Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch under pressure, wants to close down best-selling newspaper "News of the World" after the scandal

On Thursday, the journalist and free school campaigner Toby Young said he did not regard Rupert Murdoch as "the all-seeing eye of Sauron," just as the Telegraph published a cartoon depicting the head of News Corp as Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series. Former Sun journalist Jon Gaunt also said that Mr Murdoch was no "Darth Vader."

The fact that people can make or denounce such comparisons is testament to the power and influence Murdoch wields while all the time staying in the shadows. Such comparisons are also a product of the kind of conspiracy theorist mindset which might accuse Murdoch of, for example, choosing the Prime Minister of Britain.

While such beliefs are somewhat ridiculous, recent events would suggest that a conspiracy of some kind was indeed being conducted by some of Murdoch's top employees. A conspiracy of silence, perhaps?

For this reason and because it will be fun to do so, we'll take a look at this week's events as though Murdoch was in fact "the all-seeing eye of Sauron." Enter the Dark Lord Murdoch.

If this were Middle Earth, and the current phone-hacking scandal and everything surrounding it the War of the Ring, would the closure of News of the World represent the final victory for the forces of good and the collapse of the Dark Tower of Barad-dur?

Far from it. The fact that Murdoch can in less than a week shut down one of his most successful publications merely demonstrates the amount of power he has. His is a global operation and while this is no doubt a blow it is one he can absorb on his way to the larger goal, which for the moment at least appears to be the One Ring -- also known as BSkyB.

As Faramir, ranger of Gondor, once said gloomily after inflicting a defeat on Sauron, "He can afford to lose a host better than we to lose a company."

Almost as soon as the closure of News of the World was announced, questions were being asked about the motives behind it. Is this really an act of contrition, or is it just a way of wiping away a toxic brand before reviving the paper as the "Sun on Sunday" or the "Sunday Sun," domain names for which have reportedly been bought already.

Another line of thought is that the closure of News of the World is simply a way of protecting Rebekah Brooks, CEO of News International and editor of News of the World when it allegedly hacked the phone of murder victim Milly Dowler.

The closure of News of the World has already been criticised by some, such as John (do we have to call him Lord?) Prescott, who pointed out that the current News of the World workers, who have nothing to do with the hacking are losing their jobs, while Brooks continues in her very well paid job. Far from being a wake up to morality, the move is sacrificing 200 innocent people to protect one allegedly guilty one.

Does this make Brooks to Murdoch what the Witch King was to Sauron? The faithful lieutenant who "no living man can kill"? Perhaps, but just as the Witch King was laid low (much to his surprise) senior politicians have made it clear that Brooks should not continue in her current job.

Labour leader Edward Miliband was first to effectively call on Brooks to quit, while Prime Minister David Cameron today said that he would have accepted Brooks' resignation (which was apparently offered twice to Murdoch this week, only to be rejected twice).

One of the other Sauronesque characteristics of this story is the way Murdoch's employees were able for a long time to put off any kind of reckoning by their ability to frighten, discourage and otherwise slow down any attempts to take this matter further.

One of the most disturbing instances of this was the way MPs looking at the issue were effectively told, so it is said, that if they went after News International, they could expect to read all kinds of unflattering stories about themselves in the papers.

It seems that for a long time many politicians took the view espoused by Saruman and Denethor that "against the Dark Power there can be no victory," and so did nothing despite the first allegations coming to light years ago.

To its eternal credit, however, the Guardian, whose editor Alan Rushbridger is the closest thing we are going to get to a Gandalf in this piece, did not drop the story when many other media outlets more or less did.

Indeed, it emerged this week that just as Gandalf warned King Theoden about Saruman's dirty secret, it was Rushbridger who warned David Cameron about some of the allegations against former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who went on to become Cameron's head of communications and was today arrested.

We cannot praise the Guardian enough for its role in this affair. There are many who could have challenged the practices being employed by the News of the World and investigated who knew about them at News International.

The police, Parliament, the BBC with its near monopoly, all were in positions of power to challenge the might of News International but none of them succeeded.

By contrast the Guardian, which can be a bit of a dreary newspaper at times, going on about cuts and obscure issues in obscure countries, and which has had to make significant cut backs due to ongoing losses, did its level best to expose the truth. Sorry to drag this analogy even further, but the Guardian served as the apparently insignificant hobbits who struck the real blow against evil while the Aragorns, Boromirs and Eomers were little more than background noise.

Which brings us of course to another serious issue that has been raised by the sorry affair at News of the World, that of press regulation.

The words "self-regulation" have acquired a bit of a bad name in recent years, being associated as they are with MPs expenses and the banking crisis, and now with phone hacking.

Already there are calls for greater regulation of the press and equally calls to keep things as they are. One of Toby Young's arguments in defence of the News of the World is that while they have behaved deplorably, it was also that paper which exposed, among other things, corruption at FIFA and the match fixing antics of the Pakistani cricket team.

Greater regulation, Young argues, could mean the protection of the guilty as well as the innocent.

Calls for greater regulation are, many prominent journalists are arguing, also a threat to freedom of the press.

One is inclined to agree with them. After all which of the scandalous acts committed by New of the World is currently legal? If what they had done was legal then Andy Coulson would not have been arrested today and there would be a good case for tightening up regulations.

As it is we seem to be only at the beginning of a long investigation into alleged criminal activity involving hacking and police corruption at and by the News of the World. It is the enforcement of the current laws we need, not more laws.

In addition it must also be remembered that it was a free press that helped expose the scandal in the first place. The regulators failed miserably to do anything to hold the News of the World to account, as did the police.

If it was not for the persistent work of the Guardian none of this would have come out as it has this week. Do we really want more regulation that could have possibly allowed News International to threaten the Guardian with legal action if it printed the truth about what was going on, like a kind of throwback to Robert Maxwell?

One could argue that this week's events have in fact shown not the weakness but the power of self regulation as it was the press which exposed the press. As Gimli the dwarf commented, "It is with his own weapons that the enemy is worsted."

The News of the World scandal has been the "darkest hour" for British journalism, but the actions of the Guardian have also made it the "finest hour."