THE BLOG
12/07/2011 08:53 BST | Updated 10/09/2011 06:12 BST

Phone Hacking may Topple Murdoch's Media Empire

The phone hacking scandal could be on the verge of taking a much bigger scalp than that of the News of the World - Rupert Murdoch's empire is beginning to crumble around his feet. There can be no easy way out for News International and Murdoch. The hole has been dug, and it is already far too deep to be climbed out of. Like the sacked News of the World journalists many more innocent heads may roll to save those at the top of the empire.

The phone hacking scandal could be on the verge of taking a much bigger scalp than that of the News of the World - Rupert Murdoch's empire is beginning to crumble around his feet.

There is no doubt his empire has been irrefutably damaged by the whole affair, which unfortunately for him has coincided with his plans to take over BskyB.

Revelations stating the News Corp owned titles, The Sunday Times and The Sun, used evidence illegally gained by journalists has moved the whole affair onto other unsound practices in journalism. The Murdoch regime will be balanced on a knife-edge.

Phone hacking is going to lead to investigations into email hacking and other illegally obtained data, questions are going to be asked of every story published by the News International newspapers. Once the trust has been lost there is no easy way that it will come back. There are going to be more boycotts, more advertising drop-outs for the titles that have their dealings exposed.

If the News of the World can be closed at the drop of a hat by the media tycoon then why would there be any hesitation to cast the same fate to other national institutions.

Renault have been the first to make a stand against the whole organisation saying that while investigations are ongoing they will not be advertising with any of News International. This may spark one of the biggest boycotts in history as anger grows on both sides of the Atlantic.

When the News of the World was closed Rebekah Brooks said there was going to be worse to come, this could be the tip of the iceberg.

The issue may well go global with the reports that victims of the September 11th bombings had their phones hacked by the News of the World. Reports of this in America will cause anger towards Murdoch and the News International brand, especially since they own more media organisations than in the UK.

In America shares in News Corp fell almost 5% on Monday morning, showing the immediate impact phone hacking is having on the organisation.

A YouGov survey showed that 67% of the British public think 'Rupert Murdoch and other News Corporation executives' are not 'fit and proper' to own British media - with only 11% thinking they are. As more information comes out on the foul practices that have occurred this can only drop faster and more broadly.

Over all 72% think Murdoch has 'too much influence' over British politics; and 51% think the Prime Minister is too close to News Corp executives.

There can be no easy way out of this for News International and Murdoch. The hole has been dug, and it is already far too deep to be climbed out of. Like the sacked News of the World journalists, many more innocent heads may roll to save those at the top of the empire.

Plans may already be afoot to end his newspaper dominance in the UK before it is too late. Michael Wolff, the biographer of Rupert Murdoch, told the BBC that he has heard rumours from inside the organisation that there are plans to sell off the remaining Murdoch newspapers.

He did say it is not a fixed "plan or strategy" but "among the many discussions that are going on within News Corporation."

It would be a very bold move to sell all of the newspapers but it would not be a surprising one. Murdoch's ruthlessness is well known and the sale of the newspapers may satisfy the government to allow the takeover of BskyB to happen.

Of course it will not just be News International titles that have committed illegal practices, but the focus of the public's anger will be on the Murdoch owned titles. There isn't a figurehead of another media organisation that is as well known, or despised as Murdoch.

It might be time for him to take the fast and easy way out.