As July comes to a close, the folks at News Corp. will probably be happy to flip their calendars over to a new month. It's been a rough few weeks for Rupert Murdoch's media empire, but this past week, things started to seem more positive for a few key players. BSkyB announced a hearty profit; James Murdoch is off the hook (for now); British police scored a big victory. But in a Dickensian sort of way, the fortune of some translates to misfortunes for others. Rebekah Brooks earned the renewed ire of the British public; a major public official is stepping down; the pie thrower might be going to jail. Meet this week's winners and losers in the phone hacking scandal.
James Murdoch - The potential heir to the Murdoch empire managed to keep his job as the chairman of BSkyB board of directors. Earlier this week, speculation mounted over whether the satellite broadcasting division would buck the Murdochs altogether. On the contrary, James received a glowing endorsement from the board. As icing on the cake, the Parliamentary committee that grilled the Murdochs two weeks ago voted against recalling the men, for now. Faced with accusations that he lied during his testimony, James is surely relieved not to go under the heat lamp in the near term, but the committee chair has asked him, his father Rupert Murdoch, and Rebekah Brooks to answer some questions in writing by August 11.
BSkyB - In addition to renewing James's chairmanship, the board of Britain's largest pay-TV broadcaster announced a 16 percent boost in revenue as well as a handy $1.6 billion pre-tax profit. The extra cash will help them fund a recently announced $1.2 billion stock buyback, in an effort to win back the hearts of shareholders. They'll also boost dividends by about 15 percent per share, which amounts to about $400 million, which is roughly the difference between the buyback and the pre-tax profits.
London Metropolitan Police - Tim Godwin, the acting police commissioner, announced a plan to win back the public on Thursday. Saying that corruption was "in no way endemic" at the police, the commissioner seemed to express that they'd chased away some of the bad cops and would find the rest. Godwin's speech came on the heels of the arrest of a high profile hacker of a different nature. Wednesday, the Met announced that they had nabbed Topiary, the spokesman of LulzSec. As long as it turns out that the arrested hacker is the right hacker, it's a big win for police.
Rebekah Brooks - The world was shocked to learn Thursday that News of the World targeted the mother of another murdered girl, Sarah Payne, in phone hacking practices while Rebekah Brooks was editor. What's worse is that the evidence suggests that the phone targeted was the same one Brooks gave to Payne's mother to keep in touch with her loved ones during the drawn out police investigation into the girl's murder. What's even worse is that Brooks has repeatedly cited News of the World's championing of "Sarah's law," sex offender legislation inspired by Payne's case. Brooks could be found to have misled Parliament if these latest hacking revelations are confirmed.
Jonnie Marbles - The activist that threw a plate of shaving cream in Rupert Murdoch's face during a Parliamentary hearing was convicted of assault and harassment on Friday. Born Jonathan May-Bowles, the part-time comedian will be sentenced on August 2 and could face jail time for his crimes. He kept his sense of humor, though, announcing as he stood up in court, "I would just like to say this has been the most humble day of my life."
Baroness Buscombe - The head of the Press Complaints Commission is expected to resign in disgrace over her handling of the phone hacking scandal. Buscombe took the position in 2009 and during her tenure, the PCC let News of the World off the hook after they insisted that phone hacking was confined to just one reporter and a private investigator. The Guardian reports, "The prime minister, David Cameron, described the PCC as 'ineffective' and lacking in public confidence, while the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, called it a 'toothless poodle'"