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Dial M For Murdoch [Hardcover]

Tom Watson

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Book Description

May 22 2012
'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.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (May 22 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846146038
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846146039
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 662 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #487,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Even if you are familiar with the News of the World phone-hacking saga, you will be gobsmacked by this account. It is a tale of stupidity, incompetence, lying, downright wickedness and corruption in high places. -- Peter Wilby Guardian The authors weave the events of the past decade into a compulsive narrative that includes not only phone hacking but email interception, surveillance, burglary, cover-ups, political influence and - at its darkest - murder. Anyone who has lost track of what happened, or why it matters, should read this book -- Jonathan Heawood Daily Telegraph 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... a gripping account that will likely be a go-to source in years to come. Publishers Weekly I'm not planning on reading it. -- Rupert Murdoch --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

TOM WATSON is the MP for West Bromwich East. He campaigns against unlawful media practices and led the questioning of Rupert and James Murdoch when they appeared before Parliament in July 2011. He is the deputy chair of the Labour Party. MARTIN HICKMAN has worked for the Independent since 2001, and has driven the paper's coverage of the phone hacking scandal. He was named Journalist of the Year by the Foreign Press Association in 2009.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In one word "Brilliant" April 25 2012
By J. Scharenborg-meachen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my Kindle yesterday evening. I started reading it at about 23.00 and just could not put it down, it is written in the "third person" which makes it very easy to read and understand. I still have about 100 pages left to read, but will do that this evening. This book has brought everything together about what #leveson is really all about! I can truely recommend it, but be warned, once you start you wont be able to stop reading!! great stuff
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The incestuous relationships between the press, the police and politicians May 30 2012
By Sussman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Where to begin when trying to do a review of book which is still topical today,in Britain, as it was when found out the depths to which certain newspapers were willing to go to get a front page story, and hence sell their papers. No public or private life was safe; these newspapers did not care about the human or ethical cost.

The latest instalment being the arrest of Ms Rebekah Brooks, on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, as part of the investigation into phone hacking. Back 2010, the' Dial M book' claims that the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee decided not to push Rebekah Brooks to give evidence in early 2010 because they feared her retribution in the words of the former MP Adam Price, "if we went for her, they would go for us - effectively they would delve into our private lives in order to punish us."

As for the allegations of cosy relations between News Corporation and the police are concerned, a serving police officer was arrested in Jan 2012, a former royal protection and counter terrorism police officer was arrested in May 2012 and thus far Detectives from Operation Elveden have now arrested 27 people over allegations that journalists made illegal payments to public officials and police officers. As for political figures, well the books interesting reading on that topic as well.

The authors Dial M argue convincingly Rupert Murdoch shadow, if not his mode of business twisted the conditions in which hacking was expected to take place, not as an anomaly, but as part of a mode of doing business the success at all costs dictate which bent and ultimately break the rules. Murdoch seems to lurk behind each page in book of this book, he is rarely in the narrative physically, unless in the less congenial surroundings of the Leveson inquiry, as seen recently. The authors theorise, as the Sun newspaper was closed, after the revelations there, that News International may be sacrificed in order to protect News Corp group, and thus insulate the heart of its corporate dynasty - Rupert Murdoch?

While there are detractors of the authors work in Dial M, I give one example from Ms J L Dico review in the Independent (UK). Ms Dico's assessment sited two areas of concern, the first being while the story is very topical and the media have `teased out' every minutia of detail - in essence was their, the authors, account of the time line of events really necessary and hence was there a need for Dial M book, as the narrative was already out `there' via various media outlets. From my perspective I would say yes there was.
The other critique was the concern that Tom Watson was too close to the subject, as he involved in some of the events and his narrative smacks of self-interest as part author of Dial M. On this point I am still to make up my mind.

The authors, Watson and Hickman, interlace the events of the past decade into a driven narrative that includes not only phone hacking but email interception, surveillance, burglary, cover-ups and political influence. For those who have lost track of what happened, or why it matters, this is a must read book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO May 29 2012
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It's not too early to have a book on the British phone-hacking scandals that have dealt such a body-blow to the Murdoch news empire. Public interest in the matter is probably as strong now as it is ever likely to be, the amount of data that has got into the public domain could already do with a bit of summarising and editing for the public's own benefit, and one of the authors is a Member of Parliament who has done as much as anyone else to take the lid off a very interesting stew. We could do with hearing it all told his way while it is still fresh in his mind.

Britain has no right to privacy underwritten by the law, but not quite anything goes. In particular hacking into private phone messages or emails is illegal, and it slowly became apparent that Murdoch's News of the World was doing exactly that. The exposure started in a strange way, with a trivial piece of news that Prince William had strained a tendon in his knee while kicking a ball around: big deal indeed, until someone thought to ask where the story had come from. Gradually other, more newsworthy, cases of hacking came to light. The British public would still not have had a fit of moral outrage if these stories had all been about which footballer was having it off with whom. When the victims of the intrusion were the families of murdered children, then some basic sense of decency kicked in.

That is to say, it kicked in among the general public, not in the News International office. To start off with, they denied all. Then it was allegedly a single rogue reporter. Then it was a few rogue reporters. Gradually, the walls of the fortress fell down, weakened by the implausibility of the defenders' stories and the persistence of the attacks. There was a culture of abuse and illegality, and I wonder how many people without a personal interest in the matter could ever have believed it was anything other than that. An excellent summary of the situation is quoted from the eminent journalist Andrew Neil, once Murdoch's very own satrap as editor of the Sunday Times:

`You create a climate in which people think it's all right to do certain things. And I would argue that Rupert Murdoch with his take-no-prisoners attitude to journalism - the end will justify the means, do whatever it takes - created the kind of newsroom climate in which hacking and other things were done with impunity on a large scale.'

Another instructive comment came from one of the victims of the scandal, the comedy actor Steve Coogan:

`Strangely, I don't think it was a malicious personal vendetta against me. My feeling is that it was a dispassionate sociopathic act by those who operate in an amoral universe where they are never accountable.'

Malicious personal vendettas were reserved for those perceived as `anti', such as the softly-spoken Tom Watson MP, and the report from behind the ramparts that it had become personal with the News of the World's hyperbolic editor Rebekah Wade is very easy to believe. He stuck to his own guns, gaining at least one valuable and equally determined ally as he went along, and he obviously enjoyed asking James Murdoch at a Parliamentary Committee hearing whether he (JM) was the only mafia boss in history who did not know he was running a mafia. It can't have been easy for him at other times, e.g. when he found that not just the police but organised crime were involved with the newshounds, and one informant was murdered in what looked like a contract job. Watson feared for his life, and in his place I would have feared for mine. It would have been dumb not to.

As for the police, the book's final summary says quite accurately that their reputation for honesty and competence will take a while to recover. I thought back 30 or 40 years to the time when one eminent judge ruled that the British public would surely not have wished for certain matters shedding a dubious light on the administration of the law to be subjected to legal appeal, on the grounds that that would shake public confidence in the institutions concerned. So there has really been progress - that sort of condescending insolence would arouse public outrage these days. What makes this saga so important, I'd say, is not just in nailing some miscreants, but in shaking au fond a whole culture embracing several institutions we would prefer to think of as pillars of society.

The book is very up to date as I type these remarks on 29 May 2012. The Moving Finger has not stopped writing yet, but we are a long way down the text. The book ends on a note of understandable caution--Rupert Murdoch is still in charge of his empire. Well, I don't want regime change, I want culture change here in British journalism, which actually owes a lot to him. The old boy is over 80 and I wish him many years yet, but it's time he and some others learned a lesson. Now other parties have to do whatever it takes to clean up the collective act.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Truth is more sinister than you think July 25 2012
By mari - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dial M for Murdoch takes you into a world of corruption in the higher offices of London. It is brilliant in it's modesty and humility. It doesn't brag about it's achievements but states facts that would seem bizarre and unbelievable if it wasn't undeniably true. It shows the Murdochs and their ilk as corrupt, immoral, dishonest, incredibly greedy for money and power and willing to do anything to get what they want. The amazing thing is the book discusses these criminals objectively, even as one of the authors is being put through hell by other politicians and journalists.
It is a MUST READ. You will not believe how horrible politics and media can be.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story Feb. 18 2013
By N. Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this in one afternoon and was appalled at the lengths Murdoch's people would go to first cover up and secondly divert blame for it's phone hacking.

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