James Murdoch, son of News Corporation media mogul and occasional pie target Rupert Murdoch, has decided to give up his role as the head of the British newspaper subsidiary News International in the wake of an enormous phone hacking scandal and illegal payments to the police.
Here are five funny cartoons about phone hacking, News Corporation and the general silliness surrounding the Murdoch family. Our cartoonists draw, you decide…
A cartoon by Peter Brookes, the staff cartoonist for the Murdoch-owned Times of London, is getting criticized for a cartoon he drew addressing the ongoing coverage of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.
In a cartoon titled “Priorities,” Brookes drew a group of starving Somalians, with one saying, “I’ve had a bellyful of phone-hacking…”
One could argue that Brookes is making a legitimate point about the media’s focus on Murdoch, and its lack of coverage on other important issues, including a horrendous famine in the Horn of Africa. Brookes himself wasn’t available for comment today, but I hope to add his views as soon as I can.
The cartoon seems to echo comments made by several Conservative members of Parliament that the debate in the House of Commons on the phone hacking scandal was a big distraction from more important issues. As MP Peter Lilly noted, “I am only sorry that we are not being recalled to discuss the problems of the eurozone, the slowdown in the world economy in the face of higher energy prices, and the famine in east Africa.”
Regardless, Twitter went ablaze with critics like NPR’s Louisa Lim, who noted the cartoon is crude and tasteless, and “comes off as pro-Murdoch propaganda.” The BBC’s Robert Rea also chimed in, claiming that the cartoon “implies focusing on corruption allows famine to go unchecked.” Solange Uwimana, writer and editor for Media Matters, said he has no words for the cartoon, but thought that “Murdoch and all his minions couldn’t be any more depraved.”
Others were more balanced. British photographer Russell Cavanagh said the cartoon is an attention-getter, and that “sometimes the truth is tasteless.” And Rob Crilly, a reporter for The Telegraph newspaper in London, said, “I don’t know why people are upset by The Times cartoon today. Be shocked–but not at the pic.”
Poor Rupert Murdoch. He had a “humbling” day testifying before a House of Commons committee, telling British lawmakers he was not responsible for a phone hacking scandal that has rocked his global empire just before a British comedian attempted to shove a pie tin full of foam into the media mogul’s face.
Last Sunday was the last issue of the popular British tabloid News of the World, closed by owner Rupert Murdoch after the 168-year-old newspaper was brought down in a phone-hacking scandal. Despite shuttering the newspaper, Murdoch continues to remain under fire as more details emerge, including former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown accusing Murdoch’s papers of snooping on him.
Here’s my take on the whole scandal:
What do our cartoonists think this means for the future of Murdoch’s empire, which includes the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and Fox News? Check out our collection of News of the World Scandal cartoons to find out.