But actually the affair dates to 2006, when Clive Goodman, who covered the royals for News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid, was arrested for hacking into the phone records of three royal family staffers. Goodman went to prison, but it took years—and years—to overcome a series of concerted attempts by top News Corp. officials to cover up—and there is no other word for it—the extent of the criminality. News Corp., remember, conducted what it said was a full inquiry into the matter and concluded that Goodman was the only journalist involved. A top News Corp. official, Les Hinton, said the same thing in testimony before Parliament, one of many such assertions up and down the company. He also participated in an inquiry by a self-regulatory body, the Press Complaints Commission, that also turned up nothing and in the process destroyed its own reputation.

Later we learned of possible destruction of documents, big payoffs to hacking victims in return for their silence, and much more. Read Ryan on “News Corp.’s cover-up culture.”

Only this week that we learned the UK police are now investigating the relevant News Corp. unit as a “corporate suspect,” with far-reaching implications.

Bloomberg doesn’t necessarily deserve a good-conduct medal for its response to the snooping allegations. It correctly perceived the dangers the matter posed to its own franchise and recognized the imperative to get to the bottom of it—all the way to the bottom—and quickly.

But the contrast to News Corp. is stark—black and white—and a reminder of what a a real rogue media company looks like.


Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014).

Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.