H/T Jonathan Sacerdoti
The Guardian’s coverage of the UK phone hacking scandal has saturated their pages.
They’ve devoted an extraordinary amount of space to the row regarding the illegal intrusion into private phone calls, which their editors have denounced as representing “a toxic influence over key areas of our civic life”.
The revelations have resulted in the arrest of several employees of Rupert Murdoch’s now defunct tabloid, News of the World, as well as other British journalists - a scandal which has been described as Murdochgate or Rupertgate and has resulted in an FBI investigation into the possible illegal activities of Murdoch’s News Corp in the U.S.
Inquiries initiated by British PM David Cameron led to several high-profile resignations, including Dow Jones chief executive Les Hinton; News International legal manager Tom Crone; and chief executive Rebekah Brooks.
Today, per the Media Ethics blog of The Village Voice:
David Leigh, an assistant editor at the Guardian, admitted to hacking people’s voicemails in an article written in 2006 that just seems to have been dug up. Leigh listened to the messages of a “corrupt arms company executive,” and said his aim was to expose “bribery and corruption.” Interestingly, his paper was the one who broke the empire-burning News of the World hacking scandal in the first place.
I, too, once listened to the mobile phone messages of a corrupt arms company executive – the crime similar to that for which Goodman now faces the prospect of jail. The trick was a simple one: the businessman in question had inadvertently left his pin code on a print-out and all that was needed was to dial straight into his voicemail.
Per the Village Voice post, the Guardian said that the paper “does not and has not authorised phone hacking.”
In an email Q&A with readers, Rusbridger, in response to a question about what the Guardian’s rules are concerning phone hacking and similar “intrusions”, said:
“Any intrusion must be authorised at a sufficiently senior level and with appropriate oversight.”
So, the questions are:
Did Rusbridger authorise Leigh’s phone hacking?
If not, when did Rusbridger find out that Leigh, a senior staffer – who, astonishingly, had been reporting on the phone hacking scandal for the Guardian as recently as July 22nd - was engaging in a possibly illegal act?
And, in light of the scandal, why hasn’t Leigh been asked to resign?
What did Rusbridger know and when did he know it?