The British tabloid newspaper News of the World is closing down.
The scandal-rag has been in operation for close to 170 years, thriving on sensationalising celebrity scandals, including – among many – exposing former FIA Max Mosley’s encounters with five prostitutes. Mosley successfully sued the paper against its description of his indiscretions as a “sick Nazi orgy”.
Of late, the newspaper has been at the centre of a long-running, and largely tragic, phone-hacking scandal where it has accessed the voicemail messages of thousands of people, including families of deceased servicemen, murder victims, celebrities and politicians.
There is a certain irony that the muckrakers in this rather turgid excuse for journalism are now themselves the centre of the scandal, and the aftermath has seen some $1.7 billion wiped from the share value of its parent company, News Limited.
And who is the owner of News Limited? Well, a certain Rupert Murdoch, who has been the driving force behind efforts to purchase control of the Formula One group of companies.
Furthermore, his many battery of newspapers have also be been stoking the fire of a rumour that the BBC is looking to drop its F1 coverage when its contract runs out. In the pound seats to take over the TV rights is BSkyB, which News Limited is planning to buy.
Ultimately, this will do little to enhance the reputation of the sport, with added rumours that German prosecutors – no doubt with the timing of the British Grand Prix squarely in mind – are set to launch criminal proceedings against F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone over the bribery allegations stemming from the sale of the sport’s commercial rights to CVC Capital Holdings.