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If the current crisis destroys News Corp, will the world be poorer for its passing

The sacrifice of Rebekah Brooks may be enough to satisfy the British Public that the bad blood has left News Corp - or not


Published: 15 July, 2011

READ MORE: UK | BSkyB | News Corp

Has News Corp really been shaken to the core?. Perhaps not quite yet. Perhaps all the coverage is about battening down the hatches and waiting out the storm, but there may be more to come. People in the UK are used to being told what to think (and how to vote) by Murdoch's newspapers but now his rivals are trying to grab the agenda and tell us what we should have known all along, that a newspaper empire which makes its money out of cynically manipulating the common man's prejudices, is just that - cynical, manipulating and prejudiced.

Does this mean that people will stop buying the Sun, the UK's most popular daily, or the Times, the thinking man's version of the Sun, or stop subscribing to satellite TV service BSkyB - they are all owned or controlled by News Corp. But hold on there is a difference between the two. BSkyB is 60.9% owned by UK public investors and yet it is managed by News Corp, who only holds 39%. Now that News Corp has withdrawn its £7.8 billion ($12.4 billion) bid to buy the remaining shares in BSkyB shouldn't the shareholders prepare a resolution that News Corp should no longer be able to suggest the next CEO, making Murdoch a more passive investor? Or perhaps go further and ensure it is not a relative or previous employee of News Corp.

The sacrifice of Rebekah Brooks, one-time editor of News of the World and until today the CEO of News International, the News Corp subsidiary which runs its UK newspapers, who resigned this week, is maybe enough to satisfy everyone that the "bad blood" has left the company, that no-one above Brooks knew a thing about breaking the law. In fact she still denies wrongdoing and in her parting message to employees talked about the freedom of the press, but never mentioned the sanctity of individual freedoms.

But now FBI in the US is thought to be investigating if News Corp journalists tried to hack into the voicemails of victims of the 9/11 disaster, and if they find any such evidence it will prove that the practice was rife and sanctioned on both sides of the Atlantic. With the passion that the US feels about that particular disaster News Corp shares would be worthless in the US overnight and Murdoch would likely be hounded from his adopted US and News Corp itself could be swept into the dustbin of history as thoroughly as the name of Arthur Andersen disappeared after the Enron scandal. And would the world be any poorer for its passing?

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