Rupert Murdoch has always been known for acting boldly, in a way that other studios with less imperial management structures can't.
The decision to shut down News of the World, a genuine stunner, underscores just what a PR nightmare the paper's hacking scandal has become, leaving the News Corp. chairman -- in his eyes, anyway -- little choice but to cut out a cancer to save the rest of his empire.
Murdoch's son and presumptive heir, James, announced the decision, but one can see the old man's hands all over this. The only question is whether killing the paper will be enough to squelch some of the fallout from its beyond-distasteful intrusions into the lives of grieving parents and terror victims, in addition to celebrities and politicans.
This much is clear: Murdoch has always played the entertainment business like a huge game of chess, willing to sacrifice the occasional pawn to serve his larger objectives. That said, it's hard to imagine a more dramatic maneuver by an executive with such an abiding love of newspapers, which suggests Murdoch recognized this situation and the steady drip of fresh outrages was imperiling not just his company but perhaps his plans of succession.
For a few days, anyway, shuttering News of the World will ripple through the media. The question is whether the decision satisfies those screaming for satisfaction, or if additional heads will have to roll.
Of this much, I'm certain: Murdoch will do whatever it takes, and for anyone caught up in the News scandal, that could be very bad news, indeed.