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Why doesn’t Rupert Murdoch just give away the News of the World to its staff?

Sound like an extraordinary idea? News Corporation, run by Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch, decided to close the News of the World, Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, to try to terminate the phone-hacking scandal.

End result? Hundreds of people not implicated in the scandal find themselves out of work. To protect News International CEO (and former News of the World editor) Rebekah Brooks apparently.

Cutting off this gangrenous limb hasn’t worked of course, as UK PM David Cameron, a close friend of various News Corporation types, will be reflecting this evening after a monstering by Her Majesty’s Press.

His links to arrested former government spinmeister Andy Coulson and Brooks, a friend and neighbour in Oxfordshire, will haunt him to the end of his days (which, in political terms, might come a bit sooner than he expected).

Anyway, my friend John Donovan, boss of media agency Concorde in London, suggested to me today that the better thing for the Murdochs to have done would have been to give the News of the World to the management and staff (those of them without any previous anyway, which would have excluded Mrs Brooks) rather than closing it.

And what a great idea.

So why didn’t they do it?

One, it never occurred to them;

Two, it’s just too generous;

Three; they’re all running around like blue-arsed flies

Four; the Murdochs still think they own the News of the World territory and, unimaginative lot that they are, think they can reclaim it at some unspecified date.

But John’s idea is a good one. If the Murdochs really want to look as though they still have some humanity floating around in what passes for their souls, giving the business away would be a jolly good idea.

As thing stand, they’re probably the least popular family since the Borgias.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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