Published on 5 Jul 2011

Is there a conspiracy anywhere within the hacking scandal?

The charge by the family of the murdered teenager, Milly Dowler, that News International hacked into her phone has taken the hacking scandal to a still lower low. The idea that an investigator could have done so, and in doing so deleted messages to make space for more, revolts. Worse that the alleged interference actually led Milly’s family to believe the child was still alive.

The hacking scandal shines a light on the Press Complaints Commission the self regulating body that “regulates” the written press. Other than the expensive recourse to law, it is the only mechanism the citizen has to right wrongs. Yet the PCC’s role in the hacking scandal has been strangely low key. The PCC has within its ranks – as a self regulating body – a number of editors of other papers.

It is no secret amongst those journalists investigating the hacking allegations swirling around News International, that the practice of hacking was not restricted to that stable. Today, News International said a top level team had been appointed to investigate the claims and promised “justice will be done”.

But there has been a political dimension to this issue brought by the ill-timed debate over whether the Murdoch empire should be allowed to take full possession of BSkyB. As a matter of fact the hacking issue appears to have made no dent in the desire by the authorities to allow the take-over to happen.

Both the Tory and Labour parties have enjoyed “close” relations with Rupert Murdoch. Neither has sought to make too much fuss of the hacking issue until Ed Miliband’s overnight statement condemning the Dowler incident. Have old alliances to some extent protected News International from the full force of political outrage? In the Commons it has been left largely to backbench MPs like Gordon Brown’s former bag carrier, Tom Watson.

I believe there are three themes in play. Political compromise, police incompetence, and journalistic “team work”.

The political is as above. The police role is more intriguing. How hard have they investigated? How was it that Tom Watson knew about the Dowler phone hack BEFORE John Yates – the policeman leading the Scotland yard Investigation? Watson spoke of it in the Commons in March and asked Yates what he knew. The policeman knew nothing. Yet the eleven hundred pages of notes made by the News Internernational hired hand, Glen Mulcaire, have been in the hands of the Yard for many months – the Dowler information is contained in those notes. Has the police “incompetence” suited the politicians?

Finally, the role of the media. I know from my own sources that a number of journalists believe that other newspaper stables were hacking the phones of celebrities and others. But it has suited them to keep the focus on the stable that unites all other media operations in rivalry, News International.

This may be seen as a story that fits my “news that bores” category. Beware, this is a matter which touches many aspects of our public life – politics, policing, and media ethics – and potential conspiracies between several of them. We ignore it at our peril.

 

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111 reader comments

  1. Y.S. says:

    Gutter press, all i can say is stop buying them papers.

    1. Chris Snook says:

      Now we hear that Murdoch is shutting the News of The World. Could this actually be his biggest two-fingers coup? He hurts the government by laying workers off; he hurts the workers and unions also – and there is no news of senior executives losing their posts and finally he hurts the victims of the alleged hacking scams as there will no longer be a company to take to court! Clever, or what?

    2. JasonBrown88 says:

      This is a massive story. Why has no one said how they have acted – What is this phone tapping technology and how is it so simple for journalists todo?

      This is such an important story – In the U.S its in the Constitution that each person has their own right to privacy. If the U.K did have a codified constitution this wouldn’t have happened. It breaks rights.

      To turn this on its head; What if our government did such a thing, tapped our phones at will?

      Its proved that (with Gordon brown coming out) Rupert Murdoch’s papers has been hacking everyone.

      The Government needs to directly restrict the control of the associated press, for the defence of our civil liberties. Now thats a weird thing to say.

  2. adrian clarke says:

    What a can of worms!!To what lengths will journalists go to obtain news?Are they freelance or employed by the newspapers?Are their findings in the public interest?Are they obstructing the police in the execution of their duties.There are a never ending series of questions.
    If the journalist uncovers wrong doing ,does that make the hacking legitimate,or should it be outlawed totally.
    I can see it now , the bloggers coming out to castigate the NOW whilst hypocritically maintaining that Assange was perfectly legitimate.I have maintained all along that hacking of any shape or form should be illegal and the perpetrators prosecuted.I do not believe that the NOW was the only part of the media to be involved in such hacking,but what a target for the Murdoch haters.
    Are the Proprieters and managers of NOW any worse than those of the Telegraph for using Wikileaks information? Only to a hypocrit,but there are plenty of those.
    Does public interest exonerate the guilty?Does criminality give an excuse to hack?Is hacking theft?Well not under the definition of theft for there is no depriving the owner of the hacked material.
    A very difficult area where there needs to be clear guidance

    1. Saltaire Sam says:

      So, Adrian, where do you stand on the whistle blowers who revealed the MPs’ expenses scandal?

      There is clearly – or I believe it is clear – a difference between uncovering mere tittle tattle about ‘celebrities’ (though some of them deserve it for their hypocrisy) and exposing corruption and exploitation of politicians and others in positions of authority.

      You could argue that the kind of under-cover filming seen in last night’s dispatches is as bad as hacking into someone’s phone – both invade privacy. surely the test is whether it really is in the public interest and not just of interest to the public.

      We need journalists to be digging around in these murky areas because the wrong doers are not going to hand out press releases of their deeds.

      But our journalists need to have a very high moral threshold – much higher than just what is going to sell more newspapers.

      The Dowler case, to me, is clear cut. Milly’s phone was not going to uncover anything other than a family’s anguish and grief, so it was wrong.

    2. adrian clarke says:

      Saltaire,much of what you write is correct.The problem though ,is there in what you wrote
      “surely the test is whether it really is in the public interest and not just of interest to the public.”
      Who decides?Politicians?Many of whom we know fiddled their expenses.Judges?Unelected arbiters of so called justice?
      Who decides the moral threshold?Could hacking Millies phone have discovered something pertinent?
      Do we have any privacy?Is my phone private, is my PC are the confines of my home.Should they be and able to hide dark secrets?
      I am not sure , but if we want a privacy law it should be debated and written by the British parliament,not by unaccountable foreign judges or our own judges using such legislation.
      Do people want to read about Cheryl Cole,Jordon or errant footballers.Judging by some titles , both newspapers and magazines many clearly do.
      As for your whistle blowers,just what information should they be allowed to divulge and to whom?
      As i said i am not sure , but i hate hypocracy and double standards.

    3. Philip says:

      I’m probably being rather dim about this, but whatever Wikileaks’s hand in it, the information about MPs expenses was made public due to a freedom of information request which was picked up in the Telegraph. In this case, hacking wasn’t necessary.
      The reason for all the tittle-tattle about celebs, etc is “panem et circenses”. Getting people obsessed by the doings of these people (whose influence on our lives is minimal) diverts our attention from what politicians & business (not least bankers) are up to. The hope is that media spotlight on trivia keeps us away from decisions taken that really affect us. That’s why we have Britians Got talent & X factor etc – all these shows where we can “vote” & possibly find we’ve voted for the winner. When it comes for voting for what can really make a difference to our lives, the politicians (aided by the media) lie and mislead & far fewer of us bother to vote. We need a media that relentlessly & transparently hold those who can affect our lives – politicians. civil servants & businesses – to account, applying the same ethical standards they’d wish to eb applied to them.

    4. Saltaire Sam says:

      Adrian, I accept it is difficult. I believe that the initial judges of what should be done are the journalists but overseen by a complaints procedure that is a) independent and b) has real teeth so that anyone who oversteps what is deemed to be acceptable knows they face more than a slap on the wrist.

      Ultimately the judge will be public opinion – I’m willing to bet the NoW will lose sales because of the hacking of Milly and the parents of the Soham girls, and that together with the loss of advertising, will quickly make Rupert act.

    5. MJ says:

      Seemingly given that MPs obviously enjoy different statute of limitations laws to Jo Public. The police investigation only delved into sitting MPs expenses not past thefts by former Parliaments. I expect Murdoch will also hold a get out of Jail free card for a chosen few. The need for a French style revolution perhaps the only way to rid ourselves of these above the law beings.

  3. Peter Stewert says:

    I’d not call “conspiracy” on this either, but a lot of other c-words leap to mind, but mainly “collusion” and “clique”. We have senior offices on the what passed for an investigation first time through now working for NI. The editior of the news of the screws at the time is now a senior executive in NI and a close friend of the David Cameron. This isn’t a consipracy as such, but the attitude and dedication to looking anyway (e.g., all the other tabloids that are guilty as sin but hoping no one notices them) isn;t that far away.

    Given how much embarressment (to put it mildly), and how wide the impact, I’m only really surprised that the story continues.

    You a grand man youself Mr Snow, but journalism in the UK makes our politicions look honest as a pound in your pocket and almost grown-up.

  4. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    This scandal personally breaks my heart.

    On the night mum died 3 yrs ago she left me messages which were deleted as she died.

    The hackers who ever they are also change the course of events by intercepting. They have voice devices. They break up marriages , bring down firms, break up relationships and everyone lives in denial in case they are called unstable.

    Just imagine how the parents of that beautiful girl feel. I can’t even bear to comment.Hackers have been more widespread than we all think. Some even do it for a joke. Sick eh?

  5. Punk Rock Kick says:

    I wish heads would roll, but I fear nothing much will happen. How serious can it get when one organisation hacks a serving PM,the royal family,murder victims, rape victims, and senior police officers – and yet it`s still untouchable.

    that in itself casts a shadow over the bodies entrusted to guard us citizens against such intrusion – where are they?

    I can get done just by sitting in the car with a laptop using someone`s wi – fi without their permission,so how can a corporation hack a persons mobile phone?

    Thats two important questions that we all know the answer to. The problem is, it`s not a nice answer. It means we (the public) really don`t have a clue about where the balance of power lies in britain.

    Let`s hope something good comes out of it.

  6. Colin Talbot says:

    I think Jon underestimates what has happened today – this issues has migrated from being of interest to “politics heavy” people to the vast “politics light” majority because of the Dowler case. And there is probably ‘worse’ to come. Brooks non-denial denial – ‘it is inconceivable that I knew’ – just opens up a whole new can of worms. This has escalated from low level scandal into full blown crisis.

  7. stveed says:

    None of this surprises me as British tabloid so called!!!! jounalists have been known for many years and are still known today all over the world as being the absolute scum of the earth and 1 rung below pondscum,and politicians who have been and still are in the political pocket of Murdoch and Co are no better.I feel so sorry for Mr & Mrs Dowler and also the parents of Holly Wells & Jessica Chapman.

  8. adrian clarke says:

    What a diabolical piece of journalism tonight on the phone hacking saga.
    What a magnificent word is “alleged”.It allows reporters to say what they wish.The report may be totally true,but there is not a shred of evidence produced by channel 4 to that effect,on tonights program.
    Is this a continuation of trial by the media?Could it affect any future prosecution?Is it in the public interest to make any allegations?
    No wonder i started blogging.You need someone to try to keep you on the straight and narrow

  9. Ray Turner says:

    Well yes, I agree. Its outrageous.

    But I would add that IF the NOTW had gained some clues to the identity of the killer which had led to an early arrest it would be a very different story…

    1. Philip says:

      I think that’s better left to the police, don’t you?

  10. loganmg says:

    its disgusting what the news of the world and the sun have been up to,and for the editors to say they didnt know how thier staff were getting to stories is total rubbish.the editors should be jailed for allowing it to happen. maybe though jailing them other papers would think again about how they go about getting stories. I feel so sorry for milly’s parents and now the poor soham girls family are affected its totally out of order.

  11. Mark Harrison says:

    “In the public interest” How many times have we heard that phrase to excuse the methods of newspapers to uncover news stories on the rich and famous. I despise the hypocrisy that we all know exists within News International and the corruption that taints the Met that I find this of huge “public interest”. Seeing tonights Channel 4 news I echo the rallying sentiments of actor Hugh Grant that we need “courageous” journalists to uncover this practice of phone hacking and how deep and sickening it went. The News of the World needs to be shaken, it needs to take account of itself and at least pause in the practice of ruination and misery of individuals/ families for the sake of breaking stories and making profits. It needs to be seen that breaking such a moral code brings with it massive financial penalties and actual jail sentences for contempt of court and interference in police investigations. No more “slaps on the wrist” . I hope Jon Snow pursues this with continued vigor as I suspect this story is going to be HUGE. I don’t believe for one moment this will stop the practice, but to just see the NOW finally brought low and humbled would make my day. It would be a “Portillo moment

  12. Phil in Southampton says:

    We know that Rebekah Brooks admitted that her journalists paid money to policeman in return for information. How else do we suppose that the Paparazzi turn up outside a police station even before a C list celebrity is bailed for drugs use or drunk driving. When will someone finally ask what all of us must be wondering, have the police colluded with the tabloid press to help cover up this wrong doin?

    Are some members of the the Met guilty of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice?

    1. Gorgonchops says:

      Phil is that you Bruv ?….its me Grant….Rebekahs ex…be careful mate shes` got a blinding right hander….here Phil, me & Jon & the dispatches team have got a blinding set of documentaries coming up soon…Me & Jon are going to Nigeria
      Pakistan & a few other exotic locations….
      Jons shaving his head & weve got him a new white vest….to “rip the lid off” police corruption
      & other “cans of wriggling worms”…..
      Whats that Phil?….any chance of exposing UK issues & corruption ?…nah mate,dont wanna upset to many apple carts close to home,do we Bruv..leave that to the Guardian…..
      Jon & I will Catch you later Bruv, down the Vic with Damian Mcbride,Desmo Draper Big Charlie Whelan…Alistair wont be there…hes off the bottle these days….
      dont think Osborne will turn up either…hes busy these days….

  13. sue_m says:

    The C word that springs to my mind (amongst others) is not conspiracy but corruption. We have a discredited organisation already proven to have invaded privacy in pursuit of its own profits not only ‘investigating’ its own actions but at the same time unashamedly being allowed by our current crop of self-serving politicians to take over ever larger chunks of the media.
    If that doesn’t prove how corrupt politics truly is, I don’t know what does. Those who claim to serve our country are no better than the gutter press they kowtow to. More media control by Murdoch will ensure more fear of him and more opportunities for him to push his own agenda. Rebekah Wade disgusts me. I admire women who reach the top via high standards of work but to reach it by successfully running the sleaziest of tabloids and now trying to look professional and concerned about the methods by which that sleaze was gathered is pathetic. People with the lowest moral standards run some of the most powerful organisations in the UK,it is time we had a written constitution and kept big business and politics financially separate.
    Good on Hugh Grant for saying what many think but MPs choose to ignore.

  14. David r Matthews says:

    The phone-tapping relating to the two Soham girls is surely a nail in the coffin of News International.
    Firstly the press clearly needs the same controls as other media, and the Press complaints authority must be replaced by a government-sponsored orgainisation with teeth.
    Second, the relationships with News International and both the Metropolitan Police and politicians – both Blair and Cameron are to blame here – need scrutiny.
    Finally, any further power of NI is out of the question – Vince Cable was right!

  15. Mudplugger says:

    What is emerging at the heart of this issue is the unhealthy, but long-established, triangular relationship between politicians, press corporates and the police.

    That the first two may see mutual self-interest in that relationship comes as no surprise, but the depth to which the police appear to be corrupted, probably to a most senior level, is the most serious feature.

    However, what organisation exists to investigate and expose the true nature of this corruption so that it may be eradicated and the agents of it be brought to account ? Other than ‘Private Eye’, I’m struggling to nominate any national body (including Channel 4) free enough of the taint in order to pursue it with credible diligence.

    Where’s Paul Foot when you need him ?

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Mudplugger, so channel 4 doesn’t use nefarious moves and journalists to get its information ???? Pull the other one .Just like Saltaire’s “Guardian”
      It is a reporter’s job to get information.He will get it anywhere anyway possible including stretching the rules or breaking the law.Without it there are many facts , fiddles and downright official crimes that would go unreported.Should we know that Hugh Grant went with a prostitute in a car??Well he makes money from an adoring public so why not.I’d sooner that than listen to him pontificating about privacy on a news programme.
      Will i stop reading the Sun and NOW?Of course not.They carry all the news that other papers do and yes they also reveal major scandals like betting on sport and many more.
      Do we want newspapers that are nice to governments and toe the party line.That let celebrities hide behind privacy laws ,whilst raking in millions based on their supposedly clean cut image.If not can anyone suggest how they get their information?

    2. Peter Stewert says:

      Though I’d not move anyone from their usual chip wrapping, everyone should dip in to Private Eye every once and a while. While other papers do carry-out important investigations, using less than honest means, no one else is as persistent as Private Eye nor as independent, for instance, you’ll not find another news organisation that has kept tract of the NI phone hacking from the get go, and all the way through, and also unafraid to call all else out for singling out one Murdock-ridden apple when the collusion and (thanks sue_m) corruption is spread across the industry, our parliament, and amongst the Met.

      Journalisms need to look to getting the professional back in their profession, because there a precious few Snows and Foots to see among the their succeeding generations.

    3. Saltaire Sam says:

      Adrian, have you worked out quite what you believe? One minute you are berating us all for not condemning Asange, whom you seem to want locked up and possibly hanged drawn and quartered.

      Now you write: ‘It is a reporter’s job to get information.He will get it anywhere anyway possible including stretching the rules or breaking the law.Without it there are many facts , fiddles and downright official crimes that would go unreported.’

      You can’t have it both ways, just because Asange is a foreigner.

      But at least you have it right at last. There are times, as the incredibly honest Paul McMullan points out, when it is valid for journalists to work in those ‘gray areas’ in order to uncover serious wrong doing, especially by our polititicians. The delicate part is for journalists to know when to do it and when not to, and for that we need a truly independent regulator with powers to hurt those who overstep the mark.

    4. adrian clarke says:

      Saltaire , though you took my quote out of context , you are quite right.I am all over the place on this for several reasons.
      I do not believe anyone has to right to either phone hack or tap.The police have to get permission of a judge so to do.
      Simply hacking is illegal and the culprits can be locked up .Hanging , drawn and quartered might put a stop to it and the majority of murders :) I am all for them facing the full force of the law.
      The passing of information illegally obtained is also illegal ,yet it uncovers a multitude of sins.It is difficult to regulate against it and still maintain a freedom of information.Even the imposition of a British privacy law could conceal information that is in the public interest.I detest the fact that such a law can be imported and enacted by unelected judges who use the excuse of an independent judiciary to justify it.
      Has the protection of a journalist to refuse to divulge his source gone now?
      Whatever happens the media must be free to report,so although this is an unsavoury episode one can see a judge trying to curtail that freedom in a public enquiry.

    5. sue_m says:

      Adrian, will you stop reading the NoW? Er, well… that’ll be a yes now then.

    6. adrian clarke says:

      Sue -m I have no choice but it is a crying shame that a newspaper dies this way.Others have gone because they couldn’t compete.The NOW in reality because of a private investigator,not particularly because of its journalists or editorial team.
      If you step back, remove all prejudices,forget NI ,Sky and monopoly what has happened?
      A private investigator has hacked phones . Illegal and he has done time for it.It is also repulsive ,some of the phones he has hacked.We have not been told either the reason he hacked the phones or the information he obtained.As a PI did he write articles on the information he obtained or did he pass it on .Was he requested to hack the phones and if so who by?If information was passed , who to and was it known where it was obtained from?
      How did he obtain the phone numbers of the phones he hacked?Were the Police complicit in it?
      Did he work for just one company? Did he work alone?He seems to have had 1000’s under surveillance,and it would have been difficult alone.
      The similarities to wikileaks and Assange are striking.The difference here is that those wishing to have a go at Murdoch have the perfect chance.

    7. sue_m says:

      Believe me Adrian, my views are not based on prejudice. I have no need to pre-judge. I have worked for a News Corp company. In some ways it was the best time of my working life but also gave me personal experience of the culture. Those at the top know very well what is going on at the bottom and one has to perform and conform to their expectations. Rogue elements dont last, you have to fit their ethos.
      Why do you think all that has happened is one PI hacked some phones? Of course that isn’t all that has happened – you even contradict yourself by pointing out he couldnt have worked alone due to the sheer volume of the hacking.
      Even were he the only PI, he was not alone. He was requested and paid by journo’s and they in turn authorised by their management. There is no doubt of that. Rebekah Brooks has also already admitted the police were paid – does her involvement not count to you? Does the fact that she is the Chief Exec of NI not indicate to you they are involved?
      That’s what has happened and we are now finding out that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
      Perhaps it is your own prejudice that prevents you accepting what is staring us all in the face.

  16. Saltaire Sam says:

    As this story gets murkier with its tentacles stretching into some powerful places, let’s raise a cheer for the much maligned Guardian – the only newspaper who had the guts to go with the story and stick with it when everyone was criticising them.

    1. Marverde says:
  17. badsnaper says:

    Without a doubt conspiracy. A super quick explanation of a paper newsroom-Nothing gets paid for without editorial consent, Not even lunch. Journalists work hand in pocket with editors and editors live on the grace of their publishers. Legal distance is supplied by hiring photographers and journalists from agencies. At the time the culture of journalism was in a radical flux (it still is to some extent) with the intoxicating thrill of the chase and fear of being fired people did some crazy things to get results. Phone tapping was an open secret and used by almost ALL papers, in particular N.I. Using off duty police to follow celebs, private investigators hired full time as “freelance”, bribing court officials… the list is long. So where is the conspiracy? The politicians and mandarins in the pockets of Murdock (you cant get elected without him) either directly or indirectly. They pressure the police and down it goes. There is no interest in following something so universally embarrassing.
    However these are actually signs that someone is looking out for the underbelly and hypocrisy. The market I now work in is hopelessly weak and it shows.

  18. flashjumper says:

    The Elephant in the Living Room is of course the NewsCorp takeover of BSKYB. Hacking a missing victims phone in the middle of a police investigation? If this isn’t a criminal charge, what is? And what other firm so MIRED in phone hacking AND police bribery would be considered at all. The BSKYB award needs to come to an emergency stop immediately & all parties need to distance themselves from Murdoch & his flunkies. Finally- what exactly ARE the privacy laws in this country that allows tampering with private phones?

  19. C.M. says:

    Congratulations on the interview with Simon Greenberg last night. He was similarly inept on the Today programme this morning.

    Interesting that, before moving to head of PR at Chelsea FC, Greenberg was a journalist on the News of the World.

    What goes around comes around

  20. adrian clarke says:

    If anyone believes that it is only the journalists on the NOW and Sun that act this way , they are seriously mistaken .
    I have an allegation on good authority that it happens all the time,through all the media, including the paying of Police Officers for information,not that i was ever paid :)
    There is so much hypocracy on this blog and on channel 4 it beggers belief.
    Hacking is illegal, yet all the mobile phone companies not only hold our personal details but every conversation we utter.Where are the supporters of Wikileaks on here in relation to the offences committed by Assange and his cronies.If NOW and any other journalists are found to have hacked and are prosecuted, shouldn’t Assange be sent to the USA for trial.
    To my mind all hackers, whether of mobile phones or computers or other personal information should be prosecuted.It is time a British privacy law was produced,and within it the protection of whistle blowers.Having said that a whistle blower should lose his/her protection if they go to a National Newspaper rather than the relevant authorities.If that were the case would we have found out about the Expenses scandal.Of course not so beware what you wish for.

    1. sue_m says:

      Judging by comments, most are aware that it is not only NoW but as the group that owns NoW holds such influence over our governments and exercises its somewhat unpleasant might at will, it is this case people are focussed on.
      I am no fan of Julian Assange but isn’t his information obtained by people involved sending it to him. I’m not saying its legal for them to take that info but there’s a huge difference between exposing wrongdoing due to your own conscience and using illegal methods to obtain information on vulnerable people in order to increase your own profits.
      As for whistleblowers not being protected unless they go to the relevant authorities – who are these authorities? Most authority appears to be corrupt and irrelevant and would likely suppress the story (or the person) anyway. So how then would the rest of us find out what was going on? Good investigative journalism is definitely needed – but the NI tabloids don’t engage in that.
      This story is huge – 40 years ago ministers or a PM even remotely involved with such scandal would have resigned in shame. These days they just wave their dinner party chums plans through and pretend all the sleaze is not their concern.

    2. Marverde says:

      Sue, “following orders” hasn’t been a defence since Nuremberg. Whistleblowing is saying “not in my name”.

      When we learn of something unlawful or outright criminal, it is our duty as human beings to report it, whether we have signed an official secrets act or not. If Manning did it, he did well. Wikileaks did well.

      News International, the government/s and the bribed police did wrong.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Sue-m you assumefar too much.You have no idea of anyone’s involvement beyond the fact we know one journalist hacked into phones.
      He has actually served a prison term for so doing.It is often the case that Police knowing a lot more than they prosecute,leave some offences on the books.I am not suggesting that happened here for i do not know.
      I can see no reason for a minister of any party to resign over this matter.Under your guidelines you might say that some of the information produced by this hacker was good investagative journalism.
      “but the NI tabloids don’t engage in that.” is such a ridiculous comment i can think of no suitable printable answer.
      You have, however ,made a valid point about whistle blowers.We need to decide what freedom of information we want in a free and open society.

    4. sue_m says:

      Maverde, I agree. Perhaps i put it badly but my point was that whistleblowing is healthy if it exposes wrongdoing whereas dirt-digging and bribery for profit is not. Its just that i find Assange a rather creepy individual and not entirely sure of his motives.
      Adrian, my comment was not ridiculous – NI tabloids may investigate (to use the term loosely) but they are clearly not good and many would say its gossip mongering not journalism.
      I cannot make out where you stand on this due to your conflicting comments but the one thing that seems clear is that you appear to have some sympathies with NI. Which only begs the question … what have they got on you Adrian? :o)

    5. adrian clarke says:

      Awww sue – m at least you make me laugh sometimes.I have no feelings whatsoever on NI.If Murdoch gets Sky i couldn’t care less,i will never pay to watch it.I wouldn’t even pay my TV licence were it not for my partner.
      I read all the papers but buy the Sun and NOW.I dont have to but won what was a large sum of money £500 on their bingo about 15 years ago,so i have stayed loyal even when they supported Blair and his war on Iraq,and you should know my politics and views on both of those.
      I am even loyal to Jon but i believe he has a serious left wing bias.
      I say what i believe sue, and am beholden to no one but my partner,who surprisingly agrees with me on most of my blogs.

    6. sue_m says:

      You have no feelings on NI? But if you believe in democracy and that parliament should be elected to serve the needs and represent the wishes of the public then how can you not care if Murdoch gets Sky? Or even if he doesn’t, do you not care about how cosy ‘our’ government is with one man and his organisation? Is it ok to run the country in the interests of that organisation rather than us, the voting and paying public? Given that you appear to be on the side of freedom of choice, I am stunned that you don’t care about an organisation that strangles freedom of choice at every opportunity.

    7. adrian clarke says:

      Sue-m,what a strange diatribe.Are you so wrapped up in the media industry that it affects you in any way whatsoever.I do not have the same problem with the NI titles being it the Sun, NOW Times etc.They report the news and infact often have a go at the lack of democracy both within government and the wider community.I do not base my opinions on any newspaper or individual.I do not believe our politicians should get too close to various media outlets except to get their message across,maybe,but those same outlets should not have power either to change governments or government policy.
      Apart from that they are a business and one hopes free to lawfully produce the news and opinions.They also need to make a profit to survive.Would you rather they were stifled as we have seen in the injunction saga, by the legal profession, or regulated and controlled as we see in Islamic and communist countries.
      If you don’t like their politics don’t read them or watch them.I do both so i can disagree and state my oiwn opinion of them

    8. sue_m says:

      What? Adrian, your initial para makes no sense to me at all. And the others don’t seem to have much relevance to anything asked above.
      Big business corrupting politics/police affects everyone regardless of their political persuasion or what papers they do or don’t read.

    9. adrian clarke says:

      Sue you should really read what you blog.The opening paragraph was in relation to your comment
      that you worked for News Corp.
      “Big business corrupting politics/police affects everyone regardless of their political persuasion or what papers they do or don’t read.”
      Where is your proof for that nonsensical statement?Was it from the corrupting influence of the Gardian or BBC,both of which have a vested interest in this whole saga.Or even channel 4 where we have a left wing bias probably fearful of the right wing influence of the Murdoch brand

    10. sue_m says:

      Adrian, you should read more carefully – I said I have worked for a News Corp company. I no longer work for them and have never been ‘wrapped up’ in the media even when I did. I am far to independent a spirit to fit in with that club.
      If you think corruption of our police and politicians is nonsensical and doesn’t affect joe public you must be incredibly naive or just in total denial.
      As for proof – where is your proof that the BBC or Guardian have a vested interest? A rather inflammatory statement given that the Murdoch empire has a vested interest in castrating the BBC and influencing politics is one of the ways to go about it. Why is everything left or right wing to you? Can you not simply differentiate between right and wrong, honest or corrupt?

    11. adrian clarke says:

      Sue of course the Guardian has a vested interest.It is in direct competition with the Murdoch titles and its sales are suffering,
      Similarly the BBC ,for Sky takes a large part of its audience particularly the sporting side.
      As for channel 4 it is in the advertising war from where it gets its revenue.Would you not call that vested interests??
      Everything is not left or right , infact Blair moved Labour to the centre to appeal to more voters now it has gone back to its traditional left roots.I didn’t coin the terms they are traditional political terms for certain political beliefs.
      As to right or wrong , have i ever suggested NOW and the hackers were in the right.NO , yet some say it can be legitimate ,even if illegal.
      Were is your proof of corruption , either political or the police.I accept there may be elements of the police who are corrupt , having allegedly taken payment for passing information and then trying to cover it up,but at this stage though likely it is not yet proven.
      It now becomes not only trial by media but tial by bloggers

    12. sue_m says:

      The BBC, Guardian et al have an interest in how any competition is doing -although in the case of the BBC it is not for reasons of directly competing for revenue of course. But whether they have a vested interest in this saga or seeing the perpetrators brought to justice is open to debate since it will not affect their business. Whether NI survives or not there will be other competition and new titles will fill the gaps. The NoW readers are a rather different demographic to Guardian readers so unlikely to switch to that title.
      As for Sky, it won’t be going anywhere regardless of what happens with Murdoch and News Corp.
      I am not sure what you need to convince you regarding corruption – when the person who authorised payments to the police tells an enquiry that this happened, is that not enough for you? Do you actually need to be there watching the used notes being handed over before you will accept it?

    13. adrian clarke says:

      Sue you really do have that guardianistic mentality.I have already stated that there have long been papers receiving and paying for information from the Police.It has operated in many cases for the mutual benefit of both.Yes that might be termed corruption,but reading your blogs that wasn’t the corruption you were alluding to or i was answering.That is that the Police were corrupt in their handling of the investigation , and that is certainly not proven at this moment in time ,though it may prove to be correct.
      Had you ever served in the Police you would realise that there is belief ,suspicion and even knowledge that an offence has been committed, but it is meaningless without evidence and proof.Without them it is open to an action of slander or libel.Or though of a minor type there is much libel written in these blogs,particularly by the Guardian resders.The latest being the accusation of the SUN accessing GB’s sons medical records

    14. sue_m says:

      Guardianistic mentality? Good grief, what is the definition of that? I can only guess it must be the determined mentality that the Guardian showed in pursuing this story of hacking and corruption and finally bringing it to light and doing us all a service. So it must be a compliment (I’m flattered :-))
      As for the corruption I was ‘alluding to’ I think having mentioned payments to police in several posts makes it fairly clear what I consider corruption. What fascinates me more is your statement that it ‘might be’ termed corruption. Might be? It is corruption plain and simple. What mentality have you Adrian? Would that be termed a NoW’istic mentality – where one creates ones own definitions of basic moral, legal or ethical norms.

    15. adrian clarke says:

      Sue you aught to be a politician.Answering the bits you want and twisting the rest,or completely ignoring that you have no answer for :)

    16. Saltaire Sam says:

      Adrian, when I read your last response to Sue, for some reason the words pot, black and kettle came to mind. Why on earth was that, I wonder? The subconscious mind is such a mystery :-)

    17. adrian clarke says:

      Lets be clear,paying for and receiving information is not a criminal offence.Similarly paying a police officer for information is not a criminal offence.A police officer taking money is a discipliniary offence ,for which he can be dismissed,even if there is no criminality. However it does open him up to blackmail and cohersion and can therefore be corrupt.So no in a legal sense it is not corruption plain and simple.It is as i stated possible corruption,and has to be proved.
      As much as you would like it to be corruption plain and simple,you follow the guardian line that all payments are corrupt and thereby all police officers and all NI executives are too.
      I suppose companies we use ,selling on our names,using your criterior,are all corrupt.What a narrow view of the law :)

    18. sue_m says:

      Sam, i am hurt! Calling me a politician fine but i am nowhere near as close to Adrian as a pot is to a kettle.
      Adrian. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to answer (or even read)everything you write. But i am twisting nothing. Your interpretation of what i posted was wrong – I corrected you and explained my actual meaning. I cannot help that you read only what you want to see in what people write. Nor can i help that your own views and definitions are so narrow.
      Corruption doesn’t always involve a crime although often leads to one along the line. It can be moral or ethical. We do not elect our MPs so they can turn a blind eye when their chums use dubious means to increase profits at the expense of fair competition. Nor do we pay our police so they can sell our details for personal gain.
      These people are all in a position of power and trust which requires the highest ethical and moral standards as well as legal ones. A very different role to companies who create lists of sales leads and sell to business (talk of twisting things, where did that come from?) They are required to operate to guidelines and/or legal requirements -depending on the communication media used.

    19. adrian clarke says:

      Sue it is difficult to disagree with you when you chasnge your meaning having lost the argument.Moral corruption is not a crime and you have been asking for the law to be inviked so you must have meant
      ““Corruption is any course of action or failure to act by individuals or organizations, public or private, in violation of law or trust for profit or gain.”

      Definition of corruption by INTERPOL
      It is quite clear to everyone, that is what you meant, and i am quite correct it is a crime but has to be proven.

    20. sue_m says:

      Adrian you really are comic. Having lost the argument you are ever more desperately clutching at ways to ‘prove’ you know what i think better than i do! Derren Brown you are not. I am sure it is quite clear to everyone what my posts mean – everyone but you that is.
      Thank you though, for pointing out that Interpol’s definition of corruption determines it as in violation of law or Trust for profit or gain. It is good to know they see it the same way i do.

  21. stveed says:

    I seen this Greenberg charecter trying and failing spectacularly to defend and insulate Rebekah Brooks in one interview after another.What disturbed me more was seeing that former NOTW reporter on Newsnight last night who when asked if he was disgusted and shocked like everyone else he so obviously struggled to answer and obviously thinks that there was nothing wrong at all with phone hacking anyone

  22. Stephen Cuddy says:

    In 2005 as editor of the News of the World Andy Coulson hired private investigator Jonathan Rees.
    In 2000 Jonathan Rees was convicted for perverting the course of justice. Rees was conspiring to plant cocaine on an innocent woman to discredit her prior to an imminent custody battle with her estranged husband. The estranged husband was a client of Rees. This illegal operation was to involve a current police officer planting the drugs in a car. Rees was released from prison in 2005.
    Andy Coulson as editor of NOTW from 2003-2007 employed Rees with full knowledge of his criminal activities. It is impossible for Coulson to plead ignorance.

  23. Philip Edwards says:

    Jon,

    You would surely be better asking why this kind of disgusting extreme garbage has been allowed to go unremarked by mainstream media for so long.

    The only people to take on Murdoch’s gang of extreme right wing propagandist thugs were the good people of Liverpool. Twenty years ago they spontaneously boycotted his rags following the lies peddled by Kelvin Mackenzie and other gang members at the Sun after the Hillsborough disaster. Through peaceful action they destroyed Murdoch’s economic base in the region. They were the only ones who had the courage to take him on and give him and his ilk a sound thrashing. Today you would be hard put to find any of his newspapers when visiting the city.

    Would that mainstream media and the rest of the country had shown such decent courage and solidarity! If they had, we might not be stuck in the kind of tacky, rotten-to-the-core ultra right culture we currently endure.

    But maybe we deserve what we get from Murdoch and his bought and paid for politicians and policemen.

  24. adrian clarke says:

    Philip Edwards do you really think the truth came out about Hillsborough?It was a shocking disaster caused by too many people flooding a particular entrance, but were the Police solely to blame for that?I do not recall either anyone calling the Sun to account,but you sound as if you prefer the Marxist regime of secret police and subservient newspapers,for like it or not there is a press freedom .You may not like the end result but it is better than the alternative your words seem to suggest.

    1. Peter Stewert says:

      http://www.southyorks.police.uk/sites/default/files/foi/significantpublicinterest/hillsborough%20stadium%20disaster%20final%20report.zip

      Whatever else you can say about the police , they have made the report easily accessible (see above). Pity the inquiry was focused only on ground safety rather than the whole handling of the tragedy. If the Scum and News of the Screws had tried a similar presumptive and grossly insensitive headline during other recent tragedies we’d… well we’d still be in the same mess just one of the other tabloids or pseudo-broadsheets, just with one or two fewer papers to reform.

  25. Noel Bell says:

    It is obvious that Murdoch’s crew clearly have some muck on senior MPS detectives and that has been the reason for hitherto feeble police investigations in this area thus far.

  26. Albalha says:

    This from BBC Scotland this evening
    Strathclyde police are to be asked to investigate Coulson’s evidence to Sheridan trial, Sheridan’s lawyer to raise it tomorrow. Tom Watson will hold press conference with the laywer in Glasgow and give more information re Coulson and Rebekah Brooks.

    1. Tom Wright says:

      Very pertinent comment – because SHERIDAN WAS GUILTY. He is a lying perjurer.

      How many other crooks will are watching the news, hoping that phone hacking will crush their case?

      Not sure we really want to open that can of worms? Police/Media collusions has gone on for years, not just as bribery – careers are made on big stories on both sides of the fence – lunch with Journalists is a staple of police drama, from Frost to Midsummer Murders. Its not new, its not shocking, and I’m not even sure its bad.

    2. adrian clarke says:

      Tom,you are quite right,not only about Shrridan but about the police and journalists.
      It is a very difficult one,for if certain information isn’t passed a lot of people could get away with wrongdoing,that the media help to highlight,and yet it is deemed illegal.Is it illegal perse or is it the passing of money that is illegal

  27. adrian clarke says:

    I’m following this scenario closely,because it is alleged that many police officers not just of the metropolitan police were paid by journalists for information leading to stories.
    I find it impossible to believe that in all Jon’s years as a top journalist he has never paid people for information, be they police officers or others.
    It was interesting that on tonights news , i missed the name but the gentleman said he had identified in the past over 30 news titles that employed such methods,but the concentration is on News International and not other titles.I didn’t hear the Guardian editor being asked whether any of his journalists paid for information,and had he have been i wonder what his answer would have been!!!!!
    I wonder where news outlets are going to obtain their stories in future?
    I have always spoken out against hacking of any type , but why is there such a deafening silence about Wikileaks and about our hackers wanted for extradition to the USA.
    The hypocracy is there to see on the news ,in the other papers and in these blogs.
    I appear to be the only one who believes hackers should be locked up unless they work for News International

  28. NewsHatch says:

    If David Cameron want a “Big Society”, he’d better get everyone on board.
    Apart from private citizens strapped for money, energy and time, this includes his chums at News International for starters – he has dined with Rebekah, hosted Rupert at N°10 and has employed Coulson. Can’t he prevail on them?
    Next the Big financial institutions and mega companies who respectively leach money from the economy and avoid paying taxes – perhaps not in that order come to think of it. Oh, and the Utilities come to that.
    Otherwise, what the hell does “Big Society” mean? A playground for Rich Interests?
    And the rest of us can grub along?

    1. roger says:

      Hear Hear !! Well said !!

  29. English Pensioner says:

    As the Police apparently see nothing wrong is selling details of victims of road accidents to ambulance chasing lawyers and recovery firms, why should they see anything wrong with selling the phone numbers and details of victims of crime to newspapers?

  30. skr says:

    Well it looks eveyone is in it except general public. If NOW and other media sale their stories after buying it from whatever source it is to me like prostitute journalism and to hire and threaten the police ( most of it already true) for despicable stories only Journalists can go down that low. You can pay on the phone and get your story, doesn’t really matter where it comes from, that seem to be Tabloid journalism these days. We coomon man on street should hurt them where it does most stop buying them. Doctors faced this back lash after Bristol case and Shipman murders, may be Press complaints commission and other regulatory bodies have to be independentant and free of media interest to investigate any complaints; likewise police shouldn’t investigate their own wrongdoing. Sure this is simple commonsence NOW needs to understand.

  31. Philip Edwards says:

    Jon,

    Finally….finally…..some mainstream media figures are waking up to the terribel threat to democracy represented by Rupert Murdoch and his miasma of far right corruption. Here’s the latest example (if you haven’t already read it):
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/andreas-whittam-smith/andreas-whittam-smith-if-we-dont-act-now-worse-will-follow-2307923.html

    This one isn’t too surprising, since James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks invaded the Independent newspaper in April 2010 and subjected editor Simon Kelner to a foul mouthed tirade because he exposed Cameron’s back door deal for support (similar to that struck with right wing puppets New Labour) and had opposed Murdoch’s corrupt monopoly. This is the same thug James Murdoch who attacked the BBC in August 2009 at the most appalling MacTaggart lecture in living memory. See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/aug/28/james-murdoch-bbc-mactaggart-edinburgh-tv-festival

    And the Murdochs are the charlatans and corrupters the Tories now want to hand over yet more of our TV media to. If that is allowed to happen let us hear no more of Tory “society,” for the truth is they don’t even know the meaning of the word.

  32. Marverde says:

    Follow the money, they say. It is the source of all corruption.

    So, reverse it. “Do a Liverpool” country-wide, global-wide, and the stench of corruption reduces dramatically.

    Stop buying their papers, their services, their products and they die of starvation.

    Stop voting for them, and they cannot get a foot in government.

    But for people to unite against the corrupted triunvirate of government, corporations and police, and to respond actively by withdrawing their consent (persistently, not just for a week while the uproar of the latest scandal is at its highest), we need the education in civility and morality that we have been actively denied.

    If people cannot make the link between buying a paper and condoning the corruption of its owners, next year we’ll be talking about the phone of a new Milly, the bribe of a new policeman, the lies of the same corporations and the betrayal of the same government.

  33. Meg Howarth says:

    With you there, Sam, and here’s the full text, via Twitter, of the truly contemptible Brooks’ 2009 letter to John Whittingdale, chair of the HoC select committee on media, interviewed last night on either C4 or Newsnight. Talk about eating words, given her statements of ‘Thorough investigations by the police’, ‘The Guardian has misled the British public’

    http://t.co/mmWsL1X.

    Adrian: as a champion of the Co-op bank, sorry to hear you won’t be boycotting NOTW. As you’ll know by now, the Co-op has pulled its advertising with the paper following pressure from members:

    CO-OPERATIVE GROUP SUSPENDS NEWS OF THE WORLD ADVERTISING

    The Co-operative Group has taken the decision to suspend temporarily any further advertising and promotional activity with the News of the World until the outcome of the investigation is known.

    The Group is a consumer-owned business which adheres to strong ethical standards. These allegations have been met with revulsion by the vast majority of members who have contacted us.

    We would urge everyone involved to bring this matter to a speedy conclusion for the sake of all those who are affected by these events. [Ends]
    Corporate Affairs
    Public Relations

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Meg, why should i boycott any newspaper?Like it or not the NOW has been involved in many scoops in its lifetime as have most of our Dailies and Sundays.
      Motor racing banned cigarette advertising,it didn’t stop me supporting it.I can not stand the politics of the Guardian but it doesn’t stop me reading it.
      I have never let another person except within the confines of a job tell me what i can and can not do lawfully.I also respect others rights to the same.
      Just because the Co-Op has pulled its advertising from the NOW ,has it and others done the same from all of Murdoch’s titles?If not do you consider that hypocritical or is it just the NOW at fault?

  34. adrian clarke says:

    Where are our thumbs again ????

  35. sue_m says:

    So now they shut the paper down in a cynical attempt to make the mess go away. Well the organisation may not still be there to prosecute but the individuals responsible are still around – some still at NI. And when they are prosecuted lets hope the cosy relationship with govt’s gets fully exposed. Cameron’s employment of Coulson and Hunt’s paving of the way for the BSkyB takeover aren’t done out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s time politicians were reminded they are elected to serve the public not to be servile to greedy powerful corporations.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      So political sue!!!!Cosy relationship betwwen Blair and NI .NI supporting Labour for 12 years.Milliband employing a dodgy ex NI executive.
      I do agree about politicians serving the public , but i prefer democracy.Politicians governing according to thev wish of the majority of their electrate.
      Just because this has blown up in the last few months it has been going on since 2003 and maybe even before that,so rather than trying to be political look at the causes and faults.

    2. sue_m says:

      Adrian, if your home was burgled would you be happy if the burglar got off because he used the excuse that lots of other burglars had done it before him and they hadn’t been caught (yet) therefore he shouldn’t be punished for his crime?

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Sue you accuse me of not answering a blog,what the hell has burgling my home to do with this.Have i ever said it is an excuse because someone else has done it before?
      As for punishment i have frequently stated not only should the full force of the law be bought against offenders but that prison should be much harsher as a deterrent.
      Of the wet Liberal left,i am certainly not

    4. sue_m says:

      If you can’t make the link Adrian, I can’t help you.

  36. Jon frost says:

    Would a last edition of a papper that went into such demise undert hese circumstances be seem as a colelctiors item,

    Will I ahev difficulty buying one?.

    As much as one printed on 1JAn 2000.

  37. Barbara says:

    Hacking has enabled the tabloid News of the World to gain access to the sensationalist side of the stories that so many millions read,for titillation and distorted viewpoints on violence and the seamier side of life.It is appalling that privacy has been violated in this way.It is even more appalling that such material is available for the families of the nation to peruse.
    One can only hope that the seven day [if it materialises ] Sun will not have such a low life perspective.

  38. rodger says:

    Go to the website CLEAR-UK.ORG and you can read a story where a complaint was made to the PCC Press complaints commission about lies and misleading facts being printed about cannabis . The PCC then sent a letter to the wrong address and instead of sending the letter to the intended news paper they sent it to CLEAR – Peter Reynolds who made the complaints . The letter from the PCC informed the news paper on how to countor the complaint made by CLEAR . FIRST HAND PROOF OF CORRUPTION IN THE PCC . Channel four news has been emailed this story i wonder if this news will be reported or ignored like the BBC has choose to do .

  39. IAS says:

    But for the obvious fact whereby a Conflict of Interest lies in existence between Politicians and Bankers, hence NO Police Invistigation into Bnakers Fraudulent activities that caused the recession, we would be seeing Bankers in hand-cuffs – rather than a sole focus on the farse that occuring between the politicians and the journalist they loath.

    If Ed Milliband was bold, he stood for change and principles, we would have seen him stand by the disptach box on PMQs and tell the PM to hold such an investigation into Bankers Fraud. But, where was this conviction? Did it ever exist? Why are Politicians and teh media not willing to mention the words, Bankers, Fraud and Investigation in the same sentence?

    The public, normal folk and the vulnerable have been deeply failed by weaknesses by leaders in government and opposition. How is our Democracy, Fairness and Justice to be strengthened is our News Media dn Politicians are not consistently and persistenly willing to challenge what is tough and difficult – by being bold to address the FRAUDULENT BANKERS, rather than the headlines that only want to delve into Murdoch and his organisation? Is this really of any importance to REAL lives?

    1. adrian clarke says:

      IAS you are quite right , but do not forget you are blogging amongst left wing and “lefter” agitators on here.There are Marxist and even lefter than that, who detest success and power , but would have us under state control.
      Fight the good fight IAS :)
      .Argue for what is right not just politically correct

    2. Saltaire Sam says:

      Thank you, Adrian, thank you. At last I’ve seen the light – I have been too influenced by those marxists and those even lefter (is there such a word) than that.

      After all, the evidence should have told me – 13 years of a right-wing new labour government under Tony Blair with his mate George Bush, followed by bumbling Brown, then Cameron and Osborne and their puppy Clegg and everyone can see that the world is in such a wonderful state.

      There may have been a few unpleasnt hiccups, but that’s mainly down to the gutter press like the Guardian sticking their nose in where it doesn’t belong.

      But overall it has been hallelujahs all the way – the rich have got richer, the bankers and financial whizz kids have got away with it, MPs have largely kept their expense accounts. All is well with the world.

      Now if we could just get rid of those immigrants plus those layabouts who have lost their jobs and will be expencting the state to support them, and maybe bring in euthenasia to reduce the care and pension bills, Camelot would be here.

    3. sue_m says:

      So political Adrain!!!!

    4. Saltaire Sam says:

      Sue_m, Adrain? Freduian slip or a clever repost along the lines of Bliar?

    5. adrian clarke says:

      I am glad you have seen the light Saltaire :)
      Maybe now we can have a proper right wing government if you put your cross in the right place.
      As for the Guardian , if it had any readers it might be a threat.

    6. sue_m says:

      Sam, no just tired fingers. But now you mention it… ;-)

  40. Marverde says:

    The ramifications of this corruption scandal are vast. From the monarchy upwards.

    How can the police limit an investigation to some Windsor boys and ignore reams of evidence of the British Watergate, one of the biggest scandals of recent times? Why does a British govt accept the backdoor visits of a toxic corporation like Murdoch’s? Why is Osborne giving what should be taxpayers revenue to the Crown Estates instead of keeping payments to the monarchy under the control and oversight of Parliament? Why are religious fundamentalists in govt pushing policies to control women and reverse by stealth the achievements of the last century? Why doesn’t anybody bat an eyelid while this government DISMANTLES the public sector? Are we incapable of seeing the whole picture? Don’t we know what this means?

    This government is toxic. New Labour left us with the worst possible legacy on civil and political rights. A gift for the Tories who found it done. Now they can concentrate on dismantling all the social structure and implant their version of class, money, morality and power.

    We shouldn’t ignore the inroads of fascism. I haven’t been so scared in a long, long time.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Thank god we still reject Marxism and most left wing philosophy

    2. Marverde says:

      Is the use of “plural mayestático” (royal we) allowed in this blog, Jon?

    3. adrian clarke says:

      We shouldn’t ignore the inroads of fascism.I
      noticed your guilt too ,Marverde :)

  41. Marverde says:

    Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could have not just the thumbs back but also the twitter block facility in this blog? So we could chose whose comments to follow? Dream on, Marverde.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      I agree Marverde except i have not learnt the art of twitter yet :(

    2. sue_m says:

      Grand idea Maverde.

      And as an added bonus we now know that Twitter is an Adrian-free zone.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      I’ll learn sue :)

  42. eegg7777 says:

    Regarding the role of the media: a few months ago, More4 removed The Daily Show from the schedules. At the time, it may have been credible that this was simply due to audience numbers or other practical matters.
    In light of recent events, the decision now makes Channel 4 look very bad indeed: Channel 4 removed the only programme in UK television that, by showing (almost daily) excerps from Fox News, showed what Murdoch could do with full control of Sky.
    This is probably my paranoia, but I have to ask: was the removal of The Daily Show due to pressure from NewsCorp, or a form of self-censorship?

    1. Marverde says:

      I could have given you 1,000 thumbs up for that. The Daily Show was the most important US program on British TV.

    2. adrian clarke says:

      eegg7777 and marverde i never watched it but if you liked it so much couldnt you buy sky????

  43. Barbara says:

    Surely it is naive to believe that the practice of hacking was not known by those in power at the various tabloids?

    Whether they turned a blind eye [unlikely but possible]to the practice is debatable.I would ascertain that it probably was designated to lesser members with the premise that” anything goes” to get the story. If they did not know then they were incompetent in their role.

    Hopefully some of the e mails will provide answers.Equally unlikely is the lack of knowledge of bribes. Not every example can be written down to expenses.

    Politicians would obviously use the Murdoch empire for political exposure and a platform for their policies.Such a powerful influence in the media is unlikely to be ignored by government or opposition.

    However whether there was knowledge of the hacking or even worse compliance and collusion at political levels is another matter.

    It is quite appalling that apart from the political aspect that the lives of private citizens have faced such intrusion to feed a public hungry for sensationalism and to get a scoop.

    I strongly believe that in such circumstances the merger should not go through .We need to consider who is ruling the country & how.

  44. Marverde says:

    The answer to the question in your title, Jon, is yes. Of course there is a conspiracy. We all know there is.

    What the scandal has provided is just a little crack in the establishment’s cover and through it the man and woman in the street have had yet another quick-quick glance at how it operates. We have seen proof of the links of corruption between different parts: media, corporations, government, police, and of the extent of that corruption, from small to massive.

    Coming in the middle of the policies that are set to ruin the lives of the man and woman in the street, who are still scathing about the banker-created crisis and cannot comprehend the inaction of our politicians (or, much worse, the active protection they have extended to them), the scandal has shed another little bit of light on other players: the media and the police. Light that, once more, will be dimmed and turned off till they lull us into doubting even what we saw.

    It´s not one rogue journalist, one rogue newspaper, one rogue policeman, one rogue politician. Same as it is not one rogue banker.

  45. adrian clarke says:

    “It´s not one rogue journalist, one rogue newspaper, one rogue policeman, one rogue politician. Same as it is not one rogue banker”.
    Marverde that to me is the most profound statement on this blog.
    What it doesn’t answer, is how do we get past it,and create a democratic society, where government rule by the wishes of the majority.At the same time protecting individual freedoms within the law and the Press freedom to reveal wrong doing?

  46. HWJG says:

    Maybe you’re right Jon. The Daily Mail online (not a very nice news outlet, I’ll admit) reports that the whole lot of you (including yourself Jon) attended a party hosted by Elizabeth Murdoch hours before the news broke over Milly Dowler’s phone hacking: http://bit.ly/qA47RE. The moral compass seems to spinning like a top.

  47. adrian clarke says:

    HWJG Where i do not see a problem with influential people attending parties with others from the same set,albeit with NI connections.It is extremely doubtful that any knew of the impending news of the Milly Dowler hacking.It is a bit like the report that Coulson attended chequers after his resignation.So what??Just another story for newspapers to get their teeth into.
    I am afraid the media is not the moral guardians of society as much as they set themselves up to be.

  48. HWJG says:

    Adrian, I’m certain that none of them did have any inkling of the news about to break, more that they were at a function hosted by one highly influential person and her husband for that very sake.

    The media may not be the moral guardians of society but collectively and individually they are certainly in a good position to have a positive impact by espousing a decent set of values and moral standards if they chose to do so.

    1. Saltaire Sam says:

      Again, I would urge a certain caution about lumping everyone together just because they attend a ‘Murdoch’ party.

      The danger of press/power relationships is that they get too cosy either through real friendships or the need to stay in the loop.

      The line is a fine one and it is unsuprising that from time to time it is crossed.

      The reason the rest of us need journalists is because we are not in a position to know what is being said and plotted by the powerful. If journalists are outside too, they can’t report. Holding power to account means knowing what power is doing.

      In the end it comes down to personal integrity and that can’t be defined by which parties you attend but how you do your job.

      In the past one of the weaknesses of the press – and one of the reasons that the Guardian’s campaign is so noteworthy – has been the unwritten rule that Dog doesn’t eat Dog. You only have to think back to the excesses of Maxwell to wonder why he wasn’t exposed earlier (part of the answer, of course, is the power the wealthy wield through libel laws). That rule may now be at an end

  49. Troubled says:

    Our top two Police Officers have resigned because they know the buck stops with them. The same applies especially to the Murdoch clan and Rebeka woods, she at least was sacrificed.
    With the power they wielded within their company to say they didn’t know what was going on is incredible.
    The acting has already begun, public apologies roll off the tongue like Niagra Falls, the holding of the head whilst doing so is positively shakespearian and so easy for people so adept after years of experiance.

    With the purchase of The Sun and The News of the World Mr Murdoch set about a new tpye of jouralism namely the gutter press, and unfortunately other papers followed suit, the rot set in, he was at that time only allowed to own two media companies, why was he able to purchase another two newspapers and Sky could it be because he was so HUMBLE, and by still purporting to be so the British public might beleive him and let him resume his bid for BskyB, I mean as if we have any say in the matter. He or his clan should never never be allowed to purchase any more media companies in this country.

    I also tend to agree with Marverde

  50. wyposażenie placów zabaw says:

    Fajne spojrzenie na rzecz, każdy powinien przeczytać także zapoznać się z motywem.

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