The British phone hacking scandal just gets worse and worse, and although I haven't followed every single twist and turn, it seems clear that Rupert Murdoch is in a bunch of trouble, and deservedly so. The latest revelations "implicate everyone," as Salon wrote, and it's becoming increasingly evident that this scandal isn't the work of a few bad apples, but rather a symptom of a corrupt and repugnant business culture.
The one thing that amazes me is the level of shock being expressed in certain quarters over how far-reaching the scandal is. Were people under the illusion that Rupert Murdoch is a principled businessman? And if so, why? There's never been any reason to believe Rupert Murdoch is a good person, and the fact that he built a corrupt and morally bankrupt corporate enterprise should come as a surprise to exactly no one.
The government of David Cameron is also looking pretty compromised, and although I'm hardly an expert on British politics, I don't find this particularly shocking, either. Governments throughout the world ally themselves with powerful yet unprincipled people, and I don't see any reason why the Cameron government would be any different.
So far, the scandal has largely been framed as a British issue, but this month Rolling Stone reporter Tim Dickinson makes the case that all of the dirty tricks exposed in England - hacking, political payoffs, hush money settlements - are also happening here in the U.S.
Here's an excerpt:
"Indeed, an examination of Murdoch's corporate history reveals that each of the elements of the scandal in London – hacking, thuggish reporting tactics, unethical entanglements with police, hush-money settlements and efforts to corrupt officials at the highest levels of government – extend far beyond Fleet Street. Over the past decade, News Corp. has systematically employed such tactics in its U.S. operations, exhibiting what a recent lawsuit filed against the firm calls a 'culture run amok.' As a former high-ranking News Corp. executive tells Rolling Stone: 'It's the same shit, different day.'"
Hopefully we'll learn more about the extent of News Corp.'s corruption in the weeks and months to come. But at this point the only thing that would surprise me would be evidence exonerating Murdoch and his minions.
In related news, a new study has found that mean men are more successful in their jobs and earn more money than their nicer counterparts. This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who has spent more than four minutes in the workplace, but I suspect there are still some innocents out there, clinging to the belief that the office is a place of merit and that successful people are decent at the core.