Under close scrutiny and investigation: Fleet Street, News of the World, Sean Hoare, Rupert Murdock, and Andy Coulson
Fleet Street, News of the World, Sean Hoare, Rupert Murdock, and Andy Coulson
“Get cash for your story” advertises the Sun on July 21, even as the close scrutiny and investigation that tabloids are under for illegal wire tapping and salacious stories. In 1969, Rupert Murdock landed in London with the purpose of purchasing News of the World. Andrew Whittam Smith (a young financial journalist at the time) welcomed Murdoch at Heathrow airport and drove him to Savoy Hotel. Murdoch demanded to have his room changed: “I am afraid my reserved room could be bugged or phone line tapped” . Listening on private lines will be the most lucrative wealth generation, for timely and juicy private pieces of intelligence on the stars and bereaved families.
“I was paid to go out with rock stars, get drunk, and sniff cocaine with the rich and glamorous stars” confided Sean Hoare, the old star reporter of the tabloids of the Murdock media empire, who managed to present firm proofs that News of the World was engaged in endemic wire tapping on stars and private citizens. Hoare continues: “This is a hyper-competitive job and you have got to forget your professional duties and do what a sane person never contemplate to do. We are trained to become a machine of producing scoops, whatever is the cost.” Hoare was the correspondent of “show-business” section, related to music, movie, TV, and the rock stars.
Fleet Street was the main avenue in London that hosted most of the large dailies, until Rupert Murdock of News of the World dislodged them to Wapping, by the Docklands. News of the World was in direct competition with Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail, and sold 5 million copies.
Fleet Street was a state of mind: reporters and investigators breath for the daily; they camped three nights at a time in front of the targeted apartment and paid handsomely for important pieces of intelligence. Fleet Street reporters were of the hard core type, acquired great intuition, and learned doubtful, and illegal practices. They had to: If they failed to bring in juicy scoops, they were liable to be fired on the spot. The tabloid reporters were constantly pressured to produce more sensational, and more intimate scoops.
For example, when the “men of Fleet Street” landed in France to cover the death of Lady D, they managed to gather in a few hours more information than the most famous correspondents.
The 47 year-old Sean Hoare, primary witness to the British scandal of systematic wire tapping practices by News of the World and paying off police force for information, was found dead on Monday, July 18, in his house in Watford. The police declared: “This death cannot be explained, but it is not suspect apparaently.”
Sean Hoare was hired by The Sun in 1998 from the Sunday People and was taken in charge by Andy Coulson who wrote the column “Bizarre” till 2003. Andy Coulson was the current spokesman of England Cameron PM, before he was fired after the scandal broke out.
Sean Hoare followed Andy Coulson as he headed News of the World till 2003. In 2001, Hoare received the Shafta Prize of the tabloids. In 2005, Sean Hoare is fired from the News of the World and decided in 2009 to “tell it all”. News of the World denied the revelations of this drug addict and useless “whistle blower”.
For two years, Hoare is abandoned by his friends, left as a refuse, and he sank even deeper into addiction and booze.
The legal proceedings to go after the top powerful directors of News of the World are based on the “The Regulation Of Investigatory Powers Act” of 2000. The clause under “Penal Responsibilities of the administrators…” stipulates “A moral entity who connives or consents on an illegal action…or attributed to an act of negligence…of an administrator, a cadre, or a secretary… will be deemed participating in the crime…”
Consequently, Rabekah Brooks, Andy Coulson… and ultimately Rupert Murdock will be tried in justice.
Note 1: A few chronological events: November 2005: News of the World publishes an article on Prince Charles and Buckingham palace demand an investigation. January 2007, Clive Goodman (specialized in covering the royal family) is put in prison for 4 months on account of illegally tapping the royal phone lines. Goodman’s private detective Glenn Mulcaire serves six months of prison. July 2009, The daily The Guardian reveals that at least 3,000 personalities were tapped. January 2011, Andy Coulson resigns. July 7, 2011, News of the World publishes it last issue.
Note 2: This article was inspired from a piece in the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur and written by Jean-Gabriel Fredet.