So, another bastion of great British journalism looks likely to fall foul of the News International phone-hacking / police corruption scandal.

The Times – and its companion paper, The Sunday Times – could be put up for sale.

Oh, and The Sun – Britain’s best-selling daily tabloid – might also go under the hammer. It’s best known for its Page 3 – which, for decades, has featured “tasteful” glamor shots of dishy, topless models (the famous Page 3 Girls).

Sold, to the highest bidder?

Or should that be, “sold off?”

In truth, the British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News International media empire represents a very small drop in the $30 billion profit ocean of that organization. And the stigma attached to it is perhaps proving to be more than it’s worth.

So, the papers may well be sold off.
And Mr. Murdoch would seem set to profit by it.

This, despite the following:

* On July 14, 2011, News International – under intense pressure from law-makers of all parties in the British House of Commons – withdrew its bid to purchase BSkyB, a highly prized satellite television franchise.

* Several members of the United States Congress are calling for an investigation into the activities of News Corporation (NewsCorp) – the Stateside arm of News International. They’re concerned that the phone-hacking tactics used in Britain may have spilled over into an intrusion of the voice mail space of relatives and victims of the 9 / 11 terrorist attacks.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has begun an inquiry, in response to these calls.

* The British House of Commons has issued a court summons (subpoena) for Rupert Murdoch and his son James, to appear before a judicial inquiry alongside Rebekah Brooks – former chief executive of former newspaper the News of the World. To shed light on the tactics employed by that publication.
In an interview today (July 15, 2011) with The Wall Street Journal, an unrepentant Rupert Murdoch confirmed that he will be attending next Tuesday’s hearing – having initially declined the Commons “invitation.”

Meanwhile, Rebekah Brooks has today resigned from News International.

And it seems that new revelations or allegations are cropping up, daily.

So Mr. Murdoch’s short-term gains from any newspaper sell-off could prove to be just that; short-term.