YESTERDAY, the convicted News of the World journalists who had carried out ‘industrial scale’ hacking on behalf of Murdoch’s News International received lenient sentences.
At the end of an eight-month trial costing millions of pounds, Andy Coulson got 18 months in an open prison, Neville Thurlbeck (chief reporter) and Greg Miskiw (editor) got six months.
Glenn Mulcaire – the private detective who actually carried out the hackings – got six months suspended while news editor James Weatherup got four months suspended.
Rebekah Brooks – the News of the World ex editor and a former chief executive of News International – was found not guilty of all charges. Her defence was that she knew nothing despite her senior position in the paper.
A number of extremely important issues for the working class have been brought into the open by the whole hacking scandal.
First is the uncovering of the well-founded belief amongst Murdoch’s employees that they and the corporation they worked for were not bound by anything as mundane as the rule of law.
The close connections between this section of the capitalist class and the state was demonstrated time and again both before and during the trial.
In 2011, it emerged that out of 45 press officers employed by the Metropolitan Police force, ten were ex employees of News International.
One, Neil Wallace, a former executive of Murdoch’s company went on to become a senior advisor and PR consultant to two Met. commissioners. Indeed, a veritable revolving door policy appears to have operated between News International and the police.
On top of this was the many accusations of police being bribed on a regular basis by News International employees, a scale of corruption that exceeds anything previously made public.
It is the open involvement and subordination of both Tory and Labour leaders to the might of Murdoch’s empire that is most striking.
Coulson, six months after he was forced to resign from the News of the World, was appointed by Cameron as his media chief.
This prompted questions in the House of Commons as to why Cameron had brought a criminal into 10, Downing Street.
Cameron simply refused to answer this question and Miliband didn’t press him for an answer, let alone assert that this was a sackable offence and demand Cameron’s resignation.
Cameron’s defence of Coulson right up to the end is not surprising given the cosy and strategic relationship he enjoyed with News Corp, a relationship epitomised by his ‘friendship’ with Brooks, a friendship that became cemented after Murdoch’s papers ditched their former support for Labour under Tony Blair – another close friend of Brooks.
Blair’s friendship was such that as soon as he heard Brooks was being investigated by the police, he phoned her to offer his support and even act as her unofficial PR man.
This prompted the sister of the murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, whose phone was hacked by News of the World while Blair was prime minister, to accuse Blair of showing greater sympathy to Brooks than he did to the Dowler family. She criticised the ‘incestuous relationship between our top politicians and the press’.
She noted that Blair had never once phoned her family to offer his support. For Blair, Cameron and every one of these ‘top politicians’, the lives of ordinary working class people count for very little. What is important for them is currying favour with, and doing the bidding of the ruling class.
This has not stopped because of the hacking trial, only days ago Miliband was pictured holding up a copy of Murdoch’s Sun newspaper, a paper that is hated and reviled throughout the working class, especially in Liverpool over its sickening attack on those killed at Hillsborough.
The main lesson to emerge from the trial and all the inquiries resulting from the huge outcry about phone hacking, is that there can be no legal redress that will curb the domination of the Murdoch’s empire.
The only way to stop Murdoch is through the socialist revolution that will smash his empire by smashing up the capitalist state, and removing the ruling class that supports and protects him.