Frontline: Murdoch’s Scandal
Airs Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV
Originally published March 23, 2012 at 12:52 p.m., updated August 21, 2012 at 12:02 p.m.
Over half a century, Rupert Murdoch’s business audacity and political shrewdness built one of the world’s most powerful media empires. Now his dynasty is under threat — not from outside competition, but from shocking accounts of bribery, blackmail and invasion of privacy. The scandal has prompted criminal investigations on both sides of the Atlantic. It has also cracked open the insular world of the Murdoch family, its news executives and the political elite who court their favor.
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Today, the 80-year-old owner of the Wall Street Journal and FOX News Channel is in the fight of his life. In a joint production with the CBC, FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman tells the story of the battle over the future of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch’s reputation and his family’s fortunes.
In "Murdoch’s Scandal," Bergman interviews three individuals who endured considerable intimidation from News International—the British arm of Murdoch’s empire—during their lonely battles to force the scandal into the light: Nick Davies, the reporter who broke the phone-hacking story for rival newspaper The Guardian; Labour MP Tom Watson, who keenly questioned Murdoch at his parliamentary hearing; and Mark Lewis, the lawyer for more than 80 alleged phone-hacking victims.
In a practice called “monstering,” Murdoch’s tabloids vanquished those who got in the way, using the papers to embarrass and intimidate. But despite News International’s efforts, Davies, Watson and Lewis have been at the forefront of a campaign to bring accountability to Murdoch’s papers. Murdoch and his top lieutenants declined to speak with FRONTLINE.