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24 Hours is a Long Time in News Corp

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In 1964 Harold Wilson said "a week is a long time in politics". The current phone hacking scandal has made it clear that for some 24 hours is just as long. In the last 24 hours we have seen the, quite rightly, highly regarded Les Hinton resign. As one of Rupert Murdochs key allies he comes as a significant loss to the organisation.

One of those lessons that we seem to be continually learning these days is that in the era of Twitter and the internet, a day is now a long time in politics and no one ever knows what is around the corner. That has been proved especially true in the case of the demise of the News of the World and the phone hacking story, which blew up in such spectacular style last week.

Like most other people I was sickened to think of anyone hacking into the voicemails of murder victims or those who died in terrorist attacks - or, indeed, anyone. Why would anyone do it? Is it because there is clearly an appetite for such "news", or because as far as these investigators and journalists were concerned everyone is "fair game". Tony Blair for example has recently claimed that an inquiry into press influence is long overdue.

In his autobiography, the former PM said he grew to admire Rupert Murdoch despite the media mogul's right-wing views, describing him as an "outsider" who had "balls". Mr Blair also tried to take the press to task for their obsession with 24-hour news cycles personality obsessed politics and cut throat competition shortly before stepping down in 2007. He compared the industry to a "feral beast", saying it "tore people and reputations to bits" and threatened politicians' "capacity to take the right decisions for the country". But despite all this noise and singling out of many specific titles for criticism, he failed to highlight any News Corp publications or Murdoch himself.

There is no doubt that our attention spans have become much shorter as e-mail, the internet, Twitter and all other forms of new media have speeded up our consumption of news or gossip. We are always looking for the next headline or the next splash, and maybe those who wrote or edited the stories felt under such pressure that they lost all sense of what was morally acceptable in the rush to provide that next great story - or perhaps they just didn't care.

The damage to Rupert Murdoch's multi-billion-dollar global media empire has already become much more extensive than most would have imagined only a week ago and this damage will most likely extend to the rest of the news industry.