This is a story of three octogenarians. It is 60 years since the death, aged 88, of (William) Randolph Hearst, now the world's second most famous newspaperman. The fearsome publisher-cum-politician, who is debited with creating "yellow journalism", was lampooned in Orson Welles' 1941 movie, Citizen Kane.
Last July Rebekah Brooks told her assembled staff that "worse revelations are yet to come and you will understand in a year why we closed News Of The World". We haven't had to wait a year and the evidence from the Surrey Police published today by our House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee lays bare the scandal of phone hacking at the paper during the Milly Dowler case.
How different the world looked for the Murdochs last Christmas. The BSkyB decision had just been withdrawn from Vince Cable. It now looked as though their bid would go through on the nod. Once approved this would allow the Murdoch dynasty to straddle Britain's media like a gloating colossus, dwarfing the BBC and all other commercial competitors. Politically they would be untouchable.