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.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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