The phone hacking drama is currently on every single newspaper cover, and with the arrest of Rebeckah Brooks this week, it won’t be going away any time soon. I know a bit what it feels like to feel somebody might be listening. – I’m not entirely sure if we were ever bugged but it sometimes felt that way.
My father Johnathon Aitken was finance minister and defense minister in the UK, during John Major’s term as Prime Minister, and the press were hounding us for all kinds of reasons, looking for gossip. From looking for my father’s affairs, to why he was successful, our lives were put under a microscope.
It was a beautiful moment–Rupert Murdoch, “billionaire tyrant” as The Simpsons once called him, in the middle of being grilled by a House of Commons committee, was suddenly hit by a protester with a shaving foam pie. For many appalled by the phone hacking of murder victims by News International’s News of the World paper and its bribery of police, a pie was the least of what Murdoch deserved for his role in the matter.
As a moment of political theatre, the prank by anarchist Jonny Marbles could have been the moment that Murdoch was revealed to be a mere man, stripped of his power. But the stunt may have backfired. Immediately following the incident, the supposedly “liberal” American news network MSNBC network began empathising with Murdoch, and praising Wendi Deng’s “protection” of her husband from the dire threat of shaving foam.