'This book uncovers the inner workings of one of the most powerful companies in the world: how it came to exert a poisonous, secretive influence on public life in Britain, how it used its huge power to bully, intimidate and cover up, and how its exposure has changed the way we look at our politicians, our police service and our press.'
Rupert Murdoch's newspapers had been hacking phones, blagging information and casually destroying people's lives for years, but it was only after a trivial report about Prince William's knee in 2005 that detectives stumbled on a criminal conspiracy. A five-year cover-up then concealed and muddied the truth. Dial M for Murdoch gives the first connected account of the extraordinary lengths to which the Murdochs' News Corporation went to "put the problem in a box" (in James Murdoch's words), how its efforts to maintain and extend its power were aided by its political and police friends, and how it was finally exposed.
The book is full of details which have never been disclosed before in public, including the smears and threats against politicians, journalists and lawyers. It reveals the existence of brave insiders who pointed those pursuing the investigation towards pieces of secret information that cracked open the case.
By contrast, many of the main players in the book are unsavoury, but by the end of it you have a clear idea of what they did. Seeing the story whole, as it is presented here for the first time, allows the character of the organisation which it portrays to emerge unmistakeably. You will hardly believe it.
A thriller on par with the legendary All the President's Men, the story of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and British phone hacking scandal makes for political drama at its finest. Hickman, the reporter for The Independent who pursued the story; and Watson, a relentless Labour Party Parliament member who helped lead the government investigation that toppled the nearly 170-year-old News of the World, have produced a gripping account that will likely be a go-to source in years to come. News of the World reporters hacked voicemail messages of royals, actors, and soccer notables to drive newspaper sales in the hyper-competitive world of the tabloid press. Led by Rupert Murdoch, the paper's executives exerted enough pressure on police and politicians to foil years of investigations. An elaborate cover-up that passed off the hacking as the work of a "rogue reporter" and a private investigator was initially successful, but what ultimately undid the tabloid and brought down top execs like Rebekah Brooks were the revelations that reporters deleted voicemails of a murdered teenager, deceiving police and her family into thinking that she might still be alive. Anyone interested in the media scandal of the decade and its reverberations across the pond won't be able to put this book down. Photos.