As the toll of casualties from The News of the World scandal increases, the race is on for other publications, owned by various subsidiaries of the Murdoch media empire, to distance or rebrand themselves so as not to find themselves caught in the line of fire.
Over the weekend yet more senior figures, from the worlds of journalism, politics and policing have been further embroiled in the scandal and have paid the price. Former head of News International Rebekah Brooks (who resigned from her post last week) was arrested and later released while Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has resigned along with Les Hinton, C.E.O. of Dow Jones, who testified in British Parliamentary Inquiries in 2007 and 2009 attesting that phone hacking was the fault of one single reporter and not symptomatic of wider company policy.
Inevitably, the public is now seeking to establish not only exactly how widespread such unethical malpractice is within News Corp. and elsewhere, including British politics.
According to The Daily Mail, the enormous influence of the Australian media mogul and his U.K. Director Rebekah Brooks was instrumental in David Cameron's decision to hire Andy Coulson as his Public Relations Advisor, although Cameron himself has neither confirmed nor denied these allegations.
In contrast to Cameron, The Wall Street Journal has adopted a completely different strategy in order to distance itself from the wrong doing at NoW. Following the rule that the best defence is a good offense, the journal published an editorial accusing publications like The Guardian of criticising News Corp. publications based on 'commercial and ideological motives,' but also stated 'we also trust our readers can see through' such actions.
Moreover, the editorial sings the praises of the News Corp. buy out, claiming that to let former owners, the Bancroft family, and their 'appetite for dividends' continue as proprietors of the paper would have been far more detrimental than the sale to News Corp. 'We shudder to think what the journal would look like today without the sale to News Corp.'.
So what - if anything - is the next move for those publications and other media subsidiaries of News Corp. who aren't ready to go down with the ship? Newsonomics.com published an article which speculates that the re-branding of News Corp., which will be executed by P.R. giants Edelman, will probably focus on the numerous company assets which are not directly related to journalism, emphasising its investments in American entertainment, through film and T.V..
However, even the U.S does not provide a safe haven from prosecution, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an inquiry into the allegations that staff at The News of the World illegally accessed the voicemail of 9/11 victims. Will any News Corp. publications manage to survive this onslaught unscathed?