This week, more allegations and criticisms surfaced. In 2009, Morgan was a guest on the BBC program Desert Island Discs and, at that time, “appeared to admit that he had printed stories that came from “people who tap people’s phones.'” Morgan also stated in a February 2011 GQ article that he “could not ‘get too excited’ about phone hacking.”
When asked for his thoughts on phone hacking in that interview, Morgan stated that “not a lot” of hacking “went on” and “a lot of it was done by third parties, rather than the staff themselves.” He also stated that “That’s not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work.”
Morgan has defended himself again against allegations of phone hacking despite the revelation of the 2009 tapes, the Daily Beast reported. On July 26 he reportedly told the Beast “There is no contradiction between my comments on Kirsty Young’s Desert Island Discs show and my unequivocal statements with regard to phone-hacking.”
“Millions of people heard these comments when I first made them in 2009 on one of the BBC’s longest-running radio shows, and none deduced that I was admitting to, or condoning illegal reporting activity. Kirsty asked me a fairly lengthy question about how I felt dealing with people operating at the sharp end of investigative journalism.
“My answer was not specific to any of the numerous examples she gave, but a general observation about tabloid newspaper reporters and private investigators. As I have said before, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone.”
Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici described the Guido Fawkes-released tapes as “nothing close to a smoking gun.”
Morgan tweeted a link to Zelo Street blog, which claimed that Guido Fawkes’ report has “no research, no result” and claimed the report “tried to smear Morgan based on inflating quotes from old interviews, hearsay about past stories, and even recycling items from Private Eye.”
Morgan tweeted in the morning of July 27 that he’ll “be making no further comment on this #Hackgate nonsense. But important for everyone to know exactly who these lying smearers are.” He also took a hit at his accusers, tweeting “I don’t mind being wrongly smeared with all this #Hackgate stuff, I’d just rather it wasn’t done by liars, druggie ex-bankrupts and conmen.”
UK Times Editor: Readers Axed Subscriptions Because of Phone Hacking
James Harding, editor of News International-owned The Times, reportedly disclosed that as a result of the past month’s revelations at News of the World, readers “canceled subscriptions to the Times and to the digital versions of the paper,” the Guardian reported.
Harding called News International’s “handling” of the scandal “catastrophic.”
Charities Didn’t Want News of the World $
The New York Times published an article by former News of the World defense editor Paul McNamara, who worked with News of the World until its closure mid-July, about the end of the newspaper.
As iMediaEthics has previously reported, News International announced that all profits from the the last edition of the newspaper would be donated to charity. However, McNamara explained that giving the money away wasn’t easy, as the money seemed tainted. The money amounted to “more than $4.5 million,” he wrote, but he “had to beg” charities to accept the money.
“All the charities said something along the lines of: ‘Paul, we’re grateful for everything you have helped us with over the past two years, but we can’t. There are family members of dead servicemen on our board, and they will not accept News of the World’s money.’ It took me from 4 p.m. Friday to just about 4 p.m. Saturday — nearly 50 phone calls in all — to find three charities that were happy to accept more than $1.5 million each from us; I hope it serves them well.”