Media

Goodbye, Polythene Pam: News of the World Folds After 168 Years

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Milly Dowler

The News of the World hacking scandal has ended the celebrated British tabloid's more-than-150-year history. Deputy CEO James Murdoch informs staffers

You do not need to be told that The News of the World is 168 years old. That it is read by more people than any other English language newspaper. That it has enjoyed support from Britain's largest advertisers. And that it has a proud history of fighting crime, exposing wrong-doing and regularly setting the news agenda for the nation…

The good things the News of the World does, however, have been sullied by behaviour that was wrong. Indeed, if recent allegations are true, it was inhuman and has no place in our Company.

The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself.

In 2006, the police focused their investigations on two men. Both went to jail. But the News of the World and News International failed to get to the bottom of repeated wrongdoing that occurred without conscience or legitimate purpose.

Wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued.

As a result, the News of the World and News International wrongly maintained that these issues were confined to one reporter. We now have voluntarily given evidence to the police that I believe will prove that this was untrue and those who acted wrongly will have to face the consequences.

This was not the only fault.

The paper made statements to Parliament without being in the full possession of the facts. This was wrong.

And so on. Whether the damage from the phone hacking scandal could ever have been contained to a few employees was never clear, but NOTW's position became untenable after coverage in the Guardian revealed that the paper had deleted voice mails of the kidnapped and murdered teenager Milly Dowler in 2002. In addition to destroying evidence in a criminal investigation (and leading Dowler's family to believe she might still be alive), the move was just, as they say in the U.K., beastly. 

Dominatrix Rupert Murdoch wants you.

The closing of Rupert Murdoch's highest-circulation newspaper is at least an inconvenience for the media mogul who has been striking fear into right-thinking people for years. 

In a 2004 Reason cover story, however, Ben Compaine discussed the fragility of media dominance in an environment where public opinion gets more fragmented with each new broadband Internet subscription. He also noted that the News Corp. empire, with its close family involvement and Murdoch's strong personal vision, was a pretty unusual animal in contemporary media. 

"Though the company is publicly owned," Compaine wrote, "working control and ownership have been retained by its chairman, Rupert Murdoch, and his family. The company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into its groundbreaking efforts in creating the Fox Network, then a viable second all-news cable network, then creating direct broadcast satellite service covering parts of the Third World as well as developed countries that did not have the advantage of a multi-channel cable infrastructure. While in no way endorsing his apparent political ideology, one might even point to his bankrolling of the conservative Weekly Standard as another contribution Murdoch has made to the marketplace of ideas and cultural offerings."

Even before the NOTW debacle, however, Murdoch's vexed relationship to the free internet and the flop debut of his smartphone publication The Daily had made it clear how unstable even a 168-year-old media empire is. 

But Slate's Jack Shafer is the real Francis Parkman of Murdoch historians. In his reaction to today's news, he states that Murdoch is pulling the "reverse ferret" (it makes sense in context), and sacrificing the paper in order to scatter the incriminating paper trail.

In any event, the death of a newspaper is always cause for celebration. Though it may not have made too big a splash in the U.S.A., we do know that the kind of girl who makes the News of the World must be attractively built:

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  1. This bitch is captive to the Murdoch Machine of Christ-Fags who dominate the AM airwaves today.

    Christo-fascism is = to evan-jelli-cals + Moondog Bachmann + all the other FREAKS in the GOP.

      1. I can’t stand Herc’s experimental material. I wish he would go back to basics…I mean…a fucking sitar?!…REALLY!

        1. No new stuff!

    1. Shrike, why do you constantly use anti-gay slurs? I could just imagine if one of your political opponents constantly used a slur that is formed from the mispronunciation of an African river. Even if the name Christ were put in front of it. I can immagine how you – or any decent person would react.

      1. shriek is a sockpuppet, dude. It’s specifically doing that because the contradiction will confuse and annoy you and you will engage with it. Don’t.

      2. Isn’t it an internet meme kind of thing? Like, an extension of “moralfags” or “newfags” or whatever?

  2. So when is the New York Times going to shut down because it printed all those Judith Miller lies about WMD’s in Iraq? That is certainly worse then a few phone hacks.

  3. I have to confess to never looking up the lyric and thinking until now that it was “kind of a girl / that makes a musical whirl.”

    1. She’s the kind of a girl
      that makes good use of the pill…

  4. In any event, the death of a newspaper is always cause for celebration.

    But this was the only good one!

    Semicolons are filling my emoticon!

    1. Meh, their page three couldn’t compete.

  5. Seven shot dead here in my town
    http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news…..uly-7-2011

    1. Well that sucks. Condolences to their families and hope they find the guy and get him the help he needs.

    2. and now hostages…? GR is normally a pretty quiet city – except for the occasional drug crime.

    3. Bi-polar and off his meds, and armed. Not good.

    4. Yeah, weird and sad. As you note, GR doesn’t experience this kind of thing – that’s more a SE MI deal…

    1. One might say News of the World is Going Underground

  6. Now, to destroy 20th Century Fox before production of Avatar 2 begins!

  7. Why is the death of a newspaper “always cause for celebration”? The marketplace of ideas is a big place, but it’s never too big, is it? Surely libertarians would not limit the scope of a free press, or applaud the demise of one entity, simply because they prefer their news online? Why the hate? Is it purely ideological?

    1. Why did McElwain fuck up so badly in the 2nd half of the Iron Bowl last year?

      Fuck it. Some questions are better left unanswered.

    2. Yeah, I’m not getting that part, either.

      1. Maybe if you got a cushy 6 figure editorial board “job” at a major daily newspaper then bought an overpriced house at the top of the market in RealEstateBubbleCentral only to be kicked to the curb as the douchebags who elevated you to the highest pinnacle of newspaperdom pulled the rug out from under your dream just as the real estate market collapses forcing you to go begging to get some diminished version of your former job at a rightwing magazine/website where you are best remembered for tossing off a post-employment endorsement for Barack Obama in 2008 cause he’s a Negro and that would be cool man why you would hate newspapers too!

        I celebrate the creative destruction death of newspapers because most took their readers for granted (if not holding them in contempt) and responded to declining circulation by doubling down on the suckitude, slashing content and raising the price.

        1. But enough about David Weigel.

        2. So, because you don’t like their product, you want them to be destroyed. That’s not childish at all.

          1. In my experience, that’s actually pretty grown up.

            Not saying that’s GOOD, just that grown ups seem to exhibit it an awful lot.

    3. I think it’s the creative destruction.

      When a failing business goes under, resources are freed up to be used towards profitable ends.

      1. Zero-sum game?

        1. No. Only a portion of the resources are recoverable, and moreover there are sources of capital other than the destruction of waste businesses.

          It’s just recycling. You like recycling, don’t you?

      2. NotW was one of, if not the, most profitable News Corp tabloid in the UK.

    4. Why is the death of a newspaper “always cause for celebration”?

      Because they are an anachronism run by pretension pricks that never miss a chance to suck the cocks of the local political hacks in exchange for bullshit access.

      1. Because they are an anachronism
        So?
        run by pretension pricks
        Dreadful! I’m glad blogs don’t have those.
        never miss a chance to suck the cocks of the local political hacks
        That’s an awfully wide brush you’re painting with.
        bullshit access
        I think it’s called “reporting.”

  8. “The closing of Rupert Murdoch’s highest-circulation newspaper is at least an inconvenience for the media mogul who has been striking fear into right-thinking people for years.”

    I wrote something like this elsewhere today, but once again, the thing to take away from his isn’t that corporations (like governments) don’t make mistakes…

    The thing to take away is that corporations take responsibility for their massive mistakes much more so than government agencies–because corporations are more responsive to their customers, more so than governments ever will be.

    Deleting messages in an ongoing investigation was bad–but a Defense Department intelligence agency misleading the American people into thinking Saddam Hussein was both funding Al Qaeda and had a WMD program? That’s bad too!

    There’s no question that hacking people’s phones for news is bad–but then so was the Army Corps of Engineers’ and FEMA’s incompetence that led to the travesty in the wake of Katrina.

    Giving the parents of a murder victim that kind of false hope was bad–but so was the INS approving visas for the 9/11 hijackers–months and months after 9/11.

    The big difference? Is that corporations are more responsive to their customers–more so than government has ever been to voters.

    Can you imagine the people who run the INS abolishing themselves after their total complete failure? What about the Army Corps or FEMA?

    Not even democratic governments are anywhere near as responsive to voters as corporations are to their customers. That’s why we should trust entrepreneurs like Rupert Murdoch more than the FCC. …the FCC (and agencies like it all over the world) are nowhere near as responsive to what people want–not compared to corporations like News Corp.

    News Corp will write off one its key contributors completely if that’s what its customers want. It almost takes a revolution to get a democratic government to go 1/10 that far–and still it’s all kicking and screaming the whole way.

    1. YOU LIE!

  9. NotW is Murdoch’s Sunday tabloid paper. The Sun is his Monday to Saturday tabloid paper. I suspect that it will relaunch as The Sun on Sunday.

    1. According to whois, News Corp purchased thesunonsunday.com on July 5, 2011. I doubt that is a coincidence.

  10. Well, as reprehensible as this shit is, I don’t remember the president shutting down the ATF on hearing about the Gunwalker scandal, so it’s still right-wing private sector 1, left-wing public sector 0.

    1. What makes you think Gunwalker was anything other than what the administration desired?

      1. What makes you think Murdoch didn’t approve of hacking people’s phones, so long as his paper didn’t get caught?

    2. What makes you think Gunwalker was anything other than what the administration desired?

    3. hate to pop your bubble, but the reason Murdoch is shutting that newspaper down is so that British regulators will be more inclined to let News Corp take over a British satellite broadcaster.

  11. “In any event, the death of a newspaper is always cause for celebration.”

    For you, yes, Tim. Because newspapers have, for 250 years, been outshining and out-reporting tin-headed pricks like you, and your vacuous cousins in radio and television, who lazily rejigger the work of real journalists and pass it off as your own work. You are nothing more than another half-talented fuck working for the foundation-sponsored commentariat. I wipe my ass with you when it comes to real journalism (www.missoulian.com).
    Now get back to your petulant drive-by flaming and smug comments as you post yet another link from the work of a real newsman.
    Fucktard.

    1. Any implication that the morons at newspapers are any better or smarter than the morons on TV or radio is fucking laughable. Journalists, by and large, are uneducated morons. J-School: it ain’t engineering.

      1. Agree, in part. I have railed against newspaper reporters’ sense of grandeur (“Democracy can’t survive without newspapers,” or “We’re writing the first draft of history” — that kind of shit), but I will say this: More than any other souls in the profession, many newspaper reporters can WRITE. … I pride myself on mathematical accuracy (which journalists in general have a BIG FUCKING PROBLEM WITH), and the ability to tell stories with both context and human drama. And I’m fucking smart. So there, Epi, you little biz-nitch.

        1. So you know his nickname, cursed like a sailor as an editor of a big paper, gave a fake email address referencing a Chicago punk band (who I love — oh, you never know how badly you’ll fuck up, do you), and you’re really Jamie Kelly??

          1. It’s my real email address, Cock Fraction.
            88Fingers is a reference to the number of keys on a piano, and the fact that I am a jazz pianist.
            Whatya, fuckin’ STUPID?

            1. Wow, you ARE a good writer!

            2. Kamie Jelly? Kymie Jaily? 88lingersphloeey?

              Look, we get trolls all night. That was my response. Don’t drink yourself to death, you dumb fuck. Livers come once in a lifetime, and the 3-D printers might not save your ass. Best, dude.

        2. Maybe they can write because that’s their job? TV and radio’s job is to read. And though Tim has an…unorthodox writing style, it’s still good; and Welch and Gillespe have really good writing styles.

          You on the sauce again or what?

          1. *laughs*

            Sorry, man. This guy’s real?

            1. Yeah, the socks seem to be out in force lately.

              1. Oh yeah, baby! I love yr twitter feed! Fucking. keyboard. love.

              2. Jamie was a real and frequent commenter some years back.

                1. I gathered that. Thanks for the response.

                  Godspeed to you, Jamie.

          2. Second time in rehab didn’t take, either. Now, I’m going to Kenya to serve the poor for a while. And looking for some meaning. I’ve been drunk for 20 years.
            Still, I can write. 🙂

        3. Sandy vagina?

        4. Spoiler alert: you’re a douche.

        5. More than any other souls in the profession, many newspaper reporters can WRITE

          …What the fuck have *you* been reading?

          You need to get out more buddy.

        6. I pride myself on mathematical accuracy (which journalists in general have a BIG FUCKING PROBLEM WITH), and the ability to tell stories with both context and human drama.

          Such a good writer and such mathematical accuracy that you’re referencing television and radio in the 18th Century.

    2. You realize we’re talking about a British tabloid, right?

    3. For you, yes, Tim. Because newspapers have, for 250 years, been outshining and out-reporting tin-headed pricks like you, and your vacuous cousins in radio and television

      Dude, every journolist worth a shit knows that Abraham Lincoln invented TV and radio right before he led the charge up San Juan hill, meaning that they are only 120 years old.

    4. Jamie, this is the first thing you have written I’ve enjoyed

    5. Buggy Whip Maker Lashes Out Against Rise Of Horseless Carriage

    6. Also, whats this about 250yr-old blogs and TV news?

      Montaigne was a blogger I guess.

    7. Because newspapers have, for 250 years, been outshining and out-reporting tin-headed pricks like you, and your vacuous cousins in radio and television…

      Yep, that television and radio coverage of the Revolutionary War was just nothing, nothing I tell you, compared to what the AP was putting out.

  12. STIGLITZ ALERT AT SLATE: http://www.slate.com/id/2298580/

    END ALERT

    1. “The world could be headed for another economic disaster if we continue to listen to free-market ideologues.”

      *facepalm*

  13. For instance (*chest thumping included), compare this story I wrote today compared to what the hair-sprayed twat on your local TV station would have reported:
    http://missoulian.com/news/loc…..03286.html

    1. Are you rectal’s brother or something?

  14. Yeah, but that’s pretty standard. West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943, 319 U.S. 624) ruled that individuals did not have to recite the pledge.

    [E]specially since the words “under God” were added in 1948.
    That would seem to be an incorrect assertion, especially considering the precedent hasn’t moved since 1943.

    If there are decisions in the appeals courts that contrast with that, you should have cited them and explained them. I’d also like to know what happened to the six dissenters in those states that you mentioned that punished individuals for not standing for the pledge. And the teacher issue wasn’t clearly delineated enough.

    Smiles and love,

    Rock Action

  15. So, when do they make Citizen Kane II, based on Murdoch?

    And, please god, let that just be the pitch meeting/working title.

    1. Yep, the Koch operative that wrote that letter fucked up on the use of “chagrin”.

  16. You do not need to be told that The News of the World is 168 years old.

    I see what you did there.

  17. In any event, the death of a newspaper is always cause for celebration.
    Jamie has a, er, unique way of expressing it, but I agree with him on this: you’ll miss us when we’re gone.

  18. ” He also noted that the News Corp. empire, with its close family involvement and Murdoch’s strong personal vision, was a pretty unusual animal in contemporary media.”

    Kind of like the Koch brothers. They’re pretty unusual animals too.

  19. Second side of Abbey Road . . . musical genius.

    1. We’re not allowed to like The Beatles.

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