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Dial M for Murdoch

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  374 ratings  ·  53 reviews
For years Rupert Murdoch's newspapers had been hacking, spying, blagging, bribing and destroying the evidence. They thought they were untouchable. They were wrong. This is the book that exposed the shadow state at the heart of Britain. Now fully updated with the very latest in the News Corp scandal, it tells the story of how a criminal conspiracy involving politicians, the ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Allen Lane (first published April 1st 2012)
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Terence
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very, very interesting read. It was eye-opening to see how truly awful the Murdoch clan is: the way in which they find news stories illegally, tail and harass their enemies, lie with psychopathic conviction about their public motives. Everyone who cares about democracy should read this book, even if only to take a very skeptical view of its future prospects. It is gratifying that Rupert Murdoch is no longer the uncrowned King of England. But will he be the last to covet such a position? One do ...more
Richard Bartholomew
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
In 2008, the journalist Nick Davies published Flat Earth News (review here), a forensic deconstruction of declining press standards in the UK. One chapter, entitled "the Dark Arts", included a brief reference to the arrests of the News of the World's royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, and an investigator named Glenn Mulcaire, "for intercepting voice-mail messages on mobile phones". News International explained that Goodman was a "rogue reporter", and Davies expressed frustration at the PCC's un ...more
Vanda Denton
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Still relevant on many levels. Highly recommended.

Though this book speaks of shocking practices taking place some years back, it remains relevant on many levels. It is smoothly written for ease of reading, with all facts verified. There is intense detail, much of which I’d forgotten, along with further information I’d been unaware of. It is valuable for its evidence of corruption involved in major sections of the press and also close connections to leading politicians as well as the police.
I’m
...more
Tim Mullen
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for anyone who has Rupert Murdoch owned media in their country. An easy to read, but absolutely frightening expose of the corruption, and the methods Murdoch and his cronies were prepared to go to to cover-up that corruption. No-one was immune - past and present Prime Ministers, Cabinet Members, the Police from the most junior to the most senior, prison officers, even members of the Intelligence Service. From celebrities to the most abhorrent - a murdered teenage girl - Rupert Murdoc ...more
Athene Wherrett
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Watson and Hickman do a brilliant job of describing the events leading up the Leveson Inquiry. It's astonishing how much power the Murdoch empire had over the police and the government who actively resisted investigating the hacking allegations until they were forced, i.e it was embarrassing and damaging for them not to.

Does contain a very questionable assertion though P260 4th paragraph - ''Before it was over, Cameron had answered 136 questions''. Can't possibly be true, this man never answers
...more
Sohini Chatterjee
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is brilliance. The dexterity with which the authors have seamlessly woven the complex factual matrix into one cohesive narrative is commendable. Must read for anyone who wishes to learn more about the harms of the nexus between the media, the Parliament and the police. Considering the ubiquity of the problems discussed in the book, the lessons derived can be applied to other jurisdictions as well.
Nick
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for anyone interested in politics and journalism in the UK. You'll be shocked and appalled by the alleged widespread wrongdoing. In particular, the passages regarding the willful inaction by the police are damning.

Not a heavy read. A neat, flowing account.
Lucy
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
a modern horror story, well-researched, well-written, & told by 2 men who refused to sit down & shut up ...more
Adam Mills
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books you'll read on Leveson. Informative, interesting and worth every penny. As a Journalism student, it's fascinating.
Diocletian
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A detailed look at the phone hacking scandal that erupted into the public eye in the early 2010s. In essence, all Murdoch cares about is maximising sales and furthering his right-wing nutjob agenda. And he'll achieve that by any means necessary. This lead to journalists blagging information from authorities, hacking phones and computers, either directly or indirectly, for more salacious stories. There was an unhealthy relationship with the police, paying them for information and also a revolving ...more
Noora
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This book has been sitting on my shelves for over 5 years, and in that time the phone hacking scandal has been investigated, reported and widely discussed. However, as the news that second Leveson inquiry was dropped broke, I was prompted to finally pick up this book. Published in 2012, Dial M for Murdoch is slightly outdated but manages still to demonstrate the history of how these illegal media practises were unearthed. The book is not without faults nor is it completely unbiased (one of the w ...more
Corbin Routier
The books describes themes of corruption and how rules do not intimidate those at the top of the political food chain. Unfortunately it is greatly inhibited by a poor righting style. A large portion of quotes are hearsay from secondary or tertiary persons. Anecdotes are frequent, sporadic, and mostly do not contribute to a framework. The author consistently introduced people who were never mentioned again in the book. When a name was mentioned again, the author had to cite the page (up to 50-200 ...more
Ed
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rarely read "Current Affairs" but this is an excellent piece of book journalism and it covers a fascinating and unbelieveable story. The scale and nature of the phone hacking scandal which tainted the Murdoch name and ended the press run of The News of the World is compelling and engaging. Whilst at times it is difficult to hold onto the sheer volume of information - particularly named lawyers and journalists - overall the two authors do an excellent job.

Would recommend to anyone willing to wo
...more
Jonathan Glen
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though we now know the outcome going through each small piece of evidence of wrongdoing and corruption with Watson and Hicks is a sickening journey. Though it occasionally reads like a LIST OF BAD STUFF RUPERT DID, it's impossible to ignore just how insidious the Murdoch regime is, the cynicism of their apologies and decisions and that not enough has changed.
And
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
A moderately interesting account of the Murdoch owned press and the phone hacking scandal, which mostly affected the rich and famous - many of whom received large sums of money in compensation. From the distance of 2020, it seems like ancient history now.
Elizabeth Sulzby
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have been posting on Facebook about this outstanding non-fiction book for weeks now. This carefuly researched book outlines the numerous investigations in Britain of Rupert Murdoch, his heirs and underlings, his various holdings and the long lines of corruption at almost all areas of British society for the past 42 years. This all erupted in public in July 2011. I accidentally was able to watch all of the hearings in the Culture subcommittee of Parliament in live broadcast and have been follow ...more
Nadia
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it
This was a good book but I only gave it three stars for two reasons. Whereas it was a fantastic round up of all the events that have happened so far, and certainly a good read, I unfortunately felt that it was far too biased. Sure it's hard not to be biased on the way the Murdoch clan handled this, and as a trainee journalist myself I cannot at all advocate the issue of phone hacking - but to present Tom Watson as a totally honourable knight in shining armour whereas the Murdoch's were totally b ...more
Jonathan
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it
The most shocking aspect of the impropriety uncovered by the phone hacking scandal is not that journalists are unscrupulous and will do anything to get a story. It is that Murdoch's media machine was at the heart of a vast web of corruption and intimidation which included the police, politicians, criminals amongst others. Watson gives a blow by blow account of how events unfolded, to the extent that sometimes I found myself a little lost amongst all the details.

This book certainly highlights the
...more
Claire
May 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
For a book about journalists behaving badly, this sure earns a lot of ethical side-eye. Tom Watson underwent some horrific things at the hands of News International and legitimately has an axe to grind. But he should have written a memoir, not something that claims to be investigative journalism. The endless third-person praise of Watson (by Watson!) gets gross after 50 pages as does his conviction that NI was responsible for everything horrible that has happened in the UK. There's also his and ...more
Cliff
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
There's a story to be told about this shameful part of journalist history and, until ALL the facts come out (and I'll be dust by then!), this book will have to suffice. At least it sets the template; and for now that will do: a bitter, vindictive media mogul; cronies who will do anything (ANYTHING!) for their boss, and for their boss's 'favourites', for 'fame', and (most crudely of all) for money; the belief that they are all above the law, that they are 'untouchable'; that they have the politic ...more
Michelle
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a shocking, startling yet fascinating book into the scandal that has almost overwhelmed News International and the Murdoch empire. Each chapter was captivating in terms of reading what else had gone on during the hacking.

However it felt so one-sided and biased. I know that Watson was unfortunately part of the scandal in that he was spied on and threatened, but it almost felt as if a personal agenda was set throughout the book. I would've preferred to rate this as two and a half stars if
...more
Matt John
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
" 'Mr [James] Murdoch, you must be the first mafia boss in history who didn't know he was running a criminal enterprise.'" (p. 287)

Pretty much sums it up really.

Some parts appear to be a little biased as one of the authors, Watson, was someone who was directly affected, but that still does not take away the severity of the situation.

These events go right back to the days of Thatcher and have been covered up and deliberately ignored since this time by the Murdochs, the UK governments and the poli
...more
Fay
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm probably going to have to go back later and re-read this just to get the full story straight in my head - a simple chronological timeline of the key events would make a useful appendix for future editions, if the author ever reads this?

I thought I already knew enough about the phone hacking scandal from following the news stories, but I still found plenty in this book to make my jaw drop. Currently out on loan to a friend, because it's the kind of book you just can't leave sitting on a shel
...more
Richard Coady
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
I thought this was one of the most important books to be published over the last few years. As an ex-journalist (who resigned on moral grounds) I know how much of what we read in The Daily Rag is written with a hidden agenda or is just plain old lies. I'm glad that there is a book out there that can highlight the moral bankruptcy of the world of tabloid journalism.

I found the book compulsive reading and I would recommend it to anyone who has ever read a newspaper.

As Watson quotes one senior jour
...more
Sarah
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I simply hate Fox News so this topic was of great interest to me. Thoroughly researched and documented. Found the level of illegal and immoral behavior at Newscorp to be stunning. A big part of my disgust though is not limited to Murdoch's empire - it's what passes for "news" in our culture in general. When a public figures young child is diagnosed with a serious disease - that is NOT news. It's a personal family tragedy. We get the news coverage we deserve.
Meg McAllister
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you’re in the media business, or have an interest in how news happens, you should read this book and be educated and repulsed. Whichever side of the Atlantic you live on, Rupert Murdoch wields influence over what you read, watch…think. And the lows being stooped to to gather — conjure if necessary — information, for the sake of circulation and ratings and clicks and ad revenue is appalling.
Karl
May 01, 2012 rated it liked it
what is that old maxim? Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely?
Not particularly well written - but the story that is told is of a disgusting, bullying out-of-control culture. Was very interesting to read against the backdrop of the Levenson Inquiry being conducted.
Damian Bakula
May 07, 2012 rated it it was ok


Nothing that really surprised me. Good info for anyone that didn't realize the power and influence Murdoch has on media and politics, but a rather boring read that drones on with unnecessary details and narratives that don't add anything to the author' story or case.
Nicholas
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this very readable and accessible account of the phone hacking scandal, all brought together in one place. Apart from in one or two places, the authors don't overdose on detail so in general the book is easy to follow.
Peter
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The most amazing thing I have read so far in this book is the fact that James Murdoch was involved with Rawkus Records, whose output I now have to go and listen to, thus making it difficult for me to finish reading.
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Tom Watson is the MP for West Bromwich East. He campaigns against unlawful media practices and led the questioning of Rupert and James Murdoch when they appeared before Parliament in July 2011. He is the deputy chair of the Labour Party.

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