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Goodbye Rebekah.

July 8, 2011

Rebekah Brooks’ position is untenable.

Nobody who has worked in the media can be persuaded that as editor of News of the World she had no idea what private detective Glenn Mulcaire was being paid £100,000 to do for the paper, especially as she admits she knew about the paper’s bribes to police. After all, she must have approved this fat consultancy fee. That’s what editors do – manage newspaper budgets. Of course she would have asked what Mulcaire was doing. Even if she had not, it’s simply unbelievable that no journalist told her where the salacious exclusives were coming from. This is not how a news room works.

And here’s her problem. There will now be a judicial inquiry into the matter and she won’t be able to maintain before a judge that she knew nothing. Lying to a judicial inquiry is beyond the pale. She will be thrown in gaol if she ventures in into that territory.

Its also tempting fate to believe that none of the journalists who gossiped with colleagues and lunched and drank with their fellow reporters will, once subpoenaed, admit the truth and say their editor was aware all along. Lie, to maintain the fiction ? At risk of being jailed themselves? You’re kidding.

The decision on BSkyB is now delayed. In the next three months we will see more toxic revelations about the illegal hacking. The police will begin to accumulate evidence and make arrests. Meanwhile a judge will set up his office and launch his own inquiries. All this before the approval for the 18 million pound transaction can be given.

David Cameron has no chance of polishing his goody-two shoes image if – in this very polluted atmosphere – he tries to let the approval slip through. Everyone knows he and his wife are part of the Chipping Norton set and close friends of Brooks and her husband. An approval of this deal when he is compromised by friendships will be politically
destructive.

For Brooks there is only the Watergate question: what did you know and when did you know it?

6 Comments
  1. July 8, 2011 2:58 pm

    There are also questions to be asked about the appropriateness of Sky News Australia, and ultimately News Corp, being the face of the Australia Network throughout Asia. It will be interesting indeed to see if this unethical, even illegal, practice was quarantined in the UK or whether the tentacles spread wider. Surely the possibility of where this all might lead should provide the government with pause before awarding the tender.

  2. July 8, 2011 3:40 pm

    And who else knew about it? Follow the money trail. Will there be an impeachment?

  3. johnband permalink
    July 8, 2011 6:23 pm

    There are some serious questions hanging over her direct superior for the last four years (ie after her involvement in the hacking, but while she was heavily involved in the dishonest cover-up) – a certain James Murdoch.

  4. Scott permalink
    July 10, 2011 7:36 am

    Hm. She knows where all the bodies are buried, and I bet she’s told James that if she goes down, she’s not going down alone.

    Knowlege is power, I’m told.

  5. Jim Rose permalink
    July 10, 2011 5:10 pm

    a CEO is reponsible for setting a tone for the organisation.

    Obeying the law is part of that tone. a director’s duty?

    there will be individuals in large organisations that break the rules.

    the question for the CEO is what audit and control procedures did she have in place to detect and punish misconduct, and, if required, report their crimes to the police?

    for example, there will always be dirty cops.

    the question for the commissioner is what did he do to catch them and deter others?

  6. Nick permalink
    July 10, 2011 8:29 pm

    Wonderful piece as always Premier Emeritus. The Chipping Norton set, however, sounds more like the sub-faction of the NSW Right. These guys definitely prefer Notting Hill (who wouldn’t?)

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