Thursday, 7 July 2011
NOTW headline 10 July 2011 Got us!!
On a day when it emerged that up to 4000 people have been subject to the paper's phone hacking mentality, something the statement from James Murdoch still blames on some "wrongdoers (who) turned a good newsroom bad and this was not fully understood or adequately pursued."
The paper was founded 168 years ago, even at the repeal of the stamp act in 1855 when the paper was threepence it was still the cheapest paper. The paper itself was described in the 1890s as being "a very fine paper indeed". In 1968 after a year long battle with Robert Maxwell, Rupert Murdoch acquired the title for his then modest News Ltd. group. The title with a readership of over 2.5 million was the top selling Sunday paper.
The speed of which the leadership of News International went from defending the paper, editors and integrity of the paper to the point where it decided to close down one of the oldest titles in UK publishing shows the extent of public anger, amount of advertiser disquiet and political and public outrage at not just how they acquired their information by phone hacking, but the range of people's who phones were hacked. The missing 13 year old Milly Dowler, the parents of the Soham victims, the relatives of 7/7 victims and the bereaved families of troops. There are also questions being asked about the conviction of Tommy Sheridan and the integrity of evidence against him which came from the News of the World.
The list of 4000 people who have been subject to potential phone hacking by the paper doesn't just indicate an occasional falling into this trap, it suggests an institutional modus operandi of the paper throughout. The closure of the title is the obvious outcome.
However, there are already concerns that the same staff will merely be shifted to another title. Indeed if every employee at the News of the World loses their job except Rebekah Brooks who has been the centre of attention, and offered to resign yesterday apparently, something is seriously still wrong with the way Murdoch runs his empire. Changing the name doesn't change the mentality of the journalists who followed this way of getting that news. The inquiries still need to take place, or even that they will be absorbed into other Murdoch titles. We need to know who was involved in this, and what exactly they did. They cannot be merely shifted and the story buried, with their CVs redacted to merely editor within the News International Group of papers.
This is the same stable of papers that in 1989 preyed on the mourning of Liverpool football fans in the weeks after the Hillsborough tragedy. It is not just a recent malaise that the group has suffered. It has been an ongoing desire to do all it can to get the sensational to the front page.
Update While I was doddling to make this front page I heard that The Sun's subeditors and journalists have walked out in solidarity or protest at the News of the World. As soon as I have anything on this I will add a new link. Update This walkout is against Murdoch and the way he has treated loyal staff, who are good at their job and doing an honest job now as part of the new way the NOTW is working.
Update 2 Apparently Andy Coulson who was Deputy Editor at the NOTW under Rebekah Brooks has been told he will be arrested tomorrow in connection with the phone hacking allegations.