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Murdoch Downfall

The News of the World phone hacking scandal is the latest affair to get the Downfall treatment, only this time with different scenes.

If someone told me seven days ago that the best-selling newspaper in the world was about to be shut down, I’d have dismissed the notion as a bizarre fantasy.

But this week, the long-running phone hacking scandal surrounding the News of the World exploded, forcing owner Rupert Murdoch to close his long-running Sunday tabloid.

Revelations that the newspaper targeted the mobile phones of teenage murder victims, relatives of dead soldiers and victims of the 7/7 bombings triggered widespread public and political outrage.

Apparently, even worse revelations are reportedly to come.

Bizarrely actor Hugh Grant had been ahead of much of the UK press, when he uncovered the sordid details with an investigative piece for the New Statesman.

His recent appearence on the BBC News channel challenging former tabloid hack Paul McMullan went viral.

But you know a scandal has truly taken hold when someone makes a Downfall parody about it.

YouTube mashups involving the 2004 film about Hitler’s final days have become an internet meme used to parody prominent figures or organisations brought low by topical events.

One scene in particular, in which Hitler (played by Bruno Ganz) realises that the war is essentially lost, has been re-subtitled countless times to fit a bewildering number of topics.

But now someone has ingeniousy re-cut other sequences from the film so that they fit with the News of the World phone hacking affair.

If you are unfamiliar with what’s been going on, just read the Wikipedia entry handily titled “News of the World phone hacking affair” to familiarise yourself with the details.

Then watch how Rupert Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are weaved into this video:

Incidentally, Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel said last year that he not only finds all these parodies funny but that they actually serve to make a wider point:

“The point of the film was to kick these terrible people off the throne that made them demons, making them real and their actions into reality. I think it’s only fair if now it’s taken as part of our history, and used for whatever purposes people like.”

> The News of the World phone hacking affair at Wikipedia
> The Hugh Grant Tapes and his recent BBC appearences
> Recent stories by Nick Davies at The Guardian (the journalist who has led the way on this story)