From Channel 4 News:
Conspicuous for her shock of curly red hair, it has never been easy for Rebekah Brooks to elude the limelight.
The 43-year-old became the youngest person to edit a national newspaper when she took over in 2000 at the helm of the News of the World – the newspaper where she had begun her journalistic career 11 years earlier.
[I]n November 2005, [...] Brooks [...] had been arrested after an alleged assault on her husband.
In the meantime she had been promoted by News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch, who owns the News International stable, to editorship of The Sun, Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper.
In 2009 Murdoch promoted her again, to become News International’s chief executive.
But for all the high profile that Ms Brooks has enjoyed, she appears never to have courted publicity [...]
[T]he best known among Brooks’s rare public pronouncements is one that continues to haunt her. Called in March 2003 to give evidence to a [House of] Commons committee investigating covert investigative methods, she told [Members of Parliament] that journalists were entitled to use bugging if there was a strong public interest in the story. At one point Brooks, who was present alongside Andy Coulson, then her deputy at The Sun, admitted that: “We have paid the police for information in the past” – whereupon a mortified Coulson interjected: “We have always operated within the code of the law.”
Fast forward eight years. This week’s unravelling crisis at News International, when it emerged the News of the World had hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, has thrown up the revelation that NOTW made payments to senior police officers between 2003 and 2007, while Andy Coulson was the paper’s editor.
Until now, Andy Coulson has taken more flak for whatever happened at News International than his erstwhile colleague. [...] [I]n January 2011 he resigned as Prime Minister David Cameron’s head of communications.
But since the start of this year the spotlight has turned towards Rebekah Brooks. On 24 January the Independent newspaper published an article alleging that David Cameron and James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and the chairman of News Corporation in Europe and Asia, had attended a dinner in Oxfordshire given by Ms Brooks.
The dinner is reported to have taken place days after Business Secretary Vince Cable was stripped of his responsibility for media policy – which had included ruling on News Corporation’s proposed bid for control of BSkyB.
James Murdoch is heir apparent to the business empire of his father, Rupert Murdoch. And Murdoch Senior is unarguably the most important business connection in Rebekah Brooks’s life.
On Tuesday, as News International teetered under the weight of yet more developments in the phone hacking scandal, Rebekah Brooks emailed NI employees to say she was “sickened” by the Milly Dowler claims, asserting it was “inconceivable that I knew or worse, sanctioned these appalling allegations”.
Then, on Wednesday, a statement by Rupert Murdoch appeared to restate his support for his protegee: “I have made clear that our company must fully and proactively cooperate with the police in all investigations.”
The statement continues: “That is exactly what News International has been doing and will continue to do under Rebekah Brooks’ leadership.”
So Rebekah Brooks is safe for now. But she has spent most of her working life as a Murdoch employee, and any future outside the Murdoch embrace might present a chilling prospect. As one profile put it recently: “For Brooks, there is no visible life after Murdoch.”
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Facing a tide of outrage over rampant phone-hacking, Rupert Murdoch jettisoned the notorious News of the World tabloid in an effort to protect his media empire, but the dramatic step may prove insufficient to contain the growing scandal or secure his bid to expand an already-huge presence in Britain.
Murdoch is struggling to ensure that toxic fallout does not infect other parts of News Corp., a media giant with holdings from Asia to the United States, including the Wall Street Journal and Fox News.
Most important in Britain, Murdoch is eager to shore up his bid for BSkyB, the nation’s biggest satellite broadcaster. The surprise announcement Thursday that the News of the World would cease publication after Sunday, despite enviable circulation figures and a 168-year pedigree, is clearly meant to limit any damage to his controversial takeover bid, which is under consideration by the government.
But critics dismissed it as a cynical maneuver that would cost 200 rank-and-file employees their jobs, while doing little damage to the company’s bottom line and protecting senior executives such as his son, James, and Rebekah Brooks, who is very close to the Murdoch family.
It also may not be enough to quell the public anger.
Daily revelations of new potential hacking targets, including the relatives of murder and military combat victims, have fed a rising tide of popular outrage against Murdoch and News International, the British subsidiary of News Corp. Politicians who once might have feared angering the Australian-born media baron are now denouncing him loudly in Parliament.
Police also are pressing ahead with one of the biggest investigations they have going at the moment, with reports that Andy Coulson – a former editor of the News of the World who later became a top aide to Prime Minister David Cameron – is about to be arrested today.