Why did Rupert Murdoch chose to close a 168-year old British newspaper that was one of his most profitable?
Caught up in a wire-tap scandal, News Corporation, the owner of Fox, the Wall Street Journal, Sky and numerous Asian, American and European newspapers took a dramatic move which, NC hopes, will draw a line under its problems.
Here are some facts on which the UK media remain silent.
1) Rupert Murdoch penetrates the establishment in every country in which he operates. He seeks political influence and strikes alliances, hedging his bets with both sides of the political fence. The police are implicated in the NOTW hacking scandal. Pollice lied to MPs. Police may have taken money from NOTW journalists. Police are the most likely source of the phone numbers of victims which were passed to journalists.
Murdoch did not want to confront the police or the establishment. His business and the influence it buys is worth much more.
2) Rebekah Brooks, the head of Murdoch's UK newspaper operation, would have been intimately involved in the phone hacking scandal. As Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian’s editor wrote, no editor would publish a story without asking where the evidence came from.
No editor or senior staff member would be unaware where their highly-paid reporters were – and what they were covering
Just as another Murdoch outfit, Sky News would have known exactly where their reporter James Furlong was, when he made a report in which he falsely claimed to be on a submarine firing missiles in the Gulf. Sky producers and news editors abandoned Furlong, claiming to have no knowledge of his whereabouts when he made his false report – blaming, just like the NOTW, “one bad apple”. Furlong later committed suicide.
3) The NOTW was not the only newspaper involved in hacking phones or employing private investigators. Steve Whittamore was one. “Newspapers who used Whittamore included the News of the World and many other titles. A report by the information commissioner said more than 50 Daily Mail journalists bought material from Whittamore on 952 occasions. Other customers included the Daily Mirror (681 transactions), News of the World (228), Sunday Times (4) and Observer (103). The Observer is owned by the Guardian's parent company Guardian Media Group.”
Source: The Guardian.
4) Politicians of both main parties are closely linked to senior NI staff like Rebekah Brooks and have hired individuals like former NOTW Andy Coulson who was briefly a Conservative Party adviser.
5) Newspaper editors now suggest that the press was scared of Murdoch and went silent for two years while the phone hacking scandal brewed. Except for the Guardian, which pursued the story, although it was the police, afraid of the mounting evidence of complicity with NOTW, who eventually forced NC to go public.
However the press may not have been scared of Murdoch, but rather of the revelations that almost all newspapers practice hacking. Standard practice spreads throughout an industry – the press is no different to banking.
6) Closing the NOTW is another act of Murdoch family vandalism. As the Independent’s founder Andreas Whittam Smith told Sky, the moral crisis is not in the 168 year-old newspaper but in its ownership. The newspaper has survived many different owners, though none like this.