Are US Citizens Immune To Their Involvement In The UK Royal Hacking Scandal?
By W.T. “Bill” McKibben, Senior Counsel, The Great Lakes Group
Shakespeare has left us with a picture of the Danes -especially members of the Royal family like Hamlet- as rather pouty young guys. In fact they are really nice people and Denmark is a very nice (if a bit chilly) small nation, most famous for design and Legos. Scandal is not a word you expect to connect to the Danes at all. However, last Tuesday (2014.05.14) they were hit with “Major Media Scandal” headlines.
In 2008 the Queen’s younger son took a second try at marriage. Joachim Holger Waldemar Christian, the Count of Monpezat, married Marie Cavallier, a Parisian advertising executive. While their wedding was quite public their honeymoon plans were not. You can imagine their surprise when a reporter from a Danish celebrity magazine turned up on their flight home. The reporter got an interview (he says they answered his questions politely) and until last week the Prince and his bride had no idea how he found them. Therein lies the scandal. The magazine paid off a source to hack a credit card used to book the flight. This revelation has triggered a firestorm of legal and regulatory activity in Demark.
Alas, Denmark’s “Tuesday” in the media scandal spotlight was not to last. The very next day Clive Goodman, one of Rupert Murdoch’s editors, fessed-up in a London court that he hacked the phones of Prince William, Kate Middleton and Price Harry more than 200 times. That was in 2007, the year before Goodman was caught and jailed for this and similar “research” efforts. Perhaps the Danes picked up the Royal Hack idea from the Murdoch pond scum school of journalism.
While this is all great fun, we need to look at the serious side. There is more to our right to know than gossip and much more to journalism than the Murdoch minions’ petty view imagines. A British Parliamentary Committee found that “Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” Clive Goodman and others steeped in Murdoch’s duplicitous culture have felt the weight of the law. The question remains, why have they not felt it in America?
Rupert Murdoch is a United States citizen; he had to become an American before he could own radio and television stations in our country. It’s one thing for him to be deemed “not a fit person” in Great Britain, in America it’s the law. Bribing foreign officials is illegal. Murdoch’s operations in Great Britain routinely bribed law enforcement officers and other officials. Murdoch should be stripped of his American broadcast stations. He should be charged and tried for his illegal activities along with his henchmen who flaunt their disregard for America and our laws. The Danes are taking care of their business, it’s time for America to take care of ours.