If you thought you knew what was happening with the scandal in the UK about News International's phone hacking then hang on for a wild and gob-smacking ride. Not only was the lone "bad apple" or rogue reporter story a lie but phone hacking turned out to be the tip of a large and nasty iceberg destined in due coarse to bury Rupert his loyal and slippery son and heir James and the whole network of corrupt and corrupting people on his payroll both officially and illegally including police in the Met in London, public servants, politicians, people working for telcos; the list goes on and on and on.
Tom Watson is a Labor MP who had been a junior Minister in the Blair government who was (wrongly) accused by News that he was plotting against Blair. He went to the backbench and sought to find out more of what was really going on.
In the intervening years he became a Minister under Brown and decided to go to the back bench again rather than bring more heat from the Press on the government. Cameron was elected with the help of the Murdochs and he (Cameron) appointed Andy Coulson as a senior media advisor even though there were allegations that Coulson had been involved in some shady dealings.
Over the next couple of years Watson continued to dig the dirt on Murdoch. His own life was tipped upside down. Publicly News of the World called him "a tub of lard" and privately hacked his phones, put him, under surveillance and broke into his house. His marriage broke up but the dogged Watson wouldn't give up.
Even Ed Milliband, the Labor leader, was tardy in joining his co-MP until things became a lot hotter for Murdoch and his pal Cameron. Watson and Hickman take us through every stage and every revelation in this meticulously laid out book.
From the general public's (voter's) point of view there was little interest until the story broke of the hacking of a family's voicemails where the daughter Milly Dowler had been murdered. Public revulsion suddenly drove advertisers to leave News of the World and Murdoch quickly closed it, all the while expressing his regret and insisting on no wrong doing on his part. Many will remember him fronting the Parliamentary Inquiry in Westminster with the now legendary "this is the most humble day of my life" Whoever wrote that for him might have pointed out that it is not strictly correct English but what followed was another series of arrogant and controlled but nasty assertions buried in a covering of lies. More real humility will be called for as his Empire crumbles or is stripped from him.
The bigger question that must be answered in at least the USA, the UK and Australia is how was he allowed to get so much power, influence and be able to blur the line between his own financial self-interest and the law?
Google Watson and the Murdochs; you will get a treasure trove or filth trove. The Guardian site is worth a look too.
I have not read a Murdoch publication for a very long time except for aggravation. This book should be top of the list for all interested in democracy and the ease with which it can be suborned.
I read Dial M for Murdoch on my Ipad.