The 168 year history of British Sunday newspaper “The News of the World” comes to and end with its last edition tomorrow. It will be a big souvenir tribute to a long history, with no adverts, and all procedes will go to charity. The front page headline is “Thank You and Goodbye”. And if you buy it, you are a Moron.
The front page headline should be: “WE’RE SORRY”, “WE WERE WRONG” and “WE APOLOGISE”. To Milly Dowler, to the families of 7/7 London bombs, to the families of fallen British soldiers, and all the other people that the News of the World have illegally and immorally phone hacked. These people will now never have a printed apology from the newspaper that has exploited and betrayed them.
The decisi0n to shut down the paper so suddenly is a calculated and cynical risk-management-damage-limitation business choice, nothing more. The News of the World was starting to face a serious backlash from the public, politicians and other media. We were outraged that a newspaper could hack the phone of a (at the time) missing teenager, interfere with a police investigation and possibly give her family false hope. Set in motion by revalations in the Guardian, the Twitter and Mumsnet outrage was joined by BBC headline news, Under increasing heavy online pressure News of The Worlds advertisers started backing out. A wall of shame was being prepared for next Monday to list the remaining advertisers. That has all now been cut off: close the paper, get rid of the problem and never have to say Sorry
Even I pesimistically predicted on twitter that any boycott of News of the World wouldnt last very long. Maybe a few weeks, just until the next juicy footballer sex scandal. Lay low for a while, have a couple of Cheryl Cole front pages, and readership would be back to normal I thought.
I dont think anyone expected this. Rupert Murdoch has sacrificed a national newspaper and 200 journalists to protect his wider business (and future SKY TV takeover deal?) and save and protect disgraced News International (and former news of the World and Sun editor, Rebekah Wade/Brooks) who was editor in charge at the time of the phone hacking.
Cynical and calculated, damage limitation – closing the News of the World looks like a victory for those planning a boycott, the battle against the News of the World has been won! But theres now nothing left to boycott tomorrow (SO? the NOTW has gone) – yes but theres nothing left to act as a focus of public anger and outrage. I predict the public anger will abate and Murdoch / News International can close ranks and defend its position and manage the scandals and battles to come.
Are there bigger and worse allegations/relevations to come? Most definately, there has to be, and Rebekah Brooks will be at the centre of it all. And now theres 200 hacked-off ex – News of the World staff with inside knowledge (with a 90 day gag clause in their contract?). There are bigger problems with News International, the relationship of the powerful media to politicians and the police. More questions to be asked:
What are the links between political parties and the media? Why/how did Coulson come to work for the Prime Minister? How much did Cameron know? What cover-ups have occurered in the past? Has there been incompetance or corruption in the Police? Was Tony Blair keen for Labour not to expose phone hacking? (and Why?) Who else has been hacked? Which other newspapers have done the same? Why are the Murdochs protecting Brooks? Will Murdoch’s Sky takeover deal go ahead?
I dont care if you agree or disagree with the above, if you’re politically left or right. But if you are thinking about buying a News of the World tomrrow as a souvenir, just think:
If I buy this, I am ok with a newspaper hacking a murdered teenage girls mobile phone, for a sake of a story?