Tom Watson to attend NewsCorp board meetings with "details of previously undisclosed surveillance methods"

Tom Watson, the Labour MP who's tirelessly hounded Murdoch's News of the World over its illegal spying, has flown to the USA to attend the NewsCorp's shareholder meeting (he's got the AFL-CIO's proxy) to reveal that NewsCorp's sins go much deeper than the odd bit of mass-scale crude voicemail hacking. This is a pretty plausible allegation -- the idea that a firm as ruthless and moneyed as NewsCorp would stoop to voicemail hacking but stop there is pretty implausible. I assume that the leaker(s) who are releasing the intelligence about NewsCorp's misdeeds are timing their revelations to ensure that Rupert and his progeny twist and writhe as much as possible, coming up with new, more dire revelations every time the Murdochs appear to have settled things -- ideally these revelations should also reveal the previous round of spin as a pack of half-truths, twisted truths and outright lies. And ideally, each fresh revelation will inspire more leakers to come foreward.

NewsCorp has an odd corporate structure that gives control over the company to the Murdochs, even though they don't own the majority of shares. As activist shareholders begin to mobilize, the possibility of the Murdochs being chucked out of NewsCorp becomes more and more real.

Watson has flown to Los Angeles to attend the shareholders meeting, which he will gain access to having been given a proxy vote by the US trade union umbrella group, the AFL-CIO. News Corporation is bracing itself for independent shareholders to vote in considerable numbers at the meeting against the reappointment of Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.

The scale of the protest outside the Murdoch family is expected to be substantially over 20% of independent shareholders, with several expected to raise questions at the meeting at Fox studios. But their protest will not be enough to topple the family, because Rupert Murdoch controls 40% of the voting shares.

Nevertheless, before the meeting there were clear signs of tension at the upper levels of News Corp, with particular emphasis on security at the event and worries about what sort of tone the 80-year-old media mogul will strike in front of those who, alongside him, have a stake in the empire he built.

Murdoch's opening address is expected to show less of the contrition than in London in July, when he told MPs: "This the most humble day of my life." Instead he is expected to strike a more combative tone, although there are worries that this will alienate some investors and outsiders.


  1. I have my caveats ,but, i think Mr Watson may what we used to call ” One of the good guys”.

  2. How long before Tom Watson and/or any of his key sources has an “unexplained but not thought to be suspicious” death?

    If I was him, I’d arm myself….  to the teeth.

  3. In the mostly shambolic parliament appearance of the Dirty Digger and Son, Tom Watson was the only person to have an impact, and gave them a forceful but polite kicking. I will watch the rest with relish.

  4. Is this the same Tom Watson who gouged his MP’s expense allowance to the hilt, voted for the Iraq war, voted against an investigation into said war, voted against parliamentary transparency, voted for ID cards, voted for student top-up fees?

    Happy he’s on the case then…

    1. I’m happy he’s on the case. Since this doesn’t involve any of the things you mentioned. I think his history on other topics is deplorable but when it comes to this kind thing he’s the best MP for it, well he’s the only one to actually give a damn about it anyway. 

      1. That’s fair enough. He’s done some good stuff as well, like his opposition to the Digital Economy Act. Just worth noting he’s not all hero; there is a bit of a dark side.

        1. Agreed, by all rights he shouldn’t really still be an MP. But if he wasn’t I’m not sure there is anyone left to fight against the DEA and digital rights, privacy etc. 

          I guess the only parliamentary candidate you’d ever completely agree with is when you put yourself forward as one.

  5. You can lie to the police, you can lie to the House of Commons but not to the SEC.  Shareholder meetings are tightly regulated, statements are expected to be forthright & truthful.  And like the IRS, the SEC has little interest in due process.  This one could have legs – delicious ones at that!

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