In outline, the current Rupert Murdoch brouhaha in London—powerful media figures are caught employing a private detective to wiretap—is strikingly similar to Hollywood’s 2002-2008 Anthony Pellicano affair, a seemingly juicy imbroglio that never never gained much traction here and has pretty much been forgotten.
As you may recall (if probably only vaguely), numerous stars and moguls, such as Brad Grey, CEO of Paramount Pictures since 2005, paid sleazeball detective Pellicano to dig up—by any means necessary—dirt they could use against less-powerful people.
... The contrasting public reactions to these scandals demonstrate national differences. Nobody cares about private eye Glenn Mulcaire; this scandal has always been intended to bring down Murdoch. In the Pellicano affair, however, the feds let the private dick take the rap for the moguls.
Moreover, Mulcaire hacked voicemails to publish facts, while Pellicano taped phone calls to intimidate and silence. Pellicano’s modus operandi is in tune with the times here. Our mainstream press routinely colludes with publicists practicing “access journalism.” In return for an interview, journalists agree not to ask impertinent questions or they’ll never work in this town again. A century ago, American reporters tended to be cynical ne’er-do-wells. Today, journalists typically come from the same kind of nice families and nice colleges as the VIPs they gently cover.
American society has grown increasingly credulous. Our last three presidents have come to office remarkably unknown.