Monday, July 18, 2011

Death of Reporter Who Broke Illegal Phone Hacking Scandal Not Suspicious Say News Corp Papers

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- The phone hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation brought down another high-profile figure in the United Kingdom on Monday when the assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police hastily resigned. His departure came one day after Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, was arrested on suspicion of illicitly intercepting phone messages and bribing police officials for their complicity in the events. Across the pond in the United States, the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department have also launched preliminary investigations into reports that News Corp reporters may have tried to hack the phones of 9/11 victims. Further complicating matters and raising fresh concerns was Monday’s death of Sean Hoare, the News of the World journalist turned whistleblower who first broke the story to one of the handful of newspapers in the world not owned by Murdoch.

The Suspiciously Unsuspicious Death of Sean Hoare
Sean Hoare was an entertainment reporter who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Andy Coulson, one of the central figures named in the controversy. Hoare told the New York Times that Coulson not only knew about the phone hacking, but actively encouraged staffers to intercept the calls of celebrities to obtain exclusives. Hoare was eventually dismissed for alcohol and drug problems after failing a random drug test administered by an Australian background screening firm affiliated with Dow Jones & Company.

This morning, Hertfordshire police announced Hoare’s death in a prepared statement: “Police responded to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Former colleagues of the man, who worked as a reporter on a local paper, rang police saying they had overhead a phone conversation the man was having with his girlfriend, which detailed worries of his health and well being. Anticipating a situation, police and ambulance arrived at the property. Shortly after, the man was pronounced dead.”

A neighbor who lives across the street from Hoare’s flat said three police cars and two ambulances arrived at the property shortly after 10:30 a.m., approximately ten minutes prior to Hoare’s death.

“There’s been a lot of made of the ‘untoward’ circumstances around Sean’s passing,” said the neighbor, a private investigator once employed by News of the World. “But that’s all bullocks. I’ve never seen a more efficient or even preemptive response by police here. They should be commended. It saddens me to think that Stephenson resigned after I saw firsthand how brilliantly the force operates in emergencies.”

Sir Paul Stephenson, former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, quit his post recently, citing as the impetus “the ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met’s links with News International at a senior level.”

Nothing to See Here, Papers Say
Speaking to the Guardian last week, Hoare explained his decision to blow the whistle as a selfless attempt to restore the sanctity and objectivity lost on 21st century journalism. During that same interview, Hoare also revealed that he had been hurt at a children’s party the week before while taking down a marquee. He suffered a broken nose and badly injured foot when a distant relative of his girlfriend, Jo, who was believed to be in Australia on holiday, accidentally struck him with a heavy pole from the marquee and then continued to accidentally beat him for another three minutes before regaining control. Investigators are debating whether the injuries sustained from the unprovoked mishap may have factored into Hoare’s death.

Despite the strange events leading up to Sean Hoare’s demise, papers across the globe are attempting to downplay conspiracies. As reported in The Sun, News of the World, The Sunday Times, The Times, New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, MySpace, and others, “The death is currently being treated as unexplained but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing.”

Speaking among themselves in an anonymous phone interview set up at great expense by a Bennington Vale Evening Transcript correspondent in a London pub popular with police, editors from Murdoch’s News International said, “Don’t waste any space on that Hoare. We’ve got bigger stories. Casey Anthony, Rachel Uchitel, the Democrats screwing up the debt ceiling talks...that’s what we need to focus on. The world isn’t interested in reading about another drunken, unemployed, dead Hoare. People like that are a dime a dozen. Oh, and I want the front page headline to be ‘Oops! Keystroke Goof Sets Navy Drone to Self-Destruct.’ And don’t forget to include the ‘Oops!’ part, or it’s your ass.”

(c) 2011. All stories are works of satire and parody.
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