Rupert Murdoch has been making headlines in London because of illegal phone-tapping and bribing the police.
Have Murdoch properties been engaged in phone tapping in the US?
If wiretapping leads Murdoch to increase his profits, then there is a much greater possibility that his US properties also engage in wiretapping.
Murdoch’s News Corp has managed to be extremely profitable in a highly unforgiving climate for news sources more generally.
In Britain, Murdoch wiretapped celebrities including the royal family. That wiretapping enabled the Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid to increase sales because it could be counted on for scooping celebrity gossip.
Evidence is coming to light that Murdoch owned news properties in Britain engaged in wiretapping thousands of ordinary private citizens.
What could be his rationale behind that? In wiretapping ordinary citizens, a Murdoch owned property could come to know the ways in which ordinary people think. Knowing what ordinary people are thinking and talking about allows for increased revenue through opening the possibility of directed advertising.
Furthermore, knowing what ordinary people think and care about allows for articles to be crafted in a way that will appeal to what people already think and believe.
Research indicates that people are more likely to turn to news resources that espouse opinions with which they already agree. The more a Murdoch news property knows about what people think, the more that property can shape itself to appeal to its constituency.
If Murdoch is ultimately interested in controlling information, then knowing what people already think through wire-tapping could be crucial to his goals. If wire-tapping really does help him to execute his agenda and maximise profits, then it becomes increasingly likely that his properties here in the US are engaged in wiretapping activities.
*Nathana O’Brien is a phi beta kappa graduate of the University of Chicago with interests in philosophy, neuroscience, business, and foreign affairs and will be attending Yale Law School in the Fall of 2012. Follow Nathana on twitter at http://twitter.com/NathanaOBrien.