I was idly chatting to a neighbour this morning and the inevitable phone hacking came up in the conversation. As I pointed out to her, the eavesdropping on voicemails was but one drop in a very dirty ocean of malevolent malfeasance for the tabloid press. Long before the invention of the mobile phone, these people were happy to use dubious means to obtain confidential information – whether through blagging, bugging or merely trawling though bins. And, let us be clear here, News International titles weren’t the only culprits by any means, it is merely their wrongdoing that has finally brought the matter to a head like a large boil that is now oozing gallons of stinking puss.
So, I guess, it is no surprise to see that Rupert Murdoch has bowed toe the inevitable and withdrawn his bid for BSkyB. The only issue open to conjecture was a matter of “when” not “if” he would announce the decision. Just as, I suppose, the decision to drop the News of the World was a foregone conclusion. Neither decision bothers me overmuch on a personal level as I am not a consumer of either of these products. And, frankly, I despise the tabloid press in their entirety. Just as much, possibly as Billy Bragg. The difference between us us that I’m not lining up to make political gain over this and neither have I written a dreadful protest song dragging the Hillsborough victims in to make my point – I’m not that sick or sanctimonious. But then, Billy has pretty much cornered the market in sickbag sanctimoniousness, so we shouldn’t be too surprised. Oh, and isn’t it wonderful to see the baying, braying, bigoted, herd round on a wounded giant? I watched briefly as the house of commons united today behind their displeasure at the behaviour of News International’s subsidiary. But, again, they were all at it – and a docile press would be just the thing for not looking too deeply into the activities of the honourable members. And, do we really need regulation? iDave says not as we need a free press. Well, yes, it would be nice to believe him, but he is a politician, so I don’t, just as I don’t believe journalists, advertising salesmen or estate agents.
That said, a replacement for the PCC would be a sound move. Something independent and with sufficient bite to be able to effectively deal with newspapers that smear people who cannot otherwise afford to take the bastards to court. An independent ombudsman perhaps – but not, absolutely not, influenced or in any way connected to the state. Would that be too much to ask? Probably. The mob is in full swing and the vested interests of the so-called liberal left senses blood and will be happy enough to kill off a media organisation that dares to present an opinion that differs to its own. I don’t much like NI, but its demise – or at leas the demise of an alterative voice in British media to the liberal leftist BBC/Guardian axis would be a sad state of affairs. So, if there is one legacy of the the News of the World’s bad behaviour it may well be to reduce the plurality of voices in our media. They may not be saying this now over at the BBC or in the pages of the Groan, but I can almost hear the lip-smacking glee with which they tear at the flesh of the wounded beast.
And then Gordon Brown enters the fray with some iffy allegations. God help us when I feel sympathy with Rupert Murdoch and his empire but when faced with the gurning self publicising Brown, Murdoch appears positively angelic.
So there we have it, a field day for the statists, the luvvies and the so-called liberal establishment. A self inflicted wound looks has gone septic and could prove fatal for one of the big alterative voices to their own and they’re loving it. If it goes the alternative is an unremitting flow of propaganda from one perspective – that of the statist, illiberal guardianista and the luvvies of the BBC. Their idea of press freedom isn’t quite the same as mine, I suspect.