So here’s me, vaingloriously quoting myself. But worth pointing out how IA is one of the remaining truly independent news organisations in Australia, which has an issue of press concentration that makes the immense power of News International (now News UK) look paltry. Compared to the 40% or so ownership of Fleet St, Murdoch’s News Ltd owns 70% of the Australian Press..
So read the rest on Independent Australia. I repeat some things I’ve already said here. But the focus on the News of the World as a global leader is important.
The News of the World was rapidly closed down in a (fruitless) attempt to prevent the phone hacking scandal marring the biggest media deal in European history — News Corp’s buy of the remaining 61 per cent of Britain’s most lucrative TV channel, BSkyB. In hindsight, that attempt to firewall the deal is mirrored in the move, completed in June this year, to sever the ailing News Corp publishing assets from 21st Century Fox — its lucrative cinema and pay-TV assets. But it’s easy to forget what an important part News of the World played in the history of British culture, let alone in Rupert Murdoch’s rise to becoming probably the most powerful media magnate on earth, controlling the world’s second biggest media company through the clever use of preferential voting shares and a family trust.
Apart from being one of the oldest newspapers and the biggest English-language selling newspaper, the News of the World was Murdoch’s first big acquisition outside Australia in 1969. Along with the reinvented Sun a few years later and the then acquisition of The Times and Sunday Times in 1981, the Sunday tabloid became both his bridgehead in the UK, and then a launch pad into the United States, providing hundreds of millions of dollars in profits in the eighties and allowing the purchases which led to the development of lucrative Fox Network.
By all accounts, Murdoch had a soft spot for the paper which had launched his global empire, and kept in touch with editors on a weekly basis. But from the prosecution opening, which revealed that three successive news editors (Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup) had pleaded guilty to phone hacking, the trial has revealed how the tabloid market leader had developed a cut throat culture which rapidly spread over into criminality.
So here are three key things that – without prejudicing the case of the eight defendants who all deny the charges against them – the trial has revealed so far.