Rebekah Brooks, the former News of the World editor who was subsequently promoted to a high-ranking position within News Corporation, has belatedly announced her resignation, bowing to significant pressure from Parliament, the public, and even the company’s shareholders:
Brooks announced her decision to News International staff in Wapping just before 10am on Friday, saying her resignation had been accepted by Rupert and James Murdoch. She said she no longer wanted to be a “focal point of the debate” surrounding the company’s future and reputation.
She stopped short of issuing a personal apology. “As chief executive of the company, I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place,” Brooks said in a statement.
Considering that News of the World and News International were for years engaged in a cover-up, her statement rings hollow. Where was her “deep sense of responsibility” when News of the World was trying to cover up its crimes?
The Murdochs obviously still have absolute confidence in her, as an excerpt from James Murdoch’s memo to News International employees makes clear:
Earlier today, Rebekah Brooks resigned from her position as CEO. I understand her decision and I want to thank her for her 22 years of service to the company. She has been one of the outstanding editors of her generation and she can be proud of many accomplishments as an executive. We support her as she takes this step to clear her name.
Outstanding? Maybe she was outstanding at publishing filth. She certainly was not accountable or responsible as either an executive or an editor.
Meanwhile, in Australia, where he is attending a conference of justice officials, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that a probe of News Corporation is getting under way. For now, it’s a preliminary inquiry:
“There have been members of Congress in the United States who have asked us to investigate those same allegations and we are progressing in that regard using the appropriate Federal law enforcement agencies,” Holder told reporters.
It’s kind of ironic that Holder made these comments from Australia, because that’s the country where Rupert Murdoch hails from, and where the News Corporation empire began. Murdoch’s Australian operations have not been implicated in the phone hacking scandal, but the chief executive of News Limited (the Australian arm of News Corporation) has pledged to conduct “a thorough review” of expenses over the last three years to confirm that all expenditures were legitimate.