News Corp.'s private investigator may have targeted dead soldiers' families. Scotland Yard is once again investigating Glenn Mulcaire--the investigator hired by News of the World and later jailed for hacking into royal aides' phones. Claims emerged recently that Mulcaire hacked into the phones of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, a charge that The Guardian says will "further shock the public, who have already reacted with horror to news that the paper intercepted voicemails left on a phone belonging to murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and targeted the phones of families of victims of the 7/7 attacks." The Royal British Legion, the leading charity supporting British veterans, is severing ties with News of the World as a result.
Everybody wants News Intl. CEO Rebekah Brooks to resign. A quick survey of leading British papers' editorial sections on Thursday morning reveals widespread calls for Brooks, who was the editor of the News of the World when the tabloid hacked into Dowler's phone and now is the top executive of News Corp.'s British newspaper division, to step down. The Financial Times claims that Brooks's "position is untenable" and that regardless of her knowledge of the hacking, "the final responsibility was hers." The Independent, similarly, says that it's "hard to see how Ms Brooks can remain in her present position, even if it is true that she was unaware of the hacking of the Dowler phones."
Scandal offers Parliament a unique opportunity to investigate Murdoch. The House of Commons is aggressively pursuing claims that police may have known about this week's revelations all along. In debating the issue Wednesday, legislators seized the opportunity "to denounce reporting tactics by newspapers once seen as too politically influential to challenge," says The New York Times. "Prime Minister David Cameron, whose Conservative Party benefits from Mr. Murdoch’s support, stopped short of calling for an immediate investigation" into News Corp. until after police conclude their criminal investigation into the matters.
Advertisers are fleeing in droves, but that probably won't hurt News Corp. We learned Wednesday that Ford, Lloyd's Bank, Renault and Coca Cola pulled their ads from News of the World in response to the public outrage over the Dowler hack. Halifax, the Cooperative Group, Virgin Holidays and Mitsubishi join those who have fled and T-Mobile, Orange and Npower are reviewing their contracts, reports CNN. So far, the financial consequences of the boycott seems manageable for News Corp., who "does not yet face heavy financial losses, according to The New York Times.
The hacking scandal now threatens News Corp.'s massive takeover of BSkyB. The real worry for News Corp., the Times report suggests, is that scrutiny from the on-going investigation into News of the World's hacking practices and, consequentially, News Corp.'s business practices could threaten a planned acquisition of the BSkyB satellite television company. The $12 billion takeover has already drawn criticism from lawmakers and regulators for giving News Corp. too large a market share. “We have let one man have far too great a sway over our national life,” Chris Bryant, a Labour member of Parliament, told The New York Times. Conservative Zac Goldsmith called Murdoch guilty of "systematic abuse of almost unprecedented power."