The decision by News Corporation to abandon its bid for BSkyB is a dramatic reversal of fortune for Rupert Murdoch. For years in Britain the success of his newspapers suggested he knew perfectly what the public wanted.
euronews has been sampling opinion from the streets of central London.
“The tabloids are there to sort of feed our appetite for celebrity etc and we, the British public love that sort of stuff. So we are kind of in a sort of circle, I think. They were only doing this because of the appetite of the British public to accept that these things were going on,” said one man.
Murdoch papers have used questionable tactics before. But the revelations especially about phone hacking of innocent victims have revolted many people.
“I am hopeful that other journalists, the newspapers, are acting in a fair way and not hacking like they were at the News of The World. I think News of the World has a particular culture and hopefully an isolated one,” said a man in a newsagents.
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A woman said: “I think journalism has changed dramatically over the years and the News of the World is just one more reinforcement as to how it’s changed. I don’t think investigative journalism should be about hacking, it should be about getting a real news story about what’s happening in the world, why things are happening.”
Despite falling sales for newspapers generally, tabloids like The Sun have continued to outsell their rivals.
But from one newspaper vendor at least, there is some evidence now that the scandal that killed the News of the World may have a damaging impact on Murdoch papers generally.
“The Sun itself… we are selling probably about half of we used to sell. So it has made a large impact, we’ve felt the impact already so it’s made a big difference to us,” he said.
The same vendor also said that sales of The Times had fallen too. If those figures are replicated elsewhere, the implication that even his prestigious broadsheet was feeling the backlash of the hacking scandal would be worrying news indeed for Rupert Murdoch.