Labour Research August 2012


Dial M for Murdoch

News Corporation and the corruption of Britain

Tom Watson and Martin Hickman, Allen Lane, 384 pages, hardback, £20.00

Journalists hack into the phones of murder victims. Cops get cash in envelopes at McDonalds. The prime minister rides police horses with Murdoch empire executives.

The phone hacking scandal is both surreal and seemingly never ending. Dial M for Murdoch is an account of this by Labour MP Tom Watson and journalist Martin Hickman of The Independent. The book provides a good account of the scandal up to now.

The authors also devote space to the 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan, who was alleged to have been investigating drug-related police corruption. The murder shines a light on the dark relationships between the press, police and politicians and is too often sidelined in the scandal.

The authors are less interested in phone hacking than the cover-up following revelations of hacking in 2006, and the collapse of News International’s defence in July 2011, when “one rogue reporter” — Clive Goodman — gave way to “one rogue newspaper” — the News of the World.

The book chronicles the length to which News Corporation went to “put the problem in a box”, and how they were aided by their police and establishment friends.

Reviews contributed by the Bookmarks socialist bookshop. Order online at