Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger: How We Broke the Murdoch Scandal

Here is an excerpt from Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger Newsweek article: How We Broke the Murdoch Scandal – Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger on his dogged reporter, a U.S. ally—and a gamble that finally paid off,

The tipping point came some time around the new year. The stream of civil legal actions became a torrent. The police became seriously engaged at last, appointing a new 45-strong team to do what had so glaringly not been done back in 2006. It has so far said that it has informed 170 out of nearly 4,000 targets. The regulator ripped up its old report as worthless. And then came the revelation by Nick Davies that NoTW had hacked into the phone calls of the missing teenager Milly Dowler, deleting her voice messages so that it could listen to new ones. That single action—which had given Milly’s parents hope during the dark days before it was confirmed that she had been murdered—caused a surge of revulsion from which NotW found it hard to recover.

Rarely has a single story had such a volcanic effect. Suddenly you couldn’t keep the politicians, journalists, police officers, and regulators off the TV screens. Police officers lined up to apologize for oversights and errors of judgment. M.P.s were suddenly saying very publicly things that, a fortnight earlier, they would only have whispered.

Someone christened it the “Murdoch Spring.” There was a widespread acknowledgment that, for a generation or more, British public life had molded itself to accommodate the Murdochs. As the company grew larger, more successful (40 percent of the national press and a broadcaster with twice the income of the BBC), and more aggressive—and with, as we now know, a small team of criminal investigators employed to work over anyone in public life—it became an accepted belief that these were bad people to upset. You needed Murdoch to get elected in Britain—or so most politicians believed. And—always unspoken—Murdoch needed certain things, too. It wasn’t necessarily corrupt. But it was certainly corrupting. And now—with one story and one unanimous vote in the House of Commons—that spell has been broken.

I put this up to remind myself what a good reporter/editor should do.


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