Bronwen Maddox introduces the latest issue of Prospectby Bronwen Maddox / July 20, 2011 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2011 issue of Prospect Magazine
When Rupert Murdoch, asked to name his priority, answered “This one,” and put his arm protectively around Rebekah Brooks, he took defiance to the point of delusion. He and News Corporation executives took too long to understand the revulsion at the allegations of criminal phone hacking, the choice of targets, and the delayed revelations. They were slow to realise that parliament had declared war.
It is possible (see Richard Northedge’s article) that Murdoch will now jettison his other British titles and even his BSkyB stake. His priority (Brooks aside) was the bid for the rest of BSkyB. In withdrawing, he recognised that it would fail. Would his exit from Britain matter? National life has been corrupted by the mutual courtship of politicians and moguls, trading honours and commercial favours for editorial support. John Major was the only recent prime minister to refuse; as he has said drily, he paid a price. But media influence has waned in an age of internet and floating readers. Peter Kellner shows that the press has far less impact than MPs say. Their claim that only now are they free to speak out is absurd.