The widening News Corp. scandal has forced the resignation of two of London’s top cops in as many days. And it’s increasingly clear that the crookedness uncovered by the News of the World scandal isn’t the hacking alone. It’s the corrupting power of a massive multinational media corporation over public institutions abroad … and in the United States.
We’ve already seen a News Corp./police scandal here in America. Recall that in 2001, News Corp. executive Judith Regan was schtupping New York’s top cop Bernie Kerik, carrying on an affair in which the publisher and the police commissioner held sexual congress in a taxpayer-funded apartment overlooking Ground Zero intended as a crash pad for weary rescue-and-recovery workers.
The affair was known to fellow News Corp. exec Roger Ailes. Acting most unlike a newsman, Ailes didn’t expose the unseemly relationship. He tried to cover it up after Kerick was tapped to become George W. Bush’s Homeland Security Chief.
Ailes didn’t want Kerik’s indiscretions to become an embarassment to a political ally of Rupert Murdoch—and a former political client of the Fox News chief. So, according to a lawsuit later fired by Regan, Ailes warned the publisher “she had information about Kerik that, if disclosed, would harm Giuliani’s presidential campaign.” According to court documents, Ailes further “advised Regan to lie to, and to withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik.”
To recap. One News Corp exec was literally in bed with New York City’s top cop. Another, upon uncovering the details of this relationship (through what means, licit or illicit, we can only conjecture) told her to lie about it to federal authorities — “possibly a federal crime,” according to the New York Times.
Why? So that Giuliani — who had many political debts to News Corp. for the fervent backing he got from Murdoch’s newspapers as mayor — might have a better shot at repaying those IOUs as president. (True to News Corp. form, the company appeared to buy Regan’s silence on these and other matters by forging a confidential, $10 million settlement to her lawsuit.)
No matter who gets the axe next, this corruption scandal isn’t going to be cabined inside the U.K.
It jumped the pond years ago.