Peter King (R-NY), a frequent guest on News Corp’s cable news properties (up to this point), just called for an FBI investigation into allegations that the company hacked into the voicemail accounts of 9-11 victims. Given King’s constant invocation of 9-11, only rivaled by Rudy Giuliani, this isn’t all that surprising.
King said in the letter, addressed to FBI Director Robert Mueller, that the journalists should face felony charges if the allegations are proven true.
“It is revolting to imagine that members of the media would seek to compromise the integrity of a public official for financial gain in the pursuit of yellow journalism,” wrote King, who is also chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Senate commerce committee chairman Jay Rockefeller has asked the authorities to investigate if any journalists working for Rupert Murdoch had targeted US citizens, and warned of “serious consequences” for the media group if that were the case
In a written statement, Rockefeller expressed concern that victims of 9/11 and their families could have been targeted by News Corporation journalists, although he did not offer any evidence to suggest that may be the case.
“I encourage the appropriate agencies to investigate to ensure that Americans have not had their privacy violated,” he said.
“The reported hacking by News Corporation newspapers against a range of individuals – including children – is offensive and a serious breach of journalistic ethics. This raises serious questions about whether the company has broken US law,” he said.
News Corp may have broken the law, and it warrants investigation. But there has to be a little perspective here as well. Journalists may be barred from hacking into the phones of American citizens and violating their privacy. But the US government does it all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through the NSA. Sure, they talk about harm minimization and only wiretapping terrorists, but I think we know enough about the surveillance state to know that innocent American citizens have been caught up in this massive dragnet. I think you can just consult the Bible on these matters for proof.
It would be nice if Senators paid as much attention to executive branch agency violations of privacy in the name of fighting terrorism as they do to corporate media violations of privacy in the name of selling newspapers.