Posted by Ben Greenman
It is 2002. SADIE, an old British woman, is reading the News of the World.
A girl is missing, Milly Dowler
Suspicions of foul play grow fouler
Some of MILLY DOWLER’s voice mail messages are deleted, giving rise to hope that she might be alive.
A girl, deceased, cannot access her
Voice mail messages. God bless her.
SADIE, who is nearly ninety, dies with a little bit of light in her heart. A few months later, MILLY DOWLER’s body is discovered. Fade out.
Fade in. It is 2005. LAVINIA, one of SADIE’s friends, is reading the News of the World. She remembers her friend.
I have fond memories of that old biddy. Oh,
Look, Prince William is editing some video.
I was also somewhat surprised to see
That he’s getting surgery on his knee.
LAVINIA, who is nearly ninety and also a surgery fetishist, dies with a little bit of light in her heart. A few weeks later, PRINCE WILLIAM calls his friend TOM BRADBY.
Hey there, Tom, I’m mad as hell
How many people did you tell
About my private goings on?
Friends keep secrets, sine qua non.
Yo, man, it’s the Bradber.
What you tell me, I seal,
I’m not some kind of blabber.
I protect. I conceal.
PRINCE WILLIAM and TOM BRADBY grow suspicious that their voice mails have been hacked. An investigation begins, after which police arrest CLIVE GOODMAN, the royal editor of the News of the World, along with the private investigator GLENN MULCAIRE. The men plead guilty and serve prison time.
Elle Macpherson, Simon Hughes,
We hacked their phones to get the news.
Also, Skylet Andrew. Also, Gordon Taylor.
Goodbye, my friends and family. Hello, jailer.
ANDY COULSON, the editor of the News of the World, resigns.
Though I’m taking steps to exit
The house that hacking built,
Do not take my resignation
As an admission of guilt.
I know nothing of these
I hope this matter speedily
Arrives at its conclusion.
The perpetrators have been caught;
Let’s not give this a further thought.
The scandal dies down for a little while. ANDY COULSON goes to work for the Conservative Party.
An editor can try and try,
But vice escapes his watchful eye.
Past associations don’t prove liability
Come on, Andy Coulson: you can work for me.
NEIL WALLIS, former News of the World executive editor, goes to work as a communication consultant for the Metropolitan Police, serving the high-ranking policemen SIR PAUL STEPHENSON and JOHN YATES.
You may have heard a thing or two
About some stuff I didn’t do.
SIR PAUL STEPHENSON:
No need to get into that tapping claptrap.
You seem like a perfectly trustworthy chap.
In 2009, the Guardian resurrects the issue, claiming that the News of the World’s hacking was far more extensive, and that it went higher in the organization. The police disagree.
It won’t be reopened by this division.
SIR PAUL STEPHENSON:
Neil Wallis had nothing to do with this decision.
Encouraged by the Guardian’s claims, Labour M.P. Tom Watson and others begin to look into the matter more closely. Men on the street applaud the investigation.
MAN ON THE STREET:
I know reporters can be dirty
I know that tabloids can stoop low
But I don’t know how to find out
How much there is that I don’t know.
The question is how high it goes
Who told a lie back then, who knows,
Who broke the law with full intent.
The question is how deep it went.
In September 2010, the New York Times publishes a piece in which former News of the World journalist SEAN HOARE claims that ANDY COULSON had actively encouraged hacking.
He said we should do it and do it some more.
That’s what I heard, or my name’s not Sean Hoare.
After evidence of more hacking and more payments to shady private investigators begins to mount, the paper apologizes.
Sienna Miller, David Mills,
Kelly Hoppen, Andy Gray,
Privacy of all was breached
This is a sad and solemn day.
If we admit some blame in this
Will all of you just go away?
Further revelations relating to MILLY DOWLER’s voice mails come to light, followed by even further revelations that suggest that the voicemails of British soldiers were hacked, along with family of victims of the July 7, 2005, bombings. FIONA, an old British lady, is reading the Guardian.
And go to trial.
I just hope I live to see
These people dealt with righteously.
We must do all that we can
To see that the crap hits the fan.
FIONA, who is nearly ninety, dies that evening without seeing justice done. Shortly after her burial, the crap begins to hit the fan, copiously. News of the World shutters after nearly a hundred and seventy years of continuous publication. News Corp. withdraws its takeover bid of the British broadcaster BSkyB. REBEKAH BROOKS, the chief executive of News International, resigns, as do Les Hinton, the C.E.O. of Dow Jones, and two of Britain’s most senior police officers, SIR PAUL STEPHENSON and JOHN YATES. REBEKAH BROOKS, ANDY COULTER, and NEIL WALLIS are arrested. SEAN HAORE is found dead. Men on the street are aghast.
MAN ON THE STREET:
The death was ruled not suspicious
By the known-to-be-corrupt police?
How wonderful for all involved
How perfect for the press release.
If this happens to celebrities
I think that there is little chance
It’s doesn’t also happen in
Politics and high finance.
The question is how high it went
The shape of it, the full extent.
We must continue to expose
How wide it spreads, how deep it goes:
The tumbling of dominoes.
RUPERT MURDOCH and his son JAMES MURDOCH are called to testify before Parliament.
So much of what’s happened at News of the World
Was news to me, too, like the thing with that girl.
I don’t think it’s my fault. There were people I trusted
And that trust, through the years, was abridged and disrupted. Still, I concede that it casts a great pall
Of shame and discredit over us all.
I’m humbled. I’m chastened. I’m brought to my knees.
I’m old and I’m helpless. Have sympathy, please.
I never intended to hurt anyone.
I feel regretful. Here is my son.
In the matter of Hinton
In the matter of Brooks
I support them both fully
I know they’re not crooks.
Sure, we paid money
To those who were wronged
But let’s settle this matter
No one wants it prolonged.
A man appears and throws a foam pie. RUPERT and JAMES MURDOCH are stunned.
A flying pie.
It almost got me in the eye.
It hit my father in the shoulder.
Are growing bolder.
RUPERT MURDOCH’S wife, WENDI MURDOCH, slaps the man. The pie tin falls to the floor, which cracks. A gigantic CELL PHONE rises up through the crack. It glows.
Psst psst psst.
RUPERT MURDOCH is still a little stunned.
Just said, I missed.
Mr. Murdoch, please come here
Hold me tight against your ear.
RUPERT MURDOCH does. The phone grits its teeth and grimaces, producing high levels of radiation. The corner of RUPERT MURDOCH’s brain begins to swell. It grows and grows until it pops. Three people leap out: SADIE, LAVINIA, and FIONA. They are alive again, though still old, and their eyes flash with anger.
You misled me
You gave false hope.
In return I give you
You’re a power-mad monster
A liar, a knave.
We’ve come to destroy you
From beyond the grave.
I have nothing so morbid
Or scary to say
But some old-fashioned haunting
Goes a long way.
She presses a button on the telephone and RUPERT MURDOCH’s head fills with images of those he wronged: MILLY DOWLER is in front, and the rest are behind her, in rows and rows. All three women and the CELL PHONE begin to chant.
SADIE, LAVINIA, FIONA, and CELL PHONE:
Double, double, toil and trouble
We hope this leaves your world in rubble
News of the World took the fall for News Corp.
But we still believe we can settle the score
Some may disdain this belief as naïve
So we’ll send a quick message before we leave.
The CELL PHONE punches RUPERT MURDOCH in the stomach and vanishes in a puff of acrid smoke. SADIE, LAVINIA, and FIONA walk out of the room, waving politely to everyone as they go.