It seems that News of the World, the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper that shut down in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, has a few more skeletons in its closet. The Guardian has now reported that News of the World paid other newspapers for their stories in the 1990s.
As the Guardian explained, a “secretary” at UK newspaper the Sunday People, reportedly was paid by News of the World for letting News of the World know about Sunday People‘s “best scoops” in advance of publication. This was in 1995, when Piers Morgan — now at CNN — edited News of the World.
The Associated Press identified the secretary as Sue Harris. According to the AP, since Sunday People, described as “cash-strapped,” doesn’t have the same resources as News of the World, “keeping the splash secret was particularly important.” If News of the World were tipped off, it could shell out more money for interviews, exclusivity and information and effectively buy the story away from Sunday People.
The AP claimed that Morgan, who later became an editor at the Daily Mirror, “turned on his informants” by firing staff at the newspaper who tipped off News of the World. According to the Guardian, “two Daily Mirror reporters were sacked for a similar offence” as People’s Harris. POLITICO noted that Morgan “acknowledged the practice of story theft” in is book.
On Sept. 29, Morgan re-tweeted a Drudge Report post, “UK tabloid headed by Piers Morgan paid spies for scoops,” with the comment “‘Victims’ were so ‘outraged’ they hired me.”
A member of Parliament, Tom Watson, wants to know if the UK Sun hacked phones, the New Statesman reported.
News International commented that its lawyers haven’t found any “foundation” for phone hacking charges at the Sun. New Statesman noted that Jude Law has claimed that at least four articles by the Sun in 2005 and 2006 were based on information from phone hacking.
Hat Tip: Editor & Publisher