by Brian Cathcart
With one mighty leap, it seems, Rupert was out. One day his London journalists were reported to be in open revolt against him and the next he had apparently pulled off one of his masterstrokes and was firmly in the driving seat again.
Murdoch has conceded very little. On the central issue, the company’s new zero tolerance of lawbreaking and its full-on cooperation with the police in purging past lawbreakers, he seems to have stood absolutely firm. “We cannot protect people who have paid public officials,” he declared.
His email to staff carried no echo of Trevor Kavanagh’s wild claims of a police witch-hunt and of a disproportionate investigation. Nor did it give more than vague acknowledgement to those much-aired concerns for for the protection of journalistic sources.
He bent a little by ending the suspensions of those who have been arrested (his London management had presumably not wanted them in the building) and he promised a new Sunday paper and a new dawn of ethical popular journalism. Above all perhaps, he restated his personal commitment to the Sun.
It is all good news. It is good that he refused to back down and abandon the process of house-cleaning, good that he is staying loyal to his paper and good that he is showing leadership by mapping out a better future. And it is especially good that he personally committed himself to making his company “an example to Fleet Street of ethical journalism”. He has written those words; now he must be held to them.
Brian Cathcart, a founder of Hacked Off, teaches journalism at Kingston University London. He tweets @BrianCathcart