Rupert Murdoch is working hard to contain the fallout from the hacking scandal that has engulfed his U.K. newspapers. His nightmare scenario right now would be the coming to light of anything to suggest that the bad behavior that was so (allegedly) commonplace at the News of the World also happened with any frequency in the U.S. That means not just interception of voicemails but also use of shady private investigators and improper relationships with, or payments to, law enforcement officials.
Assuming Gawker’s sources are correct, it’s unclear exactly what, if anything, O’Reilly himself did here. The former police commissioner who allegedly ordered the investigation denies that O’Reilly requested it. O’Reilly was reportedly dangling a large potential donation to the police department’s charitable fund at the time, but there’s no evidence that he ever made one. At this point, all that can be deduced for sure is that it looks bad. (Fox News and News Corp. haven’t replied to my requests for comment, nor did they respond to Gawker’s.)