I shall presume that only those whove recently returned from Mars can ignore the whole saga of the current phone hacking affair. Over the week the papers own propaganda machine has turned in on itself. For example the paper had made a name for itself, like most tabloids, by flying the flag (a paper run and owned by Yanks and ex-convicts, i.e. Aussies), trying to be patriotic and supporting the troops…until it turned out theyd be hacking those very dead heroes phones! All the human tragedy stories they loved to run backfired when it turned out theyd been adding to the tragedy by hacking the phones of those involved and leaking private info to the public. It has now brought down a 160 year old newspaper and put in jeopardy the BSB takeover. Now lets be clear, we aint loosing much. One thing that always got me about the news of the world is that a) it didnt contain any actual news and b) it hardly ever mentioned the world, as the top story was usually about rumours that some WAG had a new boob job, or the usual little red ridding hood stories.
However, call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think theres something bigger going on here. Why is Rebekah “sideshow” Brooks still in her job? She claims to have handed in her resignation to the Murdochs but it was rejected. This does not make any sense. “sideshow” Brooks was boss of the paper during the time we know this phone hacking was going on. This means one of two things, either she knew about it (in which case she should be in custody) or she was not in effective control of the company. I mean shed walk in to work past desks while the hacks were listening away to the voice mail of 4,000 peoples phones and fail to notice anything amiss! I have this impression of “sideshow” Brooks spending her entire time in charge in the executive wash room with her fingers in her ears going NA NA NA NA NA cant hear you!. In either case and in any other situation involving a scandal like this hitting a company (never mind a newspaper), it would have been a case of her being given a simple choice of resign or be sacked. And this would have happened months ago. Why has this not happened?
One obvious conclusion is that “sideshow” Brooks not been sacked because she knows something, and for the Murdochs to be prepared to sacrifice a 160 year old paper with a readership of 2.8 million, then whatever it is that she knows it must be something big, something that could get one of Murdochs spawn banged up or even bring down the whole News International empire. We could speculate on what this is until the cows come home, it could be that the Murdochs knew about the phone hacking or even ordered it, some skeleton in old Ruperts closet (love child, involvement in some naughty illegal business deal, being the guy on the grassy knoll), I mean we could speculate all day and personally Ill leave that up to the conspiracy theorists whom Im sure are having a field day right now. The fact is that if hes prepared to write off an entire newspaper to save one womans career and put in jeopardy the BSB deal, he has to have some genuine reason to save her least she get herself arrested and turn canary on him.
Now, you might say that his reasons are out of loyalty to a loyal employee…this the same Rupert Murdoch were talking about! He wouldnt have made it past the post of mop boy without learning the golden rule of the corporate executive, develop survival instincts that would give a rat pause for thought and make Machiavellis the prince look like Gandhi. And those instincts would have meant using Mrs Brooks as a meat shield the instant things looked dodgy. So the very fact he is prepared to shut down newspapers to save this situation means we are probably merely seeing the tip of an iceberg emerging. Watch this space.
As for the News of the World, I suspect well have the Sunday Sun out by next week.