Though, in news terms, it has been buried beneath an avalanche of tragedy, the scandal and crisis at News International is still very much alive. We managed to get in touch with someone who works inside the company, close to the Murdochs. We emailed them asking for hard-hitting Private Eye-style leaks, and they emailed back some interesting, but very whimsical, insights into the most controversial company on earth.
VICE: Hello Mole. What has the atmosphere in the office been like since news of the phone hacking scandal broke?
Mole: Hmm, that's a tough question, especially as things vary from department to department. I certainly count myself lucky that I'm not in advertising sales.
The atmosphere in the office has been vaguely akin to not just watching BBC World News 24 hours a day for the past two weeks, but actually living inside it. Which means you have to upscale that slightly nauseous feeling you get when you've been watching too much BBC News 24 – that mixture of oppression, malaise and revulsion – and multiply it by the amount of dollars in Murdoch's bank account. Then, and only then, would you even be close to understanding the feelings of oppression, malaise and revulsion that we, the employees of News International, have had to cope with over the last few weeks.
Obviously, I speak both for myself and completely spuriously. Everyone else seems fine. In fact, you could even mark down everything I just said as a cunning way of toeing the party line while simultaneously slating the BBC.
What about the Murdochs? Are they mad at each other?
Probably not as mad as they are at a few others… Not naming any names. Again, put your imagination to work; there is a lot of in-fighting but also some camaraderie. I remember the last time my family was challenged by the police, parliament and public at large. There's no other bonding experience like it. It's a real 'leveller', you know?
Does everyone go around bitching about the Guardian?
Do you mean the Guardian Boo Hiss, as it is commonly referred to in the office? Is there a lot of bitching about the Guardian Boo Hiss in the office? Not as much as there is about Ed Miliband, but that's another story! As for the Guardian, oh no, we like the competition. Especially when it’s as shit as that. We invite them to do their worst. Pretty good effort so far, but we're not scared.
Are all the normal employees secretly pleased about what's happening?
I find it endearing that you think there are 'normal employees' at the Evil Empire that is Murdoch's Media Group, News International Ltd! Of course, there are one or two who don't even remotely come close to approaching the dark side. They have learned not to ask too many questions. If you don't like illegal activity, you know where the door is. Everyone else is sort of enthralled by it all.
This is a stupid question but what the hell: Do you think the 'We didn't know about it' line of defence has any truth about it whatsoever?
No. There is nothing funny to say about that. Just 'no'.
Let’s talk about levels of darkness. Are the Murdochs actually as evil as we think they are?
Yes. Again, there's not really that much to say about that. What I can say is that when I first started working at News International I spent sleepless nights debating the moral rights and wrongs of my involvement. (These were quickly silenced with a pay-cheque because, you know, I am young and human and therefore allowed to make really, really lucrative mistakes.) Before that though, I would incessantly google Rupert Murdoch trying to work out how evil he actually was. I discovered that if you type "Is Rupert Murdoch…" into Google, you get the following predictions:
… a Freemason?
… an American Citizen?
Maybe the question "Do the Murdochs enjoy the public perception of them as evil?" would be more interesting. (Not to slate your questions, of course; they're good, really they are – of Guardian interview standard!) And what I can say, in response to the question you should have asked, is: YES. Yes they do enjoy the public perception of them as evil. Who wouldn't want to be a Dark Lord for a while?
What's the scoop on Rebekah Brooks?
She was bred in a lab to operate as cannon fodder for Murdoch progeny.
So what's next for News International? Have there been a lot of secret meetings and people talking to each other in hushed tones?
It's more than secret meetings and hushed tones; it's a war zone. People walk around looking devastated and harassed but unable to surrender. “I've got to do this,” they think. There are helicopters chopping overhead, people running in and out of cars, paps everywhere. "It'll be over by Thursday" was a phrase uttered repeatedly at the start of the scandal. It’s beginning to remind me of a few things that were said at the start of the First World War.