La caída de la casa de Murdoch

NUEVA YORK – Durante los cuatro decenios transcurridos desde que el caso Watergate hundió al Presidente de los Estados Unidos Richard Nixon, los políticos han pasado por alto repetidas veces la enseñanza principal que se desprendió de aquel escándalo: el encubrimiento es peor que el delito. Como Nixon, han pagado un precio mayor por el ocultamiento que por sus propias fechorías.

Ahora, por una vez, llega un escándalo que contraviene esa regla: el caso de las escuchas telefónicas ilegales en el Reino Unido, que ha sacudido la política británica hasta sus cimientos. En el último decenio, el periódico sensacionalista The News of the World, propiedad de la News Corporación de Rupert Murdoch, puso la mira en los mensajes por teléfono de 4.000 personas. En la lista figuran no sólo miembros de la realeza, famosos y otras personas muy importantes, sino también familias de militares fallecidos en el Afganistán y el Iraq y de víctimas del ataque terrorista de julio de 2005 en Londres.

Se descubrió todo cuando The Guardián informó de que el periódico sensacionalista había escuchado ilegalmente los mensajes recibidos en el teléfono de la niña de 13 años Milly Dowler, al parecer con la esperanza de obtener alguna expresión privada de aflicción o desesperación de sus familiares para publicarla en  primera página. Cuando, seis meses después, se descubrió el cuerpo asesinado de la niña, la familia y la policía pensaban que podía estar aún con vida, porque los periodistas de The News of the World borraban mensajes cuando el buzón de su teléfono se llenaba. (Según Scotland Yard, los gacetilleros de Murdoch también sobornaron, al parecer, a agentes de policía de nivel medio para obtener información.)

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