Rupert Murdoch momentarily snatches the crown as most despised media baron from Conrad Black

Rupert Murdoch momentarily snatches the crown as most despised media baron from Conrad Black

Evil media barons number one and two

The bad news just keeps piling on. First, Conrad Black was sentenced to another 42 months in an American prison. Then, he was fined an extra $125,000 for his troubles (on top of suggestions he should also lose his place in the Order of Canada). But the icing on the cake for Lord Black may just be that when it comes to diabolic media barons, ol’ Conrad’s shenanigans are starting to look a touch tame compared to those of Rupert Murdoch, who’s currently watching his press empire teeter thanks to some pretty despicable reporting tactics.

The Guardian has the story:

Journalists from across News International repeatedly targeted the former prime minister Gordon Brown, attempting to access his voicemail and obtaining information from his bank account and legal file as well as his family’s medical records.

There is also evidence that a private investigator used a serving police officer to trawl the police national computer for information about him. That investigator also targeted another Labour MP who was the subject of hostile inquiries by the News of the World, but it is not confirmed whether News International was specifically involved in trawling police computers for information on Brown.

Specifically, the Murdoch-owned papers published private information about Brown’s young son—who has cystic fibrosis. To paraphrase the Guardian: some of this stuff is illegal, but almost all of it is deeply skeezy. Also targeted were the families of UK service members, and apparently a 9/11 victim. All that makes a videotape of Black seizing evidence from his offices by way of a back alley look almost innocent by comparison. In this situation, we only hope that Lord Black musters up sufficient self-restraint to curtain his infamous competitive streak: it might be best to let Rupert retain the crown this time.

Murdoch tabloid scandal reaches 9/11 victims, ex-PM Gordon Brown [Toronto Star]
Hepburn: The case against Conrad Black [Toronto Star]
News International papers targeted Gordon Brown [Guardian UK]

(Images: Conrad Black—Charles LeBlanc; Rupert Murdoch—World Economic Forum)