Of course what changed the tide was the revelation that News of the World reporters had hacked the cell phone of a murdered girl. All of a sudden ordinary British people began to realize that secret police journalism did not just apply to politicians, members of the royal family, and celebrities. Suddenly they realized that they could be spied on by News Corp operatives.
I really don't see how the Murdoch family survives this. Now American celebrities are bringing action against News Corp and the FBI has begun a preliminary investigation. The investigation has taken on a life of its own.
Those of us who were in Washington, DC the summer of 1973 recognize all the signs of a great implosion. At first it seems incredible that such a bully can be brought down until it seems inevitable.
Major kudos to The Guardian, who has been with this story from the beginning and persevered when everyone else was too intimidated to touch it.
Mark Steel has a hugely entertaining take on this, but I have to disagree with this part:
So the newspaper will investigate itself, the police will investigate themselves and the politicians will be investigated by an inquiry set up by themselves. They are all keen on stringent law and order so maybe this is their plan to speed up the justice system. Instead of costly trials the accused will be told to hold an inquiry into themselves, and come back in three years and let us know if they did anything wrong or not.
No, not this time. As I said before, the investigation has taken on a life of its own. As I write this advertisers are fleeing, investors are dumping stock, institutional investors are questioning the role of members of the Murdoch family. And that does not even allow for News Corps' continuing legal troubles. This is somewhere between Watergate and Enron. I can't see the corporate survival of the Murdoch family and I would not be surprised if the corporation itself is broken apart, unless if falls apart.
Edit - Murdoch's Pirates: Before the phone hacking, there was Rupert's pay-TV skullduggery