STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The embattled head of Rupert Murdoch’s News International division, Rebekah Brooks, resigned today in the wake of news that tabloid journalists at Murdoch’s British News of the World newspaper tapped voicemail and phone conversations.
Let’s get the latest on this story from Archie Bland. He’s foreign editor of The Independent newspaper, and he’s with us now from London. Hi Archie.
ARCHIE BLAND: Hi there.
CHIOTAKIS: Why now? What was the last straw?
BLAND: Well that’s one of the weirdest things about this whole affair is that, you know, if Rebekah Brooks had gone a year and a half ago or even two weeks ago it might have made a really profound difference to the chances of the organization recovering. You know, it’s very hard to see exactly what’s pushed her over the edge. I mean it may be that this FBI investigation supposedly entered. The 9/11 people might be one of the factors. It may just be that she felt that she’d had enough. But now that the bid was off the table, there wasn’t that much point in her sticking around.
CHIOTAKIS: How does this factor Archie, into the company’s business plans in the U.K. and elsewhere, even here in the United States?
BLAND: Well, it’s pretty profound difference. I mean one thing is that she’s someone who’s run newspapers before, you know who has a profound interest in and love for newspapers — whatever she did with them. The guy who’s replaying here is the former chief executive of SkyItalia, which is the broadcasting organization James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son is far most interested in that side of that business than he is in newspapers. So it could present kind of a move away from their interests in print media whether or not that’ll have an effect on the states I don’t know, but it’s certainly going to have a very big impact on what happens in the U.K.
CHIOTAKIS: Does this, do you think, deflect the investigation going forward now that she’s gone?
BLAND: I don’t think so. You know I mean I think criminal charges — if they ever come up will still apply. And I think it won’t stop them looking very closely at a number of people that are still employed by News International. What it may do is it gives them a better chance of saying that they’ve cleaned house. You know, that if she is ever charged for the crime that they are able to say that they’ve moved on from that era. And are therefor about to draw a line under it and hope that they can move into an era without these kinds of crises that have been hitting them again and again over the last few months and years.
CHIOTAKIS: Archie Bland, foreign editor of The Independent. Archie, thank you.
BLAND: All right, thanks very much.