For those looking for a little uplift among the Rupert wreckage, Tina Brown’s Newsweek has given Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger a forum to explain “How We Broke the Murdoch Scandal“:
Every so often—perhaps once every 18 months—the veteran Guardian writer Nick Davies comes into my office, shuts the door with a conspiratorial backward glance, and proceeds to tell me something hair-raising.
In June last year he wanted to inform me about Julian Assange. He’d read that the (then little-known) snowy-haired hacker was on the run with a data stick full of millions of secret documents that the U.S. Defense and State departments had carelessly hemorrhaged. His plan was to track him down … and then The Guardian would publish them all. Good idea?
Early in 2009 there had been a similar moment. He’d discovered that James Murdoch, the son and heir of the most powerful private news-media company on earth, had done a secret deal to pay more than $1 million to cover up evidence of criminal behavior within the company. Interested?
The answer to both questions was—of course. Followed by a small inner gulp at the sheer scale and implications of the stories. Followed by the sight of Nick, invariably dressed in jeans and a defiantly unfashionable brown leather jacket, disappearing back out through the door in search of trouble…
Ripping yarns! It seems somehow appropriate that the number-one story on the adjacent Popular-on-Newsweek sidebar should be “The Science of Triumph”.
Ms. Brown further provides, for her American readers, a precis of the career of “Rupert’s Red Menace” Rebekah Brooks, a cheatsheet of sad salacious detail in the guise of rhetorical righteousness from “a member of the UN’s Internal Justice Council“, and a pious invocation of the priceless value of a free press in our capitalist global economy from the half of the Watergate reporting duo never known to have been on the CIA’s payroll.
I still insist Tina Brown’s defection from the pro-Rupert ranks is as good an indicator of his immanent demise as the steady decline of Murdoch’s company shares on Wall Street. Brown made her media bones as a courtier in the very British nobs-and-snobs strongholds where Brooks could instruct the Prime Minister on his choice of media liaisons over tea after following a fox hunt together. We Americans joke about the deadly social/political instincts of the HuffPo proprietress, but Tina made Ariana look like a grubby little Greek climber forced to decamp for the colonies after coming a distant second to Lady Evans, CBE.