Archie Bland, foreign editor of The Independent, and author of an excellent and prescient piece for CJR on the News of The World phone-hacking scandal, appeared on MSNBC last night to talk about the latest developments in the scandal.
As Bland wrote for CJR’s May/June issue, “one person with knowledge of the discussions inside News International” told him that there was a likely reason that Rebekah Brooks, editor of the News at the time its reporters hacked the voicemail of 11-year-old murder victim Milly
Dowd Dowler, refused to make a full apology for any lawless or unethical behavior at the paper:
“The key problem is that it’s got to come from Rebekah,” the person said… “Anything she does that admits guilt on behalf of the company, it brings the tidal wave closer to her door.” … Police are said to be questioning her; if that tidal wave hasn’t quite swept into Brooks’s office yet, the surge is at the very least seeping under the door.
And indeed, The New York Times reports this morning that there is a growing consensus within Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation that Brooks will be forced out of her current job running the company’s UK print properties. Man the lifeboats.
In addition to explaining the key players and providing a handy recap of the story, Bland’s piece explored why the often-venomous UK press had treated the scandal with such kid gloves. For more on that (and it ain’t pretty), check out this dispiriting essay by Peter Oborne, one of England’s most respected conservative columnists. A sample:
This should have been one of the great stories of all time. It has almost everything—royalty, police corruption, Downing Street complicity, celebrities by the cartload, Fleet Street at its most evil and disgusting….
By minimising these stories, media groups are coming dangerously close to making a very significant statement: they are essentially part of the same bent system as News International and complicit in its criminality.
Correction: This piece originally identified Milly Dowler as Milly Dowd. CJR regrets the error.