Saturday, July 16, 2011

Minor Mistakes and Little White Lies

So, the News International flagellation continues unabated. There's no sign that their competitors or politicians want to focus on other media organisations that we know have been at least equally guilty of using dubious information gathering methods, so it's not going to move on any time soon. But I note that the anti-News International lobby have a new bit of spin.

It's a cunning line, based on the reported words of Rupert Murdoch in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. Murdoch, referring to News Corp's handling of the crisis since it broke, said they'd handled it well with only and few "minor mistakes". I've now seen this has been reinterpreted by some (BBC reporters and Labour politicians, including John Prescott, so far) as meaning the accusations against the News of the World (such as the accessing of Milly Downler's voicemails) were minor mistakes. Clever. There will be many that may disagree that News Corp have handled the crisis well with only a few minor mistakes, but no one would agree that the accusations regarding the accessing of innocent private individuals' voicemails, including victims of crime, are minor mistakes. Indeed, it's a line that, had he actually said it, would add to the public outrage and focus it more sharply on Rupert Murdoch himself. Which is, of course, their agenda.

After Gordon Brown's dodgy claims regarding The Sun this week we can see that the, mostly politically motivated, anti-News International campaign is resorting to lies and smears to progress it's agenda. It may seem like natural justice for the press, and I wouldn't be too bothered, if it wasn't for the fact that all this energy is being focused on one organisation, mostly because it upset a political party when it turned it's back on them. The worry is the wider problem in the press generally won't be addressed. What we need is the same tenacious focus on The Mirror, People, Mail etc. No one seriously suggests they've not been using similar methods as the News of the World. It will be interesting to see if Labour MPs maintain the same level of passion and indignation and the BBC continue wall to wall news coverage, when the story moves on to the non-News International papers and, God forbid, Labour papers like the Mirror and People.

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