Sunday, 17 July 2011

News International

The big story these days is the major unravelling of News International following the triggering news that came out in the trial of Levi Belfield, the man convicted of murdering 13 year-old schoolgirl Millie Dowler. It was revealed that a person or persons working for the News of the World had accessed and in fact deleted messages on the girl's phone after she went missing. The repeated activity led police to believe she was accessing her voice mail, and thus, it's implied, thinking of her as a runaway rather than an abductee in the first few days of her disappearance.
Then we learn her family's phones were also hacked.
And the whole scandal picks up momentum.
We knew they'd been doing it to movie stars, royalty, cheating sports personalities, and we knew there had been investigations. But celebrities don't tug at the heartstrings like a bereaved family of ordinary people, people like us.
And so it rolls on, this crumbling of a once-mighty empire. It thought itself untouchable. It thought politicians were in its pocket, it thought it owned the police.
But now it seems the politicians fear the people more than the Murdoch empire, and that empire is crashing around his ears. The first step of damage limitation was to announce that News of the World would print its last edition, 168 years from its inception. The staff mostly heard about it from the BBC, before their employers told them.
People were resigning too, an inch before they were pushed. Police chiefs. bent detectives.
Then we hear that just prior to announcing the death of news of the world, they've registered web domains for "The Sun on Sunday". Ha! so they think they'll just fill the void with another, indistinguishable paper with a different name? Business as usual?
Oh no.
The prime minister's erstwhile aide, a man with links to the phone tapping is arrested, but hey. they're non-denominational, they've cultivated pals of whatever stripe, dined with the scions of labour as well as the conservatives, oh yes, they'd all thought inviting the tiger to dinner was a good idea, appeasement on a grand scale.
Well. It looks as though it's all over in Britain for Murdoch's business empire. He owns the Wall Street journal too, and Fox News, a network not  famed for journalistic integrity. Now it seems there are allegations that News International played the same hacking tricks with the phones of 9/11 victims and their families, of fire crews, police, medical personnel. The FBI is investigating.

I can't see the company surviving in the U.S. if these stories prove to be true.

Few tears will be shed for Murdoch's losses. I don't imagine this ushers in a new wave of honest press, but I'm glad that some of the scummiest journalists around have reaped their just rewards, and will find no other paper dare employ them.

I never read the News of the World, it's always been an offensive rag. Good riddance.


  1. "I never read the News of the World, it's always been an offensive rag."


    Based on what others have told you to think, then?

  2. I dislike the National Enquirer, the Star, and other lying sop purveyors of the lowest denominators. But I base my opinion on having read them for myself.

    I'm guessing you've never watched Fox News, either. Would I be right?

  3. Well said Soub! The Dirty Digger is collapsing and all around are jumping ship. All except MP's of course who are wailing with false weepings.

  4. Max: Whilst I say "I never read", I do not say "I HAVE never read".

    I tend to read as different newspapers as often as I can. So, in my time, and several times I have read the News of the World. I did read it whilst in hospital, desperate for diversion, but it's not a paper I'd choose to read if something more interesting was available, such as a cornflake carton.

    You might be surprised to know that in this world of global media we can watch Fox News over here too. If there are no cornflake cartons available.

  5. Adullamite: the farce gets funnier. Erstwhile editrix gets arrested. Deputy police chief 'resigns', which, I suppose means he gets to keep his pension.
    Prime mister declares a delay to the start of parliament's jolly holidays, what?
    Oh yes. I'll bet the flights to tuscany and to millionaire's yachts, caribbean islands, will be bereft. All the poor buggers who were expecting a week or two on Rupert's yacht in Monaco, might have to go to Butlins instead.
    Maybe there'll be the usual desultory attendance in the chamber. It's time parliament had a truant officer, to patrol behind the bike-sheds, and drag absent MPs back, squealing, by their firmly twisted ears.

  6. I read your read to be past tense. Sorry. Well, tell me of the lies that Fox News has told then?

    I found out yesterday that Rupert was an American. I always thought he was Australian, just by how he speaks and who he hires. Not so proud to find out, now that I've also seen he is a coward for shutting down that paper in the UK. Sounds like they need to clean house of the criminals, not silence a voice that could just as easily start reporting real news in an honest manner.

    Still, I will have to defer to you since I admit I have never read the newspaper that was forced out of business.

    Translating your cornflake carton comment as "their philosophy and values differ from my own. I prefer to read papers that make me nod in agreement." :)

    Well, I prefer to read things that I don't agree with, just to see what they are up to. I love reading the Huffington Post, even though the Huff herself is no longer aboard. On second thought, there are few papers and news channels that I agree with, so my choice of irritation is wide indeed.

  7. PS - I didn't mean to imply you couldn't watch Fox News "over there." I only assumed you hadn't watched it or hadn't watched it much before judging it. I find it aggravating to watch, mostly because it is only news "analysis" and opinion shows rather than actual news. But what news channel today isn't grinding away at their own agenda and political pets? The same.

  8. Max: Did I accuse Fox News of telling lies?
    I think I did not. It is not necessary to tell lies, (though I have no evidence to say they don't, either), in order to be of doubtful integrity.
    Rupert Murdoch, for instance, is only an American, because it is forbidden for a non american to own an american television broadcasting network. So, he became American. Becoming American meant that he ceased to be australian. But it's okay, because he could still live there, speak like an aussie, and run his media empire there.
    yes, he's got papers that say he's american.
    As they say, if it swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it's probably not an armadillo. Or they would, if the idea had come along sooner.
    Anyway. To me, and doubtless to most people, murdoch's an australian with a U.S. passport, rather than an american with an aussie accent.
    Do I prefer to read papers that share my prejudices? Maybe, but I'd rather say I prefer to read papers that are are full of content which interests me, and are well written.
    I prefer not to read papers which consist mainly of exposes about which celebrity's been caught shagging someone their spouse might not know about.
    Or how their reporter sold fake coke to some well known person.
    As for Fox News. Well, to be fair I'm not keen on any of the U.S. news channels. Fox, though, seems more irritating than the others I've seen.


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