Rupert Murdoch stood proudly as his new publication, the Sun on Sunday, rolled off the press for the first time on Sunday. Seemingly, he has long forgotten the pain and heartache his staff caused those who found themselves embroiled in the infamous phone hacking scandal. And the continuing legal wranglings seem nothing more than a minor irritation.
Say what you will about the man and his business practices, but you can’t deny he’s got chutzpah. As the family of Milly Downer, the murdered schoolgirl whose mobile message bank was hacked and messages deleted, giving her parents hope she was still alive, were dealing the with possibility of an appeal by her murderer, Mr Murdoch was working to rebuild his tarnished empire. Surrey police have, only in the last few weeks, released a report which confirms that the journalists from the News of the World who hacked Milly’s phone told a string of lies which interfered with investigations into the girl’s murder. Does this man have no shame or integrity? Shouldn’t he just forego the issue of a Sunday tabloid in the interests of decency?
News International has paid out millions of pounds in out-of-court settlements in almost 60 cases and these are the ones we know about. This does not include those unaware of any wrongdoings, just because their private information didn’t make the headlines. The matter isn’t done and dusted yet. The Leveson Inquiry, chaired by Lord Justice Leveson, is ongoing and is questioning newspaper staff, police, politicians and those at the centre of the phone hacking scandal. The inquiry will provide recommendations on the future of press regulation and governance consistent with maintaining freedom of the press and ensuring the highest ethical and professional standards. But it seems as though Mr Murdoch will walk away, none the worse for the experience.
Should Rupert Murdoch continue publishing newspapers, or should he bow out of the business gracefully? Has irreparable damage been done to the News International reputation or will people simply forget and move on?