In Britain The Net Tightens on News International
Mark Seddon is the former United Nations Correspondent and New York Bureau Chief for Al-Jazeera English TV. He reported from eighteen countries during that time, including North Korea, China, Haiti, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has interviewed, amongst others, Ban Ki-Moon, Lech Walesa, Tony Blair, Hans Blix, Michael Foot, Mia Farrow, and George Clooney. In a journalistic career spanning over twenty years, he has been Editor of Tribune and an elected member of the UK Labour Party's National Executive Committee. He has written for most British newspapers and many magazines, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Spectator, New Statesman, Private Eye, British Journalism Review and Country Life Magazine. For a number of years he was a Diarist at the London Evening Standard, and has also reported for, amongst others, the BBC and Sky TV. He lives in Buckingham, England.
Sales of the doomed News of the World increased by 30% we are reliably informed on the day the newspaper closed, and on the day Rupert Murdoch flew in dressed in an open neck shirt and a panama hat.
The ‘Dirty Digger’ as Murdoch used to be known affected not to have a care in the World. He said that his first priority was Rebekah Brooks, his Chief Executive of News Corporation operations in London and who edited the News of the World when clearly documented cases of phone hacking were taking place. Just another day then, Rupe? Just another squall to deal with? My morning also started at Heathrow where I was met with a wall of hostility as I attempted to joke with waiting cab drivers. Where they, I wondered “waiting to pick Rupert up?” The usual repartee just wasn’t there. “Don’t be stupid, Mate”, said one.
I went to my local petrol station to buy the last ever edition of the News of the World, which by happy coincidence was my first. They weren’t on display though, they were under the counter. “It’s a bit like buying a porn mag”, said a younger, balding man, who had wandered in round from flats behind. But then porn mags are on the large good whole some fun when compared to the News of the Screws.
Poor old Rupert must be in his dotage if he really thinks that saving Rebekah Wade is what it is all about and even if it is worth his air fare over. The net is finally closing in on the Murdoch Mafia and not before time. Just take a look at this interesting quite from one of the lawyers who will now be inquiring into the illegal practice of hacking phone and paying bent coppers for information; Graham Shear, a lawyer who heads a team at law firm Teacher Stern Selby which will deal with legal inquiries into the phone hacking, says that the investigations will be looking at other newspapers, both within News International and elsewhere. He says it is entirely speculative, but that given the workings of tabloid newspapers, it would not surprise him if it represented a business model rather than a few rogue journalists.
That’s right he wouldn’t be surprised if “it represented a business model” and not just a “few rogue journalists”. The latter was of course the whole basis of the News International claim these past months.
I sincerely hope that m’learned friends on the other side of the Atlantic, where you are now reading this, will be making similar enquiries of what goes on at Murdoch controlled newspapers such as the Post.
In the meantime, something truly cathartic has happened in Britain. A mafia has been stopped in its tracks. Britain is not destined to become another Italy, and the rotten establishment that Murdoch and his political chums atop the Conservative and Labour Parties, is beginning to squirm.
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