The parliamentary committee investigating phone hacking laughed aloud when Labour MP Tom Watson announced on Wednesday that he'd bought News Corp. shares so that he could speak at the company's annual general meeting on October 21 in Los Angeles. But Watson wasn't kidding: he tweeted soon thereafter, "Bags packed. Dollars in wallet. Passport safe. Hollywood here I come."
If you've watched any of the parliamentary hearings, you know that Tom Watson has actively positioned himself as News Corp.'s number one enemy in the phone hacking investigation. Watson was the one asking Rupert and James Murdoch the hardest questions when they appeared before Parliament's Culture Committee in July, and presumably those are the same types of questions he'll ask News Corp.'s shareholders and executives at the AGM on Friday. It's a natural extension of Watson's lauded efforts to bring the company's misbehavior to light for the past two years. Watson was one of the first members of parliament to start acting tough on News Corp. after Murdoch's The Sun falsely implicated him in a political scandal in 2009. (Rebekah Brooks was The Sun's editor at the time.) Watson took legal action against the company, won and was paid damages. Ever since, he's been aggressive about holding the company accountable.