Communications Director Andy Coulson, with lying about his role in NOTW’s phone hacking. Big George, for his part, allegedly revealed in private testimony to British authorities the fact that the Sky TV show he worked on in the early 90′s ,”Jameson Tonight”, had routinely bugged the dressing rooms of guests looking for scoops. Mr Webley’s charge was relevant because News Corp.’s initial defense was that the hacking at NOTW was the work of a rogue reporter. Big George’s charge threw cold water on that defense by helping to establish a pattern of subterfuge over many years at Murdoch-owned enterprises.
At first, Big George’s April 29th frantic phone call to me (eight days before his death at age 53, details here) didn’t make much sense. Now that the scandal has broken wide open a few things are much clearer:
- The hacking/bugging taking place at News Corp. businesses was far more widespread than previously known.
- Based on their dismissals from News Corp. it is shown that the hacking went far up the food chain all the way to Les Hinton, who resigned as head of Dow Jones last week.
- The police were involved, as evidenced by the resignation of two of Scotland Yard’s top cops.
- Prime Minister David Cameron’s Communication Director was a former Murdoch employee and News of the World editor.
The United Kingdom is the closest western country to a de facto police state. Surveillance cameras are everywhere. No Bill of Rights (in law or practice), and by living there you acknowledge that you are a subject of the British Crown. Britain is a great place, but it is not exactly a place where freedom flourishes compared with the United States, France or Canada.
Given the above, it is very easy to envision a scenario where the police could and would build a campaign of quiet intimidation against men like Mr. Webley and Mr. Hoare. London police were on the payroll of a Murdoch enterprise; why wouldn’t they act to protect their racket?
The Murdoch empire is fighting for its life, but let’s not forget both Sean Hoare and Big George Webley, two men that it would seem either directly or indirectly are collateral damage in the whole affair. Someone needs to speak for them.