Monday, July 11, 2011

Rupert Murdoch closes News of the World for sake of corporate greed, not journalistic integrity

Mike Lupica

Monday, July 11th 2011, 4:00 AM

Rupert Murdoch, who closed scandal-plagued tabloid News of the World this weekend, with son James in London on Sunday.
Sang Tan/AP
Rupert Murdoch, who closed scandal-plagued tabloid News of the World this weekend, with son James in London on Sunday.

Goodbye, Cruel World

Do you think the News of the World should have shut down?

At a time when everybody worries about the survival of newspapers everywhere, Rupert Murdoch decides to bury one in London with the biggest circulation because of a phone-hacking scandal that is being treated like Watergate - and will get worse before it gets better. So News of the World goes, after a run that only lasted 168 years.

News of the World isn't just accused of hacking the celebrities on which British tabloids and all tabloids have feasted for so long, but also a kidnapped and murdered girl named Milly Dowler, and relatives of people lost to terrorist bombings, and possibly even relatives of English soldiers killed in the Middle East.

So the paper is gone, not because of any particular outrage on Mr. Murdoch's part, some attempt to find moral or journalistic high ground, but rather because it threatens the big deal he is trying to make to buy up all of a British satellite broadcaster known as BSkyB.


Murdoch's bid is about $14 billion, so you can see how the 280 writers and editors and other employees of News of the World were simply collateral damage. The big guy has an empire to run here.

Kill a paper, save a cable deal.

Murdoch - who owns Fox, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and everything except the ball Derek Jeter hit for his 3,000th - says he knew nothing about the phone hacking and probably didn't. He's got his hands full trying to buy and run the world, and control the real news of the world, and the political process, here and in England and everywhere else.

For now, though, he is trying to control damage, saying he won't accept the resignation of a woman named Rebekah Brooks, a former editor of News of the World who says that SHE knew nothing of the hacking, even if some of it occurred while she was the boss of the place.

"I'm not throwing innocent people under the bus," Murdoch told Reuters.

Really? If he doesn't know what was going on, how does he know Brooks is innocent? And all the News of the World employees he just put out of work - most of them weren't innocent victims here?

What we know for now is that a famous London paper is gone, not because it was failing, but because it could turn Murdoch's shot at BskyB into a big, fat failed deal. We also know that another former News of the World editor, Andrew Coulson, has been arrested, Scotland Yard not particularly impressed that Coulson used to be Prime Minister David Cameron's media chief.

The police in England are also investigating charges that executives at News International - whose chairman is Murdoch's son James - might have deleted millions of emails from an internal archive.

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