Friday, 8 July 2011

The Phone Hacking Scandal

Well isn't this as hot mess? For those who haven't been watching – the News of the World (a major Sunday newspaper in the UK) has been very very naughty. In fact, no I won't even be light about this. They have been seriously sick and twisted individuals with all the moral compassion of a lizard.

They have been hacking phones for stories. Phones of the police, phones of celebrities – and phones of crime victims. In one case the parents of murdered teenager Milly Dowler thought their daughter was alive because some of the texts on her phone had been deleted. She was dead – but the News of the World had hacked her phone for the story. They had deleted messages – potential evidence - because the memory was full and they wanted to make room for more.

The News of the World tried first to claim it was the overzelous actions of a private detective, then that it was the rogue actions of a maverick reporter (and if it was, didn't anyone question where she got this information?) – but increasingly it became clear that it was wall to wall stink.

Andy Coulson (who was the paper's editor during the Royal phone hacking affair) and Clive Goodman (a royal editor who hsd previously been arrested for hacking) have now been arrested for being involved in the hacking and bribing and lying to cover it up. Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International and former editor of the News of the World, remains under fire for the whole mess – and it seems that Murdoch is willing to throw away the entire paper to protect her. There seems to have been a culture of hacking phones at the News of the World and it's somewhat bemusing to believe that the editors and executives in the paper were unaware. It is further ridiculous to assume they knew nothing and didn't make any inquiries after Clive Goodman was gaoled for royal phone hacking scandal.

The Mudochs are desperately leaping away from the paper as much as possible and disassociating themselves - and the News of the World is being closed down. I can see this – Murdoch needs to close the door on this especially with the BSkyB thing looming in everyone's minds (oh gods that would be beyond awful) so he “sacrificed” the paper to try and shut everyone up and move on as quickly as possible and, perhaps, to protect some people who know where the bodies are buried.

And those little quotation marks are there because he hasn't. There will be a new newspaper called the “Sunday Sun” or “Sun on Sunday”. The News of the World's sister paper will just run on Sunday instead of just being a weekday paper. Paper exercise, I wonder how many people will fall for it? Or how much plausible deniability it will bring.

Of course this whole thing has been a stinking disaster for Cameron. He got in bed with the wrong people – and frankly he should have known better. I know Murdoch is powerful but no matter how much you court column inches, the man needs to be kept as much at arm's reach as possible – and that applies to all the parties. Andy Coulson was Cameron's director of communications and is up to his neck in this whole sordid affair. I have to wonder what fall out there will be here for Cameron – at very least it shows an extremely poor lack of judgement. To have taken on Coulson as communications director AFTER he resigned over the royal phone hacking scandal – and with questions unanswered – was, frankly, monumentally foolish.

Cameron tried briefly to avoid an inquiry, but really with this level of corruption and fuckery there's no other real option and an inquiry is going forth.

This is a hot mess from start to finish, I wonder where it will end up.