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Comment: Would they really close the Sun, too? I think not

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By Noel Young | Correspondent

November 11, 2011 | 3 min read

James Murdoch had a difficult task before him when he appeared before the Commons committee again yesterday.

James Murdoch

Let us set aside his tarring of his former trusted colleagues in his attempt to deal with who knew what and when on the subject of phone hacking . Roy Greenslade has dealt with that very effectively in his Guardian blog: http://tinyurl.com/bmgzgol

Let us concentrate instead on James's roundabout reply on the question of whether the Sun too could be closed if evidence of phone hacking there emerged.

Outside the boardroom of News International I have yet to find anyone who thought that the shuttering of the News of the World was a good idea: it was a smart alec PR trick that blew up in their face . Whose idea it was, I have no idea.

Nick Davies, the Guardian journalist whose investigations opened up the can of worms, described the closure to Adweek as " an entirely unnecessary, brutal, and unforgivable decision by them."

You can't say fairer than that.

The News of the World under Colin Myler had cleaned up its act. It was back to sorting out villains, such as Pakistani cricketers.

But it had to go! So would the Sun now have to go, too?

Frankly, especially with all the talk of a Sunday Sun in the New Year, I can't believe that they would really throw a second baby out with the bathwater.

So what was that exchange in the committee again ?

MP Steve Rotheram claimed that The Sun was mentioned in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective jailed for phone hacking in 2007.

He asked James Murdoch: “If this particular publication is implicated in phone hacking and it is revealed that The Sun does appear in the Mulcaire file, will you close that paper like you did with the News of the World.”

James said he did not want to prejudge the outcome of any investigation. He then added : “I do not think we can rule or I should not rule any corporate reaction to behaviour of wrongdoing out. That will be a decision taken at the time given whatever is out there.”

Translation: I hope I am out of here before that shit hits the fan.

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