Friday, November 28, 2014

Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up With the World's Most Powerful Man.
Nick Davies
448 pages
Faber & Faber 
ISBN: 9780865478817

Hack Attack is Nick Davies'account how he spent years researching the full truth of the phone hacking scandal. He exposes the obfuscations, cover ups and outright lies not just by News of the World and News International (Murdoch's UK arm of his media company) but also those in the police, politics and even the Department of Prosecution.

On the surface it's a crime story. One of criminal behaviour and and the attempt to cover it all up. And that alone makes compelling reading But beneath that is a cautionary tale about the downsize of global free trade. What happens when a company becomes too powerful and generates fear among those who should be watching and regulating them: Government and law enforcement.

While the Leveson enquiry uncovered a lot of the wrongdoing and criminality inside Murdoch's UK division, those at the top who are ultimately responsible for the running of that company escaped pretty much without penalty

Ultimately Hack Attack is quite chilling. What happens when a large company operates in a moral vacuum. The attitude at News International, from the top down was (and possibly still is, succeed, lift circulation, boost profits and do whatever you can to grind opposition into the ground, no matter what the cost.. And that cost is very high. The trail is littered with lives destroyed, families shattered, careers ruined and lives lost.

Reading the book I kept asking myself. Did these people have any conscience? It appears not. Hacking the cell phone of a murdered child. Targeting those who tried to stand up to them by threatening them with exposure of some past indiscretion, whether real or fabricated.

Even while Murdoch was facing the Leveson enquiry there were back channels in the government trying to aid him in his endeavour to become the biggest broadcaster in the Uk 2nd only to the BBC in his attempt to completely take over BSkyB, Britain's pay tv provider. That he was unsuccessful is a small victory.

If I was able to be in a room with Murdoch and just ask one question, it would be. Does he have a conscience? Does he care about those whose live have been ruined in his company's relentless pursuit of profit?

I think the most breathtaking thing about it is Murdoch's sole motivation appears to be expansion. His desire to Influence governments has no idealism. It's about supporting the political party who will best enable him to become bigger..

How big is big enough? It's never big enough. Own the universe and they'd still want more.

The thing is if it wasn't Murdoch it would probably be someone else.

I think the old Chinese Curse "may yo live in interesting times" may have come to fruition.