Well, well, well.
Theres some crisis management for you.
The second most remarkable development in a remarkable week of revelation, revulsion and late-onset outrage was the shuttering of the News of the World.
Even when the advertisers began to bail, Im pretty sure no sentient being imagined Rupert Murdoch would close a profitable business.
The conventional wisdom over the voicemail-hacking scandal was to expect a lot of apologising, some surgical scapegoating and a tissue of Nixonian lies.
But, no, the surgery turns out to be an amputation of a limb as financially healthy as it was morally moribund.
Could this have been an act of conscience? Expiation? Self-sacrifice? Yeah, right.
The smart money is on pre-emption.
By lopping News of the World from the News Corp corpus, Murdoch is taking control of the story, dictating the climax weeks or months before officialdom would act, during which time he would have to endure the News of the World tar-the-star treatment from every media organisation in the world, including some of his own.
Although not necessarily.
At this writing, of the 73 stories and columns on the NYPs homepage, not one of them concern News of the World.
How do you squeeze in trivia like that when Regis Philbin Selling Greenwich, Conn House? By pre-empting the clamour for punishment, Murdoch also surely hopes to excise the cancer of advertiser aversion before it spreads from News of the World to the Sun, to the Times of London, to the Wall Street Journal, to Fox News Channel, to the Fox Network.
And, most of all, he makes a breathtaking show of piety before British regulators, who have yet to rule on his $70b acquisition, which he sees as the centre of his empire when the newspaper business finally withers and dies.
But, still, thats burying the lede.
The extraordinary thing from this vantage is to see the Great Transatlantic Paradox dissolve before our eyes.
To wit: in the US, because his properties are such loud and shrill voices of rightwing politics, Murdoch has long been demonised as a press baron in the worst sense.
In the Hearst sense, the Pulitzer sense, the Charles Foster Kane sense.
Yet, he isnt that at all, in these parts.
In the US, he inflames zealots but has no measurable influence on anyone else, least of all institutions of power.
He may well have the house organ of the Republican party, but by no means is the tail wagging the elephant.
In the UK, though, where prime ministers and MPs of both parties, the press and even the police have cowered under his influence for more than 30 years, he was until this week demonised hardly at all.
He was the Teflon Oligarch.
Only now, amid universal sympathy for the family of a murdered child, have the hitherto craven and cowed coalesced to fight back.
Only now is Murdoch being held accountable for decades of ethical bankruptcy, including not mere wiretapping and bribery, but three political generations of influence-peddling and who knows what? It is Fleet Streets answer to the Arab Spring.
In this drama, poor Milly Dowler is Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor whose self-immolation unleashed decades of pent-up rage.
What remains to be seen is whether Murdoch, like strongman Ben Ali, will quickly lose his power or whether he will quickly tamp down protest.
Or must we now endure media Libya? Meanwhile, here in Fox country, where you cant extort politicians over news coverage (here, you need cash money), a legion of schadenfreude-drunk Democrats are hooting and slapping their thighs.
Because they told you so.
They so told you so.
Guardian