Hugh Grant: An Instrument in G-d’s Hands

I detest the paparazzi. I want to say hate, but hating is a sin, so let’s say I detest the paparazzi. Why?  Because I hold them directly responsible for the death of Princess Diana, who I loved.

I used to “like” Fox News, which is owned by Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch. I actually never gave Rupert Murdoch much thought, except as a family historian and a Murdoch descendant, I regarded Rupert as possibly one of my far-flung cousins. Now my “like” for Murdoch has turned to detest (I no longer regard him as a possible cousin), and I am greatly, enormously, disappointed in Fox News. I now feel this way because; I recently came across a fascinating news story, which I believe has been under-reported here in the US; well, at least on Fox News.

This tale is about the Murdoch empire, the paparazzi,  and a seemly unlikely real life hero, the British actor Hugh Grant, (who I also love) star of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, About a Boy, Music and Lyrics, and many other films.

BBC Question Time

Hugh Grant, a London resident, was out driving his new “mid-life crisis car” one evening last December, when his Ferrari broke down in remote Kent.  Mr. Grant, who has been relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi, was rescued, as luck would have it, by Paul McMillan, a former journalist of The News of the World tabloid press. McMillan, now a local pub owner in nearby Dover;  immediately began to snap pictures of the already irritated Mr. Grant.  Mr. Grant swore at McMillan, but soon realized McMillan was his only hope of getting help, resigned his fate, and accepted a lift into town.

While engaging in conversation with his nemesis turned rescuer, Mr. Grant found that McMillan was notorious for blowing the whistle on an early investigation on phone hacking by the British tabloids.  The Metro Police investigated McMillan’s claims, a couple of arrests were made, and then corrupt police officers buried the  larger scope of the investigation. McMillan also confirmed that Mr. Grant’s phone regularly had been hacked. McMillan, unrepentant of his former profession, stated, “Phone hacking was a price you had to pay for living in a free society”.

Their conversation was short, but Mr. Grant continued to be curious about how this nasty business of phone hacking was accomplished. So later that spring, Mr. Grant stopped by McMillan’s pub to have a repeat conversation, except this time, our hero, unknown to McMillan wore a hidden wire.  As Mr. Grant put it, “The bugger bugged”.

In the course of the conversation, McMillan verified Princess Diana’s phone had been hacked, implicated high-level employees of Rupert Murdoch, high-level politicians, and corrupt police.   As dastardly as this all was, even more sinister information was revealed. The tabloid press has bugged the phones of murdered and missing British citizens.  One case in particular, involved a missing 13-year-old girl named Milly Dowler, who was later discovered murdered in 2002.  McMillan revealed in the days Milly Dowler was missing, News of the World journalists hacked into and deleted the phone messages on her cell phone in order to free up space for new messages. Her family believing, it was Milly herself who was deleting the messages, were given false hope she was somehow alive.  So while her family and friends left frantic messages begging for her to call them, the News of World press was listening and recording and deleting.  Later, the police feared evidence had been destroyed.

Armed with incriminating information, it was our hero, Hugh Grant, who brought attention of the phone hacking scandal to the public by publishing an article in the New Statesman.  Mr. Grant also went on national news programs and brilliantly mopped the floor with his opponents, shamming journalists and politicians alike. (for the entire episode go to YouTube and search Hugh Grant Question Time)  Now with a growing angry public crying for justice, politicians and the police were forced to conduct  real and thorough investigations.   Inquiries into an even bigger world of  phone hacking have spread in regards to slain British military soldiers and the victims of the 7/7 terrorist attack. To date, there have been more than a dozen journalists arrested, including top-ranking Murdoch employee Rebecca Brooks Wade, and Andy Coulson, a former Murdoch employee and Prime Minister David Cameron’s aide; resignation of two top police officials, and the closing of the News of the World newspaper.  Official inquiries have made into how much Rupert Murdoch and his son James was involved.

Perhaps our American readers are saying, “ So? This awful affair does not affect the US”.  Well perhaps, dear reader it does. It has been nosed about that shortly after 9/11, the victim’s phones were also hacked.  The relatives of the 9/11 victims have demanded an inquiry and the FBI is now conducting an investigation.

How has Fox News, owed by Murdoch, reported these events? Fox News reporter Steve Doocy stated, “…a big hacking problem. It happened at the Pentagon, and Citibank, it’s happened at The News of the World. When are we going to get serious about it (phone hacking)?”

Okay… here is the problem for those of you who are clueless, the Pentagon and Citibank were the victims; the News of the World was the perpetrator.  Perhaps one might say, an innocent mistake was made?  Well, no.  Fox News (aka Fair and Balanced) is owned by Murdoch, as are numerous media companies in the UK, Australia and the US and other parts of the world. Murdoch holdings include 20th Century Fox, Fox Television, The New York Post and the Wall Street Journal (for a complete list).  The big question now is, how much did Rupert and James Murdoch know and how much of the phone hacking did he sanction in the quest for the sensationalized news story? Just how dirty is this guy??

Now, dear reader, we consider the here and why of the Hand of G-d in this story.  I believe G-d can bring retribution to the wicked in this life.  He is capable of using his influence on the hearts and minds of ordinary fallible human beings, like Hugh Grant.  So a few questions to ponder; how likely was it Hugh Grant, high-profile actor, would be driving his car in an area of England he did not normally visit, then how likely would it be for his new Ferrari to break down, even more astonishing would be the one person who would show up to help him would be the one journalist who was so willing to reveal the phone hacking scandal? I propose the random meeting of Grant and McMillan to be an unlikely scenario.  Could it be possible G-d found one (Hugh Grant) who is intelligent enough (scholarship student at Oxford), well-spoken enough, famous enough, curious enough and really angry enough to take on the tabloid press and the British political establishment? I say Yes!

Could it then be possible G-d in his infinite wisdom was able to influence the minds and wills of these two adversarial gentleman, who were then to both play a role in   bringing to pass justice for the victims and their families of tragic events, and to hopefully bring the phone hacking scandal to a justifiable end? I say, yes dear reader, I believe so.

I invite your opinion and   civil discussion on either the phone hacking scandal or the Hand of G-d in this situation, because after all, inquiring minds want to know.

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About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009

21 thoughts on “Hugh Grant: An Instrument in G-d’s Hands

  1. I’m not sure this issue has a lot to do with faith of the LDS, but I doubt that the Wall St. Journal or Fox News had anything to do with a phone hacking scandal in Britain’s “News of the World”. Can you explain any possible connections other than ownership?

    There are those in this country who would like to bring down Fox News and the WSJ. Guilt by association does have some validity, but not in this case, in my opinion. The link between Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama, for example, is a valid case of “guilt by association”.

  2. R Biddulph- This has to do with the faith of all believing human beings. This is a testament that G-d is is charge. There are no random coincidences. To quote reporters at the Wall Street Journal:

    “It stinks. It makes our stomachs churn, to be bizarrely held accountable for some dip**** tabloid guys from eight years ago. It’s absurd,” said a staffer who has been at the Journal since before Murdoch bought the paper. Another reporter, also speaking anonymously, described an end to the era of pretending away the Murdoch taint: “This slightly naïve notion that nobody really knows that we’re part of News Corp., that what they do, what Fox News does, what Rupert Murdoch does, doesn’t affect us—when something like this happens, it forces people to recognize that it does.” See:

    Fox News chose to be a part of the cover-up. So much for Fair and Balanced.

  3. I like Hugh Grant, and I like JA Benson. I am simply not convinced that the US operations of Murdoch are covering up anything. Quotations from reporters are meaningless — I was a reporter for many years, and reporters will always complain about the supposedly nefarious dealings of the corporate suits (because reporters always think they are the good guys while the businesspeople are the bad guys, without ever considering the fact that the reporters would not have jobs without the businesspeople). In addition, US news outlets are very unlikely to cover a phone hacking scandal that is in the UK. These days, very little foreign news gets covered on a day-to-day basis (which is a shame, but it is reality). Thirdly, you simply can’t engage is guilt by association. If somebody shows me that the WSJ or Fox is engaging in phone hacking, I would be the first to denounce it. I haven’t seen that evidence.

    To be clear, the phone-hacking scandal is a massive invasion of privacy, and the people involved should be prosecuited. But I would like to point out that ALL of the tabloids in the UK have been doing things like this — and much worse — for decades.

  4. I am pretty neutral on the issue of phone hacking famous people by the paparazzi. Both of them leach off of each other. My miniscule sympathy goes to the paparazzi who are giving the people what they want and sticking it to those who think they are above the masses. In these cases that are reported no national security was breached, but gossip got the sales. At most feelings were hurt by thin skinned celebrities and politicians.

    The death of Lady Diane was tragic, but she and her driver held some responsibility. Records show the driver was drunk and more importantly speeding way beyond a safe limit. I feel for her and those who died, but I don’t feel for their reckless actions to avoid a good photo from the hand that fed them.

  5. Count me as another who is saddened by yet another line the British press have crossed and not surprised that we’d see some here emulating the Brits. You have no more evidence than I that this is not a Fox thing but a British press thing in specific and potentially a general US press problem as well. Ironically it didn’t seem to gain a lot if legs at least from what I heard until there was some nebulous connection via Murdoch subsidiary ownership. That scandal barring further evidence and direct involvement by Murdoch is no different than saying Clinton fianaced terrorism – I remember these tenuous claims during his presidency which were no doubt planted by partisans and spread by willing or useful idiots. Murdoch may be a bad guy and Fox and CNN etc no doubt do bad things but this seems like a stretch to start smearing all Fox (I don’t even watch it!).

  6. I was particularly annoyed when Fox news went into the commentary of “can we move on already” the day after the news broke. This is the kind of horse Fox News would have ridden until it was 6 feet under ground, if it had involved any other company.

    Unfortunately, I dont think this exposure is going to change anything.

  7. I like you too Geoff!

    Fox covers it up if they report the scandal inaccurately, by reporting Murdoch’s organization as the victim rather than the perpetrator, that is not “Fair and Balanced”. As a conservative and a fan of Fox I expect better from them. If I call them on it (fantasy of mine that anyone at Fox would actually read my rantings :)), and not “circle the wagons” around them it keeps us (conservatives) honest. I agree Fox probably did not do any phone hacking. Unfortunately the investigation on possible phone hacking after 9/11 ( the lead is a British journalist tried to bribe a cop) is ten years old, I am sure if anything happened, the evidence is pretty cold now.

    I am aware all the British tabloids are dirty, it doesn’t make it right, and I hope they all face justice.

  8. Jettboy- It does not matter if someone is Hugh Grant or Princess Diana or Milly Dowler, phone hacking is a violation of basic human rights. Truth and righteousness pertains to the powerful as well as the weak. In case of Princess Diana, the driver was not Princess Diana’s employee, but Dodi Fayed’s instead. Witnesses testified the driver did not appear to be drunk, Princess Di did not know he had been drinking. The paparazzi were chasing them relentlessly and they were at fault as was the driver.

    Chris- I agree with what you have said until, “Murdoch may be a bad guy and Fox and CNN etc no doubt do bad things but this seems like a stretch to start smearing all Fox (I don’t even watch it!).” I am not smearing Fox, I am disappointed in them for not being “Fair and Balanced”. Fox News has a responsibility to report the news correctly, even if the news does not paint their employer in a good light.

  9. I just cannot see Hugh Grant, who has had his own major scandals in the past, as the “hand of God” in anything. That a sleazy tabloid was found guilty of wrongdoing has nothing to do with God. And I’m not convinced it has anything to do directly with Rupert Murdoch, Fox News, or WSJ, either.

    This is like indicting all Muslims of bombing the World Trade Center. Just because they all are Muslim, does not mean they are guilty of anything. And God probably had nothing to do with either the bombing or the eventual killing of Osama Bin Laden.

    And no, I am not an active Fox News watcher. Except for their actual news (Sorry, their morning show with Doocy does not count as real news, just as the Today Show doesn’t), I do not insist on accurate, timely, and good coverage on all news items. And I’m more of a Morning Joe-type on MSNBC (but do not watch their evening shows, as they are as left wing as Hannity is right wing).

  10. Hey Ram, while I agree that this is not a case of God being so upset by the sinister Murdoch conglomeration that he laid some kind of scandalous trap for them to foll into… I wanted to contrast what you said with this scripture:

    Thou Shalt Thank the Lord Thy God in All Things

    Usually this scripture is brought to our minds on a bad day or quoted at us when we feel like complaining about our lot. It gets tricky with real tragedy and its important to remember it was given in the midst of the Jackson county era of church persecution.

    So if God wants us to look for the bright side of the bad things or at least thank him for them, then I think JA can thank God for using the wicked to punish the wicked 🙂

  11. Ok Rameumpton, I believe G-d works with flawed and sinful human beings, ( myself included) because we all fall short in the eyes of G-d. Perhaps I see this as Milly Dowler’s family, other murder victims families, the 7/7 terrorist victims families and the families of the slain UK soldiers, see it. This isn’t just about what celebrity is sleeping with who, it is a basic human right to privacy. This scandal is so far reaching it goes as far up as Prime Minister Cameron. Rupert Murdoch is guilty. If Richard Nixon was guilty, Murdoch is guilty of the same or worse. His number two person Rebecca Wade Brooks has been arrested. When the news broke he sought to protect Wade Brooks, instead of firing her. He and his son James are under investigation. Fox News, just like Frank said would all over it, if it was CNN.

    In the weeks and months after my husband suddenly died, it would have been unthinkable for anyone to have been listening in and recording and deleting my own private grief-stricken conversations with close family and friends. When you are in that situation, you can hardly breathe, you do not want to be bothered, your system is on sensory overload, and to have your privacy violated would be unbelievable. I believe G-d hears the cries of the suffering. He also uses whatever and whoever he can to bring justice to the suffering. The extreme randomness of this situation is a testament to me G-d used Hugh Grant, who was just mad enough, and famous enough for people to take notice, to do what was necessary to bring to light the guilty and to seek justice.

    Don’t kid yourself, G-d likely did have a hand in getting rid of OBL.

  12. Whoa Jettboy, excellent piece of information! You are right, CNN has a piece in the nasty pie too. Too bad about Piers Morgan, he appeared to be a class act. He deserves to be sacked and sent back to England.

  13. Couple of serious false doctrines here.

    1.) It is a sin to hate.
    Not true.
    2.) There are no coincidences.
    Not true.

  14. psychochemiker-
    1) Matthew 22:39, Luke 10:27, Galatians 5:14, Mark 12:31, Leviticus 19:18 etc…

    2) Coincidences, like you run into a high school friend at Disneyland, well possibly not. Consider the extraordinary circumstances and the outcome in the phone hacking scandal: Hugh Grant is out late one night in rural Dover a long way from his home in London, his new car breaks down, he can’t get anyone to help him, EXCEPT an ex-paparazzi who is more than willing to tell all. McMillan had been telling what he knew to a lot of people, but he could not penetrate the powerful cover-up. I am sorry to keep spelling out the obvious; the phone hacking scandal needed someone popular enough, well-spoken enough and really really mad enough to expose it. Others who wanted/tried to expose the scandal endured harassment for their trouble. Mr. Grant was willing to gamble his career; to bring justice for others like the Dowler family. The public outcry is enormous, and is bringing down the powerful from the Prime MInister’s office and Murdoch’s organization, right on down. Laws will be changed and this situation will be remedied. There is no way those chain of events happened on their own. G-d is in the details, if you can’t see that my friend, then I can’t help you.

  15. Well, however much you loved Princess Diana or Hugh Grant, it’s obvious that you have deeper affection for them than for the objective case.

  16. Mark B. – I rejoice that a bully is getting his rear kicked by his victims. It is been my experience that when businessmen are corrupt in one aspect of their business, they are corrupt in others as well. Murdoch owns a large share of the world’s media. Murdoch is very powerful, and power corrupts absolutely. He has behaved as if he is above the law, and until Hugh Grant got involved, was getting away with it. I have been watching the phone hacking scandal erupt since mid-late July; and as the evidence mounts against Murdoch and his organization, my admiration for Mr. Grant and the late Princess Diana is only frosting on the cake. I guess what shocks me, is a few of the gentlemen who have commented here, are unable to see the scope of this scandal, I am guessing because of their obvious dislike for Hugh Grant. Why? Cause women dig Hugh Grant. 🙂

    See: and

  17. If God can use majorly wicked folks like the Assyrians and the Babylonians (the “razors” with which He used to “shave” Israel, Isaiah 7:20) to punish Israel, then he can use minorly wicked people too.

    I’m with JAB. We’re supposed to confess the hand of God in _all_ things.

    That does not necessarily mean God _causes_ all things, but since God is all-knowing and all-powerful, by definition, He _allows_ all things that happen to happen, and takes all things past/present/future into account in His planning.

    So even if God didn’t _cause_ an accident (though I think He _sometimes_ does), by knowing of it beforehand He can use the accident in His overall plans. And that is how we can acknowledge the hand of God in all things.

  18. Excellent comment Bookslinger! I agree G-d does not always “cause” events or circumstances, but if He can, He might nudge things a might, but He still leaves us with our free will and agency.

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