Sir Paul Hacked Off; Will “Talk to the Police” About Phone Hacking
Sir Paul McCartney says he’ll look into a report that voice mail messages between then-girlfriend [and later wife] Heather Mills and himself were hacked by a British newspaper reporter looking for a story.
McCartney spoke to television critics Thursday by satellite from Cincinnati, where he was about to perform as part of a US tour.He called the hacking “a horrendous violation of privacy”, but said he would reserve final judgement until speaking with police investigators after his tour ends.
MILLS BREAKS THE NEWS
Mills made the claim on the BBC Wednesday, saying that in 2001, she and McCartney had a fight. Sir Paul then left a conciliatory message on her voice mail. Shortly thereafter, she was contacted by a reporter, who began quoting the message verbatim. Mills challenged the reporter about hacking into her voice mail. The reporter admitted that her messages had indeed been broken into, and agreed to kill the story.
HUGE NEWS IN THE UK
Phone hacking by the press is a huge issue in Great Britain, with a Parliament committee currently investigating various reports. Until now, the focus was on the media empire owned by Rupert Murdoch, who owns newspapers and TV networks in the US as well as England. But Mills says she was hacked by rival organization Trinity Mirror, and specifically the Daily Mirror. At the time, the newspaper was edited by Piers Morgan, now a TV personality on both sides of the Atlantic.
IS PIERS MORGAN INVOLVED?
Morgan has always denied any involvement in phone hacking by the newspaper, and is not the reporter who contacted Mills. But in 2006 he wrote a feature story for another Trinity Mirror paper, where he noted he had heard a phone message McCartney had left for Mills after a fight. He then proceeded to refer to elements of the same call Mills claimed was quoted to her!
Morgan released a statement on Wednesday, denying that he or any paper he ever edited used phone hacking to get stories. But the new story has more people saying Morgan should return to England at once to face the Parliament investigation (currently Morgan is a judge on America’s Got Talent, as well as hosting a CNN interview program). The head of the committee says it has no plans to force Morgan’s testimony, but hopes he will voluntarily appear.
Do you think phone hacking, or other illegal invasive techniques, is common in the US media? Should penalties for such practices be increased? Did Piers Morgan hear an illegally-obtained message before writing his article? Should he be forced to testify about what he knew, and when he knew it? The conversation begins with you. Please let us know what you think.