It was when advertisers started deserting Rupert Murdoch's News of the World that the American media realised something really important might be happening.
The phone hacking scandal was splashed on the front page of The New York Times yesterday, the same paper whose examination of the issue last September encouraged Scotland Yard to get off their behinds and re-examine a case that had previously been assumed cold.
"Murdered Girl, Hacked Phone, Eyes on Tabloid," ran the paper's lead headline yesterday morning, atop a story detailing the political and financial fallout from the issue.
The decision by Ford to pull its ads – and the suggestion that the others would follow, as they duly did – meant that the Murdoch empire's own Wall Street Journal, international bible to the financial community, could not ignore the story either.
It said the Milly Dowler revelations had "rattled" its UK sister paper – but it also was at pains to report that Ford "indicated it would use alternative media within and outside News International".
Business commentators discussed the potential effects on Mr Murdoch's News Corp, with Forbes magazine's Jeff Bercovici claiming: "The intensity of this uproar has already surpassed anything Murdoch has endured in the past and new developments are coming at a breakneck pace."
News Corp shares fell as US investors reacted to the developments. The blizzard of commentary meant that by yesterday, even the major news networks were running stories, predicting that Mr Murdoch will brazen the crisis out without firing senior executives.
For the average American, the travails of Rebekah Brooks are hardly going to crowd out the shock acquittal of murder-accused Casey Anthony, or the Canuck commotion caused by a certain royal couple.
But in the leftist media here, the desire to land a blow on Mr Murdoch is building inexorably. Last night, The Huffington Post, the news site of choice for young liberals, had made the News of the World story its lead. "Lord of the Rings", it called the old newspaperman. "Murdoch empire under fire as hacking scandal takes turn after shocking turn."
And, with that, Mr Murdoch's foreign difficulties had moved from the foreign or business pages of the US media to the mainstream.Reuse content