Coming as a shock, and amidst an ever-rising tidal wave of anger and disgust, News Of The World decided to shut it's doors and publish its last edition this coming Sunday. After 168 years, it comes down to this.
The ever-deepening scandal currently overtaking Newscorp and News International is now taking on the appearance of shell game. Attempt to find the elusive pea while fighting distractions from hands.
As it was reported on this edition of PM from BBC Radio 4, news was swift and abrupt. A short, terse statement from James Murdoch, son and heir-apparent expressed remorse and regret, while former Editor and now Chief Executive of News International Rebekah Brooks took the life preservers and split out the back, leaving colleagues and staff abruptly unemployed and drowning. As PM Anchor Eddie Mair asked "Are you rejoicing?" the answer came back ultimately no. Or as Michael Wolff pointed out "Rupert Murdoch is now naked and scared".
The question now is, what next? It would seem shutting News Of The World was a maladroit attempt at damage control - the out-of-sight/out-of-mind analogy, but I think it has gone way too far for that. The damage is still being revealed, the guilt is slowly making its way up the ladder. As was pointed out in the broadcast, Prime Minister David Cameron is now in a very precarious position because of his personal relationships with both Murdoch and Brooks, appointing disgraced (and now possibly jailed) Andy Coulson to Communications Director and facing the looming issue of the proposed buyout of BskyB by Newscorp.Questions are now coming to light as to just how much Cameron knew about Coulson and how much he chose not to know at the time of his appointment. But as was also pointed out, this scandal has repercussions all over Parliament because of the nature of Politics and the Press, not only the immense damage that has been done to Scotland Yard.
But this is what's currently going on in the UK only. That's all we're hearing about for now. The subject of just how widespread this system of hacking has been with any other publications, or news outlets currently owned by Newscorp throughout the world begs a much more alarming question. If this has been company policy, it's highly unlikely this scandal is confined to one newspaper in one area alone. Think cockroaches.
It's just speculation at this point and as I said yesterday, this story is far from over.
But for now, here is the July7th edition of PM, followed by another BBC Profile. This time it's the elusive Rebekah Brooks.
The wonders won't be ceasing for a long-long time.