Now, I’ve never been a particular lover of the Sun or the News of the World. My dad was on the periphery of the Wapping dispute. I watched the Hillsborough disaster unfold live on TV and then a few days later was delivering the Sun as it published utter lies about the event. I think that Rupert Murdoch’s influence on the media is malignant and corrupting the world over.
But even today the torrent of stories about phone hacking and other nasty behaviour have been shocking.
Hacking into a royal’s phone got a few people locked up, but it was pretended that this was all that happened, that it was a ‘rogue reporter’ and one PI. Hacking into z-list celebrities phones to get gossip (which sells papers to morons) was then revealed, but not all of the victims were that sympathetic. Similarly when it was the odd politician.
At the time that Andy Coulson was working for David Cameron, during the build-up to the election and in the seven months after the coalition was formed, Tories were quick to suggest that this was all a storm in a tea-cup, and nothing much serious was going on.
The police had backed up the argument of a limited scope to the hacking, with the initial investigation re-opened with a perfunctory ‘nothing to see’ message before a few more cases came forward.
Today opened with the allegations about Milly Dowler’s voicemail being hacked. But there was more, much more, to come. It seems that the parents of the two girls killed in Soham were also contacted by police about hacking. The Sun (and the Daily Mail – another scummy publication) are up in court on contempt over the treatment of the man who was a suspect in the death of Joanna Yeates.
Shockingly, a policeman who was investigating a murder was allegedly being surveilled by private investigators because the NotW wanted to know if he was sleeping with a TV presenter (he was, they were married to each other at the time). Given that the victim of the murder he was investigating was that of a PI, and that some of the suspects appeared to be the ones given the work by the paper, this is incredibly worrying.
Back to Milly Dowler though. The behaviour of the press in general (and the Sun/NotW in particular) has not just been salacious, it has not just been astoundingly damaging to the people involved, but there are potentially even more serious implications.
Levi Bellfield went on to kill again. If the hacker deleted messages, he may have destroyed evidence that could have been of worth to the police. I’m just stunned at this aspect of it. The desire to get a story could possibly have allowed a killer to target more victims. It is probable that any messages removed would not have added any value, surely anyone would realise that the possibility exists.
But the press have shown that they don’t actually care about justice already. After the verdict on the Dowler case, several tabloids ran lurid and detailed stories about Levi Bellfield. The problem was that Bellfield was still being tried for an alleged attack on another girl, and the case collapsed as a result of all the publicity.
Despite all the ‘moral crusades’ that these papers run, such as the Sun and News of the World did over paedophiles, their interests are not actually moral, they are commercial. For all the piety about standing up for the victims, they seem happy to run roughshod over the rights of people – even the very same victims – in order to get a story that can be sold to an eager mass of people.
It’s blood money.