Phone Spying Scandal Calls Again

Anything for a Story

It is said that journalists will do anything for a good story. But it’s not often that journalists doing exactly that becomes big news. And it really is big news: a four-year old scandal which will not die and now directly or indirectly includes very powerful people including the British prime minister.

Old News

Four years ago two employees from the ‘News of the World’ newspaper, a part of Murdoch’s News International media empire, were arrested and then imprisoned for hacking into the phone voicemail services of Prince William’s assistants in the hope of finding information for a story. Nobody else was directly implicated and no other spying incidents were investigated. The editor of the newspaper at that time resigned but always insisted he knew nothing about the phone hacking and later became the press spokesman for David Cameron, now Prime Minister. Last week he resigned again, just two days before the scandal returned.

New News

It is understood that new emails have been discovered which implicate other journalists of hacking into celebrity voicemail accounts. These emails have been passed onto the police and the investigation has been reopened. A senior editor at ‘News of the World’ has already been sacked and it is suspected that this scandal might even spread to other newspapers.


Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the newspaper, is said to be furious and the Prime Minister’s aides are thought to be increasingly worried that his close links with powerful people within News International are damaging his reputation.

Grammar: the Passive

In this article we see three common uses of the passive.

  1. The first use is in the phrases in green. They all normally use ‘it is…’ and are very commonly used in the news to give a certain distance from the opinions or to protect the person who says them.
  2. The examples in purple are all examples of using the passive because it is obvious who did the actions.
  3. In the examples in orange we don’t know who did the action and quite possibly we are not really interested either.

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