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Murdoch’s News of the World Rag to Close After Phone Hacking Scandal

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By HVmedia on July 7, 2011

That didn’t take long did it? James Murdoch, the chairman of News International, has said in a statement that Sunday’s issue of the News of the World is to be the last one.

There’s no indication that actor Hugh Grant had anything to do with News International’s decision after he piled on with claims of exposing the phone-hacking allegations this morning on the BBC. But when Hugh Grant comes knocking on your door, you best be prepared to pay the man.

Still, the scandal, which seemed to get worse and worse by the day, began with the simple allegation that the British tabloid hacked the mobile phone of a deceased teenager. Then, it was revealed they hacked phones belonging to returning veterans, politicians and families of the 7/7 terrorist attacks, they paid off police officers for scoops, and other ethically questionable tactics.

The scandal then got worse as then Deputy Editor Andy Coulson was arrested Friday by Metropolitan Police on allegations of corruption and phone hacking. Not only that, but so did royal reporter and correspondent Clive Goodman. Though Goodman was arrested for allegedly providing payments and bribes to members of the Metropolitan Police.

How long before things blow back onto editor Rebekah Brooks or worse, one of the Murdochs?

The Guardian has been absolutely killing it (ethically so) with their unfolding coverage. If you really want all the minute ins-and-outs, the reactions from staff reports and so forth, make sure to check out its coverage.

Here’s where things stand at the moment. This Sunday, News of the World, a 168-year-old media institution and one of the most widely read papers in the English-speaking world, will publish its final edition.

The paper’s end comes so quickly, so abruptly, it is a bit shocking. Here is part of what James Murdoch said in his statement:

Having consulted senior colleagues, I have decided that we must take further decisive action with respect to the paper.

This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World.

Colin Myler will edit the final edition of the paper.

In addition, I have decided that all of the News of the World’s revenue this weekend will go to good causes.

While we may never be able to make up for distress that has been caused, the right thing to do is for every penny of the circulation revenue we receive this weekend to go to organisations – many of whom are long-term friends and partners – that improve life in Britain and are devoted to treating others with dignity.

We will run no commercial advertisements this weekend. Any advertising space in this last edition will be donated to causes and charities that wish to expose their good works to our millions of readers.

These are strong measures. They are made humbly and out of respect. I am convinced they are the right thing to do.

Usually in these instances, the decision is to fire the people responsible, or fire those who have the appearance of being responsible. In this case, that would be News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and News of the World top editor Andy Coulson.

Authorities are also calling upon an investigation into the members of the police who accepted the payments. So, why this scandal is tarnishing the reputations of journalist and more specifically Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, it could very soon dovetail into a police corruption scandal as well.

But you have to wonder why News International has made the decision to fire the entire publication? Did they look at the advertising losses and think the paper wouldn’t even be able to survive through the summer and early fall?

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