According to British comedian and author Andy Zaltzman, when the British tabloid The News of the World was accused of wrongdoing in the now infamous phone-hacking scandal, the paper “did not just cross the line . . . it drove through the line in a high-speed tank, reversed back over the line, picked it up, taped the line back together, headbutted it, released the line into the woods, ran after it, kidnapped it, chained it to a radiator in its dungeon, fed it half a slice of stale bread and a glass of water every day, and whacked the line round the kneecaps with a baseball bat before releasing it and saying, ‘Right, line, I never want to see you anywhere near one of my articles again, comprende?'”
That’s a quote from the July 10th 2011 edition of the topical British comedy podcast The Bugle. The Bugle is hosted weekly by Zaltzman and Daily Show correspondent John Oliver. As a popular new satire program, it wouldn’t ordinarily be surprising to hear the hosts make scathing jokes about the almost-too-shocking-to-be-real hacking scandal and subsequent shuttering of The News of the World. But it was certainly a bold move for a podcast that is presented by a paper that is actually part of the News Corp. empire. “In full disclosure,” says Oliver during the show, “this podcast is presented by The Times of London – a sister paper of The News of the World. But more of an older, more mature, less slutty sister than its tear-away, shameful, dirty younger sibling who has repeatedly brought disgrace upon the whole, admittedly flawed, family.”
While many Murdoch-owned publications downplayed news of the scandal’s most appalling allegations, the Bugle refused to hold back. For example, at one point during the show Zaltzman jokes that his grandmother-in-law got a telegram from the queen for her 100th birthday and that he hacked into it as per “company policy.” Later, Oliver tells Zaltzman to “[d]elete your emails, Andy — quick!”
And if you’ve been hiding in a cave all summer and missed out on hearing the details of the hacking scandal, you can catch up quickly by watching this clip wherein John Oliver (at his other job) provides an impressively concise and scathing summary of the key allegations to date.