LONDON – By letting his top-selling U.K. tabloid run photos of a naked Prince Harry cavorting in a Las Vegas hotel room, some say media mogul Rupert Murdoch was warning Britain’s establishment that he could still shake things up.

British officialdom has largely turned its back on Murdoch because of the phone-hacking scandal that has badly tainted his media empire over the past year. So even though Murdoch’s The Sun framed its decision to publish the nude pictures as a defense of press freedom, some observers saw the move as a feisty message from the tycoon.

“Not only was The Sun showing Harry’s bottom, Murdoch was mooning the Establishment,” said journalist Jane Merrick, whose article in The Independent on Sunday alleged that Murdoch personally ordered the paper to run the photos in a phone call with Tom Mockridge, the chief of his British newspaper unit, News International.

Murdoch, 81, once courted by lawmakers across the British political spectrum, has seen his clout wither after his company was exposed as having hacked into the phones of hundreds of people to score scoops.

Allegations of bribery, corruption, computer hacking, and obstruction of justice are being investigated, and the scandal has prompted a judge-led media ethics inquiry that could propose sweeping changes to how Britain’s press is policed — potentially subjecting newspapers to government regulation.

If The Sun was cowed, it didn’t show it Friday, when it published the pictures of Harry.

A picture of the unclad royal — clutching an unidentified woman — had already been on the Internet for the better part of two days. Newspapers around the world ran the pictures, but with the prominent exception of The Sun, British media largely held its fire.

In a message to a user who congratulated him on The Sun’s challenge to the royal family, Murdoch said he “needed to demonstrate (that there is) no such thing as free press in UK.”

“Internet makes mockery of these issues,” he said, adding that Britain could use some First Amendment-style legislation.

But the mogul also extended an olive branch to the royals, telling his followers to give the prince “a break.”

“He may be on the public payroll one way or another, but the public loves him,” Murdoch wrote.

‘The world just got another Guido!’

NEW YORK – “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi early Sunday gave birth to her first child, a boy.

The 24-year-old reality TV star and her fiance, Jionni LaValle, welcomed 6-pound, 5-ounce Lorenzo Dominic LaValle into the world at just before 3 a.m. Sunday at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., MTV said.

“The world just got another Guido!!!” a Polizzi rep told MTV. “Nicole, Jionni & Enzo are doing great!”

MTV congratulated Polizzi and her fiance and looked toward the newborn’s possible appearance on “Jersey Shore.”

“We couldn’t be happier for Nicole and Jionni on the healthy delivery of their baby boy!” a statement said.

Krall honors Neil Armstrong with a song

LOS ANGELES – Diana Krall knows how to pay tribute to Neil Armstrong.

The jazz singer-pianist tenderly played the standard “Fly Me to the Moon” during a Saturday concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

She once was lucky enough to share a glass of wine with the first man to walk on the moon, Krall said. The astronaut died Saturday at 82.

“He’s probably thinking, ‘Do I have to listen to that song again?'” Krall said lightly, after gazing up at the night sky from the stage of the outdoor amphitheater.

The musician also had a message for her husband, Elvis Costello. She performed the classic tune “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” changing the lyric to “his face,” then said she sang it with Costello in mind on his birthday. The rock musician turned 58 on Saturday.

“Happy birthday, EC,” Krall said later as she closed the concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

— From news service reports