Well since the rest of the UK is gleefully heaping scorn upon the News of the World I feel it would be remiss of me not to do that very British thing of hopping onto the proverbial bandwagon. And I'm even cheeky enough to simultaneously criticise their journalism and steal their (admittedly smart) headline.
I must however warn any readers foaming at the mouth with NotW-induced rage that this blog post is not going to be a diatribe against the paper. I won't be raking its ashes and calling it a disgrace - or at least not ad nauseum. In fact let's get it out of the way early on: NotW was a crap paper, and its actions were 100% immoral. Indeed, it is a disgrace.
That said, I am heartily sick of reading editorial after editorial ranting aimlessly about it. The Guardian has been positively ejaculating with joy all month, writing article after article to stir things up, few of which tell us anything particularly new about the story. And in common with most of the rest of Britain I was very nearly reunited with my lunch when Cameron said - with astonishing hypocrisy - that this would 'end on my watch'. You're kidding, right?
NotW walked a nauseating line between trashy gossip rag and political battleground. Scandal was its fuel, and moral indignance its fire. Its justification however, was market demand. Because lest we forget, it was the nation's biggest selling Sunday paper. Like it or not, we are a nation of curtain-twitching, cellulite-spotting, rubber-necking misanthropes. Whilst I accept that a sizeable percentage of the UK has no interest in who some overpaid footballer is shagging, the overwhelming majority is salivating at this titillating promise of moral slobbery. We, the Outraged Public, love having the chance to tut loudly and feel - for just a few moments - entirely superior to those people who earn more than we do but do nothing to deserve it.
Do you remember when you were a kid, and someone acted out in class? The second your teacher spotted it, all the little faces turned to stare at the offender and raised a chorus of "Ohhhhhh..... ohhhh.... ohhhhh" that continued like a motor. It was kid language for "you're fucked now" and it was actually subtler than most of the Guardian's NotW coverage.
So let us tut, by all means, but let us also remember that the NotW is in many ways the poster boy for British media today. You can bet your boots that more revelations will come to light in the next few weeks revealing that - quelle surprise - other newspapers have been guilty of highly suspect and underhand journalistic practices such as phone hacking.
I sincerely hope that those slinging the most mud have made 100% sure that their own house is spotlessly clean.
Perhaps the saddest thing to come from all this is the damage to the careers of the journalists involved. Many of the staff at NotW will be entirely innocent of any wrongdoing but now pay the price for executive mismanagement. I don't believe for one second that Rebekah Brooks knew nothing of the hacking ("I was on holiday at the time" is a laughably transparent defence) and she must shoulder the weight of responsibility.
That said however, I can’t help bit squirm with discomfort as the papers characterise her like Eve in the Garden of Eden – “a ruthless, charming super-schmoozer” according to the Guardian, while The Independent claim NotW was “sacrificed to save one woman.” The flame-haired temptress that brought down a publishing empire. Yeah right.
Let us point the finger of blame at Mulcare, at Coulson, at Brooks, at bent coppers and at sycophantic politicians. But let us also take this as an opportunity to look long and hard at the media industry in general, through a thorough and unbiased review. Let's scrutinise an industry so cut-throat that it goes to enormous and unthinkable lengths to stay ahead of the game. Then let us ask ourselves why they do this, and take an extra second before we hand over 10p to read about Kate Moss's powdered nose. Because the rotten truth is: we are all to blame.
ps. I'm sorry Guardian. You're actually my favourite paper and due credit should be given for the scoop of the year. But enough now, mkay?
Add a Comment