July 19, 2011, 10:58 AM — For the record, Rupert Murdoch is not dead.
He is in a lot of pain, however.
That pain is LulzSec, the "disbanded" splinter of the hactivist group Anonymous, which came out of pseudo-disbandonment yesterday to hack Murdoch's U.K. operation so hard that it shut down all remote access to its major papers in the U.K., turned off webmail and cut off existing employee accounts even within the buildings until employees created new passwords.
The attack started yesterday after LulzBoaters got into servers under the main site of The Sun, Murdoch's largest surviving publication in the U.K. and redirected readers to a fake story that reported Murdoch had been found dead yesterday after ingesting a large quantity of palladium (a poisonous rare-earth element similar to platinum) and "stumbling into his famous topiary garden late last night."
As far as anyone knows the octogenarian dictator of the world's largest media empire is as healthy today as he was a month ago – before his empire began to crumble under the revelation that his largest and most disreputable publication routinely hacked the phone mails of everyone from the royal family to the prime minister to a young girl kidnapped and later found murdered.
That scandal has, so far, forced Murdoch to shut down News of the World, gotten its top editor arrested, launched investigations at Scotland Yard and London's Metropolitan police into allegations even high-ranking cops had taken bribes from News of the World or other Murdoch papers, gotten Murdoch himself summoned to testify before Parliament, and played a role in the death of Sean Hoare, a former News of the World reporter who blew the whistle on the phone-hacking scandal by telling the New York Times that editors at the paper knew about and encouraged the practice.
Hoare, 47, was found dead in his apartment yesterday of unknown causes. An autopsy is being conducted, but police have only said they do not yet consider his death suspicious.