Colin Myler: New York Daily News Appointment Has ‘A Touch Of Irony’

Colin Myler London High Court - H 2012
Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images)

Colin Myler London High Court - H 2012

The paper's newly appointed editor-in-chief is about to take on his old boss Rupert Murdoch's New York Post.

LONDON - Will revenge be a dish served deliciously cold by Colin Myler, the newly announced editor-in-chief of Mort Zuckerman’s New York Daily News?

As the former News of The World editor, Myler was unceremoniously fired last July when public outrage over the phone-hacking scandal forced Rupert Murdoch to shutter the 168-year old title.

And any hopes he might have had about enjoying the same degree of support from Murdoch as former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks were dashed when Myler became locked in a high-stakes battle with James Murdoch about who knew what about phone-hacking.

Myler told The Guardian newspaper Thursday that there was “a touch of irony” to his new stateside appointment, where the Daily News will fight a daily pitched battle with Murdoch’s New York Post.

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Speaking to The Guardian as he boarded a flight for New York, Myler also revealed that Zuckerman had first approached him about the job last October.

“He made the decision very easy for me. It is a great opportunity for me, it is a great paper, with a great history and -- family reasons aside -- it was easy.”

Myler was executive editor of Murdoch’s New York Post until 2007 and has edited The Daily Mirror, The Sunday Mirror and The News of The World

The quietly spoken newspaperman, who will be parted from his two grown-up daughters to move back to New York, was carefully measured in his few comments about his relationship with the Murdochs.

Asked how he felt about taking on Murdoch after The News of The World, Myler told The Guardian, “It’s going to be fun… there’s a touch of irony about it.”

But there can be no doubt that there remain deep scars in the relationship since The News of The World was closed down.

At a Parliamentary inquiry into criminal activity at the newspaper, Myler found himself in the distinctly uncomfortable position of publicly accusing James Murdoch of misleading MPs, insisting that Murdoch had been briefed about the extent of phone-hacking at the News of The World at a meeting in 2007.

It was an assertion that James Murdoch immediately denied, claiming that his advisers had not given him the key information and that he had been “mislead” by Myler and News International legal manager Tom Crone.

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Murdoch continued to deny that he had been given any information about the extent of phone-hacking until it emerged last month that Myler had sent him an email laying out a lot of the relevant information.

Murdoch has said subsequently that he never read the full email, although he did reply to it.

Myler also requested a further meeting with James Murdoch to discuss the issue, but it is not clear whether the meeting actually took place.

It is still far from clear how the fallout from the News of The World scandal will affect its many participants.

Colin Myler could yet face censure for his part in what some have termed a “cover-up.”

And James Murdoch’s claims that he wasn’t given enough information to act will also come under close scrutiny, not least because News Corporation’s Management Standards Committee is still throwing up new information as it continues  its evidence-seeking trawl.

But whatever the final outcome of the various criminal, Parliamentary and Judicial inquiries into phone-hacking scandal that will trundle on throughout 2012, the appointment to the Daily News will be a whole new chapter for Myler, who for a time must have feared that the scandal has left his career prospects out in the cold.

The former News of The World editor told The Guardian that he was in touch with many of his former staff, and was saddened by how things had turned out. He didn’t rule out the possibility that some may resurface in New York.

“They have been caught in the slipstream and it’s not their fault [that the paper closed[. They will get fixed up because they are brilliant, but it has taken its toll.”