Is Rupert Murdoch the real Big Brother, manipulating the minds of millions for the sake of power and profit? Short answer: yes. Running right-wing propaganda machines, including FOX News and the NY Post, is bad enough, but recent allegations of illegal phone tapping to acquire celebrity gossip adds a sinister notch to the belt of Murdoch's sleazy empire.

Sure, tabloid news is a competitive market and the rules of engagement are vague. But intercepting phone calls for exclusives is illegal. That's not to say it doesn't produce headlines. Let's look back at some modern cases of the phone tap...

5. Linda Tripp Records Monica Lewinsky, 1997
• After Lewinsky delivered the blowjob felt around the world, she did what any experienced groupie does—divulge her experience in detail over the phone. Whoops. The young slide was infamously betrayed by her 47-year-old mentor and gave rise to the brief career of Ken Starr.

4. NSA Eavesdrops on "Terrorists," 2005
• Bush wasn't much of a fan of the U.S. Constitution. He found it annoying. So rather than ask the elitist Congress for clearance, Bush went ahead and tapped the phones of suspected "terrorists". I guess it is easier to be a dictator.


3. Anthony Pellicano Taps Celebrity Phones, 2008
• Before Murdoch's bombshell discovery, Hollywood private eye, Pellicano, was taking $25,000 retainer fees to tap the phones of dozens of celebrities, including Sly Stone. I know. Sly, how could he? He's now serving 15 years in Pelican Bay (no relation).


2. Paul Bergrin Recorded By FBI Ordering Hits, 2009
• You heard the one about the lawyer, the mobster and the witness? No it's not another bad lawyer joke, but a case of a really bad lawyer. The infamous Bergrin, a former federal prosecutor and high-profile defense attorney, was caught on FBI wiretap incriminating himself in conspiracy to murder. I think the key phrase was "No witness, no case".


1. Rupert Murdoch's "News Of The World" Tapping Celebrities, 2009
• Murdoch's "News Of The World" apparently took a page from the CIA's figurative memoir, "Police of the World", giving birth to a modern hybrid - Paparazzi espionage. It's a slippery slope.