The seemingly non-stop scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch's media companies claimed its two most high-profile trophies on Sunday, with the surprise arrest of Murdoch lieutenant Rebekah Brooks, and the resignation of Britain's top police official, Sir Paul Stephenson. Brooks — who resigned as chief executive of News International, Murdoch's British subsidiary, on Friday — was accused of illegally intercepting phone calls and bribing cops. Her arrest is the 10th of the scandal, and the most personally compromising for Murdoch. What happens now?
Murdoch is in for the fight of his life: The arrest of Brooks proves that the problems at News Corp. aren't the fault of a few bad apples, as Murdoch has been claiming, says Ken Auletta in The New Yorker. The "entire barrel...is rotten." And with politicians shunning Murdoch (and his money and influence), even "more apples will drop in coming days," no matter what Murdoch does. He just "doesn’t have enough fingers to stop the gushing water" from this leaky dam.
"What Murdoch faces now"
Brooks' arrest may actually help: It's appropriately cynical, says Alex Massie at The Daily Beast, to ask why Brooks was arrested for police bribery now, two days before she's scheduled to testify before Parliament alongside Murdoch and his son and heir apparent, James Murdoch. Now Brooks can stonewall any question on the grounds that the matter is under police investigation. Murdoch and Scotland Yard must both be relieved.
"Rebekah Brooks is arrested"
Murdoch will bleed... but survive: "Don't feel bad for Rupert Murdoch," says Jack Shafer at Slate. It's crises like this that drive him. Maybe he felt a twinge when he had to "jettison his best friend," Brooks. But that's nothing compared to what he'll feel when he has to "sacrifice his favorite son," James, to save his family empire. Luckily, he has two ambitious children, Lachlan and Elisabeth, waiting in the wings who are "clean as a Murdoch can be."
"Release the Lachlan!"