Labour MP Tom Watson bared his contempt for Rupert Murdoch’s company in his new book Dial M For Murdoch, according to the Guardian’s report about his comments today at a press conference to introduce the tome. A member of the Parliamentary committee that’s investigating the UK phone hacking scandal, Watson and his co-author — journalist Martin Hickman — called News Corp a “toxic institution” that operates as a “shadow state” in the country. For example, the book says that the mogul’s now-shuttered tabloid News Of The World tried to embarrass members of the committee by searching for “secret lovers” or “extramarital affairs.” Watson specifically cites an interview he had with former NOTW chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck who said that his former editor, Colin Myler, instructed journalists to “find out everything you can about every single member” of the committee. The book says that Thurlbeck revealed that “Each reporter was given two members [MPs] and there were six reporters that went on for around 10 days.” The search for scandal “fell by the wayside” when the paper’s news editor, Ian Edmondson, “realized that there was something quite horrible about doing this.” But Watson says that MPs were intimidated enough to decide not to insist that Rebekah Brooks, who at the time was chief executive of News International, testify before the committee.
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