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ink-stained wretches

Can Finger-pointing Over Phone Hacking Reignite the NYC Tabloid War?

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15:  Colin Myler, a former editor of the News of the World newspaper, leaves the Royal Courts of Justice after giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on December 15, 2011 in London, England. Mr Myler, who edited the News of the World from 2007 until its closure earlier this year, told the Inquiry that he likened  the possibility of prior widespread wrongdoing to having "bombs under the newsroom floor".  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The conclusion that Rupert Murdoch "is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of major international company" may have been the biggest takeaway from Britain's parliamentary report on phone hacking, but you wouldn't know it from the News Corp.–owned New York Post. Instead, the local tabloid led their story today with the probe's accusations against Colin Myler, an ex-Murdoch employee (and former Post editor) who turned his back publicly on the family and just so happens to now edit the rival Daily News. Not until the story's eleventh paragraph does the Post mention Rupert, while James Murdoch only appears in the sixteenth graph.

Myler, the report found, misled the panel about the widespread nature of phone hacking at the News of the World, where he worked for Murdoch beginning in 2007, just as the scandal was rising. In his own testimony before the committee, Myler said he informed his superiors about the scope of the wrongdoing, while the Murdochs have claimed they were kept in the dark.

Instead of running their own article about the report, Myler's Daily News opted for an Associated Press story on the issue, which mentions their editor just once. News owner Mort Zuckerman, meanwhile, told the Times that he has "total confidence" in Myler, who he said has already made the paper "much, much more engaging, more powerful, more lucid, more consistent."

What Myler hasn't done, at least not directly, is engage in any old-fashioned tabloid warring with the Post, although the phone-hacking story calling him out over Murdoch can certainly be counted as a punch. While Myler has pushed his paper in a more liberal direction than its rival, things will only get really interesting if he starts swinging back in print at his old bosses.

Related: The Tabloid Turncoat [NYM]

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Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images