07 July 2011

NOTW demise changes nothing

Now that my two nanoseconds of euphoria over the NOTW's demise has passed over, I can't help but view James Murdoch's action with more than a dash of cynicism.

I would agree that, commercially, the closure makes sense - the paper was haemhorraging advertising revenue and a large scale boycott was inevitable. Given the nature of recent revelations there was probably little that News International could do to reclaim whatever little reputation the rag ever had. I do feel for those who will lose their jobs as a result of the criminal actions of others.

It is a drastic move by any standards, but it is unlikely that closure was due to any noble intent. I doubt that James Murdoch had any real concern for the hurt done to  the families of Millie Dowler, Jessica Chapman, Holly Wells, the 7/7 victims and the servicemen killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The only victim that a Murdoch cares for, I am sure, is a Murdoch. The NOTW allegations have damaged their company's reputation especially here in the UK.  Murdoch in all probability shut the paper in an attempt to safeguard its takeover of the satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

It is unlikely that other papers will be allowed to capitalise on the NOTW's absence. A new Sunday publication, (perhaps or perhaps not a Sunday edition of the Sun) will replace it within a few weeksy.A "clean slate" and lots of tits and celebrity shagging (but no hacking, honest guv) and Newscorp will be raking in the Sunday money again.

The NOTW's closure must not derail any investigations into its past actions. The public inquiry must go ahead straight away. Its terms should be extended to determine whether other papers have committed similar acts.

We need to know the following:

  • the FULL extent of the NOTW's phone hacking activities
  • the journalists directly responsible for commissioning these acts.

  • The full extent of complicity of management, right up to the top echelons of Newscorp
  • Full details of illegal payments to police officers
It is not just the NOTW, it is important that the Metropolitan Police's previous handling of investigations are scrutinised Were they compromised by illegal payments? In addition the role of politicians needs to be looked at.

News International must also suspend its Chief Executive forthwith. Rebekah Brooks was NOTW editor at the time of some of the worst transgressions. No proper   internal investigation can take place while she has access to company records. If she was complicit in any way then she must be dismissed and, if sufficient evidence is available, stand trial.

The Press Complaints Commission must be abolished. It is clearly not fit for purpose.

The Newscorp takeover of BSyB must be stopped. The company is currently not fit to extend its media influence. It would be desirable if Newscorp was forced to offload its press holdings in the UK. That said would new owners be much better (Thinks of Maxwell and Black)

I could go on.It is good and not good news that the NOTW is no more but thee are essential lessons that need to be learned. Do not let the Murdochs derail things.


Francis Sedgemore said...

Closing the NOTW makes no commercial sense whatsoever. In this case politics factors more highly than money in Murdoch's cost-benefit analysis. Rebekah Brooks is worth more to News Corp than any number of expendable hacks in Wapping, or the hurt feelings of those directly affected by the phone hacking scandal. Multinational media corporations are fundamentally amoral entities.

Never underestimate the political power of the Chipping Norton set. Brooks, Coulson and others of that clique are synonymous with New Conservatism, and BSkyB is but one political factor among many.

jams o donnell said...

It does beg one big question. Why the hell is Brooks so valuable?

jams o donnell said...

That said it looks like Coulson is set to be arrested. It looks as if he is the most dispensable of the set

Francis Sedgemore said...

Brooks is valuable as she is the conduit between NewsCorp and the PM. And NewsCorp has a pretty secure lease on the PM.

If Coulson has his collar felt, it will be because Metropolitan Police chiefs calculate that going on the offensive is better than being torn apart as a result of the alleged police corruption in this case. That said, an arrest will not necessarily lead to a prosecution; the act in itself has political value.

There are a number of competing interest groups here with a lot to lose should things go seriously pear-shaped, and they will look after their own. It is all horribly rational.

Gledwood said...

It's just changing it's name to The Sunday Sun, innit.

Or maybe The Sun on Sunday...

If the Sun's nose isn't clean and the Mirror's isn't either then the tabloid press in this country is fucked.

One of the few things that made me truly proud to be British ~ GONE!!

Gledwood said...

ps I don't see why Brooks should resign. She WAS editor, now she's an exec. Different job. So what?

Silent Hunter said...

Hopefully we can get other newspapers that don't really on sex and scandal just to sell papers.

Colin Campbell said...

Great analysis and I agree with what you say. The News of the World was never big in Scotland and I have never read it.

Francis Hunt said...

Great post, jams/Shaun!

Of course, the proper result of all of this would be a world-wide judgement that the Murdochs and their empire are unfit to exert power in the public domain.

It won't happen.

Would the world be so much poorer without most of the tabloid press?

Liz said...

The closure is good news but what is really depressing is that, for so long, it has been the paper of choice of so many people.

jams o donnell said...

Thanks for all the coments

There are quite a few competing strands in this case. As things get even hotter then I wonder what will be revealed. That spiv Coulson can't be a happy man and must know where at least some of the bodies are buried.

Brooks must be worth more to the Murdochs than just her lead into Cameron. In the current climate it will be a toxic link for Cameron so he will move heaven and earth to distance himself. Brooks in that sense could be worthless in no time

If things get worse I wonder what mudslinging will ensure. If I were Coulson I would drench as many of his erstwhile colleagues with as much shit as he has on them.

If he is going to take a deserved fall as it looks like he is set to do then he is going to be well worth listening to!

If I were Brooks I would think seriously about making sure that all the shit she has is ready for disclosure once the scales foall from Murdoch eyes.

I wonder if Murdoch will now get rid of his whole newspaper stable. If there is a reader backlash combined with another advertiser exit (see Renault) then he may cut his losses and concentrate on ruling China instead.