Rebekah Brooks' arrest is huge blow for Murdochs

Today's arrest of Rebekah Brooks, who was until Friday the chief executive of News International, represents perhaps the greatest failure to date in the Murdoch-controlled group's campaign for rehabilitating itself.

Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks
Because ever since News International and its parent company News Corporation were seriously damaged 13 days ago by the allegation that the phone of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler was hacked at the instigation of the News of the World, News International has been on an explicit mission to demonstrate that Mrs Brooks was innocent of all wrongdoing.

Although Mrs Brooks was editor of the News of the World at the time of the alleged hacking, she has denied all knowledge of it. And she has denied she was aware of other alleged instances of phone hacking or of bribes allegedly paid to the police.

So the thrust of News International's message to the world was that Mrs Brooks was as shocked as everyone else by disclosures that appear to show that there was a culture at the News of the World of systematically breaching proprieties in the pursuit of stories.

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