If there are anywhere near 4,000 phone-hacking cases, as one senior detective says, Murdoch could be bleeding slowly for as long as he lives. He no longer enjoys the friendship of the people he bought and has learned the hard way that real power is constrained by the truth. Like some discredited god, all the potency once ascribed to him is evaporating. The paper tiger is on fire.
I hope this isn't the end of Rupert. Without him, what will I write about? Send suggestions to email@example.com. Thanks to my Twitter followers for steering phone-hacking-scandal stories my way. (Email may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum; in a future article; or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)
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Corrections, July 9, 2011: The original version of this article mistakenly called the Press Complaints Commission the Public Complaints Commission. (Return to the corrected sentence.) It also mistakenly stated that Les Hinton is editor of the Wall Street Journal. He is publisher. (Return to the corrected sentence.)