Rupert Murdoch might like us to believe his decision to abruptly shutter Britain’s best-selling but scandal-plagued News of the World was solely a matter of journalism ethics, “to prevent a situation like this from happening again.” Not in any News Corps.’ newsroom, it won’t.

Rupert Murdoch during his News of the World takeover in the late '60s.

Not to belittle his dedication to high-quality reporting, but it seems Murdoch also had his own interests in mind. Facing the most potentially damaging PR debacle of his six-decade career, Murdoch made the drastic move to contain financial and political fallout (and quell public outrage) before it overtook his global empire.

“It’s like the most radical cancer surgery,” Julia Hobsbawm, a media analyst with the firm Editorial Intelligence, told the Los Angeles Times. ”It is an astonishing moment in British media history.”

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