Dial M for Murdoch: a riveting read on the biggest media scandal of the decade


1:05 pm - April 30th 2013

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by Nicola Moors

“Gutter journalism had sunk into the sewer”, aptly describes the moment when it was discovered the News of the World had hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl.

Indeed no one was more shocked at the actions of the newspaper than fellow journalists.

Dial M for Murder opens your eyes to the depths that the newspaper, and News Corporation, went to in order to deceive the public, police and politicians of their criminality.

With the Lord Justice Leveson’s report of his inquiry into press culture, practices and ethics now finished, you could be forgiven for never wanting to hear of phone-hacking, the Murdoch’s or News International again.

The tale of how the Murdochs, namely Rupert and James, and their empire single-handedly changed the face of British journalism is an infamous one. In fact, it’s a story so sensational that it would be, ironically, fit for the front page of tabloids like the News of the World.

From the closure of the 168-year-old to the resigning of several high-flying executives, including Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of News International herself, this book tells it all and is simply a must-read.

Although many of the events told are already known to the public; the book gives a gripping account of the links between them and includes several revelations in the book. Ultimately immoral and unethical journalism is exposed throughout the scandal, however the trade’s positive points are also demonstrated – such as the persistent doggedness of journalists that never gave up investigating, despite threats of blackmail.

During the Leveson Inquiry, the Murdoch’s pleaded ignorance to knowing the extent of the phone hacking in their company – although whether you believe this is another matter.

Also during the Leveson Inquiry – which is delved into time and time again – Rupert is depicted a ‘doddery old man’. As the owner of a multi-billion pound empire, it’s safe to say that Rupert Murdoch is anything but doddery.

One recurring problem with the book is that Tom Watson, one of the authors and the Labour MP attacked by Rupert Murdoch’s organisation, has obvious bias against News Corporation – although he acknowledges this in the preface. ”But though the story is inevitably coloured by personal experiences, we didn’t want to overemphasize our roles”.

Tom’s close relationship in the ongoing saga means that he often confides personal facts to the reader, making it sometimes feel too much like a private diary, rather than an independent account of events.

Having said that, it’s a riveting read – as the events unfold, it’s difficult to put it down.

One piece of advice would be to take your time reading it; there are numerous people and events involved, so it can easily get confusing.


Nicola Moors is editor of University of Sheffield’s independent newspaper Forge Press, and a freelance journalist. She tweets from here.

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Reader comments


…and isn’t it “Murdochs”, not “Murdoch’s” – ?

2. the a&e charge nurse

First 20 pages in – cracking read – thanks for the recommendation.

Warning to others who pick it up – don’t be surprised if the book is read with your mouth open – just didn’t realise far we are owned.


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