Gotcha!

I couldn't help but think of that often-used tabloid headline when I read the news today of Rebekah Brooks' arrest, along with her husband and four others, in the British newspaper phone-hacking scandal.For Brooks is now on the receiving end of what she once dished out as editor of the News of the World. Photographers chased after the BMW in which she drove away from the police station where she was charged, putting their lenses up against the car's tinted windows, their flashes firing away in her face. Even the charge in the case has a faintly lurid sound: conspiring to pervert the course of justice.Or, to put it another way, "it's always the cover-up."Brooks was not charged in connection with the phone hacking, but rather with trying to obstruct the police investigation during a 13-day period last July. The Crown Prosecution Service underscored the gravity of the case in its news release, noting, "All these matters relate to the ongoing police investigation into allegations of phone hacking and corruption of public officials in relation to the News of the World and The Sun newspapers."Brooks played her assigned role by responding to the charges with a show of anger, particularly over the prosecution's decision to charge her husband Charlie, a horse trainer. Brooks' feeble criticism that the investigation was a poor use of government money ought to embarrass her mentor Rupert Murdoch.Then again, if this were some similar scandal in the Democratic Party, the Murdoch media would be linking it to the man in charge and calling for heads to roll. Regardless of what Murdoch knew and when he knew it, he is responsible for the atmosphere that made the scandal possible. Ultimately, he's responsible.

Paul Moses, a contributing writer at Commonweal, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @PaulBMoses. 

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