5 Must-Reads on the Phone-Hacking Scandal

Well I don't know about you but at least over here in the U.K., it's been pretty much Rupert Murdoch 24/7 for the past few weeks.

The phone-hacking scandal that has been brewing quietly in the background for the past several years has now broken out into broad daylight, dragging seemingly everybody -- Murdoch, his son, his trusted former Editor-in-Chief and perhaps even Prime Minister David Cameron himself -- into the mud.

So far there's been criminal activity, cover-up, bribing, police corruption, political intrigue and death. What's not to love? As a friend of mine observed in his Facebook feed, all that's missing from this thing is to somehow implicate the Church of England and we can all call it a day.

So for those of you who've been on vacation or in hiding for the past two weeks and need to come up to speed or -- like me -- can't get enough of this story, here are five must-read posts on the phone-hacking scandal:

1. Murdoch's Freudian Motivations -- I'm not always a fan of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. At times I find her sardonic tone just a tad too biting and dismissive. But boy does she nail it in a column in which she explores Murdoch (Sr.'s) filial issues with his father as a primary driver in the sweep -- and ruthlessness -- of his media empire. Her portraits of James and Rebekah are no less spot-on.

2. Murdoch as Authoritarian -- Equally compelling is cultural historian Neal Gabler's piece in Politico entitled "Rupert Murdoch: Journalism's Mubarak." Gabler likens the sudden fall from grace of the Murdoch media triumvirate to the Arab Spring sweeping the Middle East. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, to learn -- courtesy of Maureen Dowd -- of Murdoch's unabashed admiration for -- wait for it -- Singapore's authoritarian state. Hmmmm....

3. Wendi Murdoch's Left Hook -- Of course, no analysis of this grand spectacle would be complete without an in-depth look at Wendi Murdoch's Charlie's Angel moment, when she leapt in to defend her husband from that upstart pie-thrower. This Guardian profile provides you with all you need to know about Wendi's ascent from high school basketball champion to Muhammad Ali. As Jon Stewart wryly notes in his own take-down piece (see below), there are advantages to the 40-year spousal gap. (I don't know about you, but I'm bringing Wendi to my next rumble.)

4. Fox News Non-Treatment -- Jon Stewart's treatment of the scandal is a riot. Not surprisingly, he has some harsh words for the scant coverage by (Murdoch-owned) Fox News. Check it out.

5. Phone-Hacking: The Movie -- And then there's this gem -- a quick preview of what Hackgate: The Movie will look like when it inevitably comes out. Thank you, YouTube.