Seumas Milne of the U.K. Guardian puts things into perspective:
Murdoch’s overweening political influence has long been recognised, from well before Tony Blair flew to Australia in 1995 to pay public homage at his corporate court. What has been less well understood is how close-up and personal the pressure exerted by his organisation has been throughout public life. The fear that those who crossed him would be given the full tabloid treatment over their personal misdemeanours, real or imagined, has proved to be a powerful Mafia-like racket. It was the warning that News International would target their personal lives that cowed members of the Commons culture and media committee over pressing their investigation into phone hacking too vigorously before the last election.