The Devil Wears a Baseball Cap

Let me lay this out baldly.

In 2006 Rebekah Wade, then editor of The Sun, rang Gordon Brown to ask about his son’s cystic fibrosis. Brown was Chancellor at the time.

No serious senior journalist, and Wade is nothing if not serious, is going to ring the second most powerful politician in the land to fly a kite. The suggestion that she was anything other than sure about the reliability of the information is barely credible. Any professional journalist would have wanted chapter and verse on the provenance of those sorts of details before putting them to a man like Brown in so senior a position of power.

At the very least Wade, now Brooks, has questions to answer from the police, about how she obtained that information and where it came from. If, as Brown suggests, it was known only to his family and their doctors there must be real grounds to suspect it was obtained by criminal means and that if so then Wade either knew about it or consciously chose not to.

If Murdoch really does regard Wade as ‘a daughter’ then it seems not unreasonable that there is a good chance he knew about, if not this individual instance, then the general use of the sort of practices at the heart of the News Corp. scandal.

Moreover as the evidence of illegality spreads to engulf other News International titles it looks less and less like a localised problem on one paper, under one editor, but a culture of criminality and impunity across the whole group.

The common factor is Murdoch, if only in that no one doubts that once rather staid titles like The Times and Sunday Times made the transition from gentlemanly indignation to rapacious predation under his stewardship.

It can only be a matter of time now before Rebekah Brooks is arrested and if she is brought in for questioning Murdoch Snr. and his son will surely follow.

I hesitate to suggest he can’t rise again. We may need to call upon Buffy to ensure that doesn’t happen. But unless Murdoch has the luck of the devil himself it’s hard to see this getting any better for him. Astonishing times.

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5 Responses to “The Devil Wears a Baseball Cap”

  1. Nice summary, astonishing times indeed.

  2. Wibble Wibble Says:

    This report (esp page 9) makes for interesting reading:

    http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/corporate/research_and_reports/what_price_privacy_now.pdf#page=9

    The common factor is not Murdoch. The common factor is wrong-doing. So, should all those papers (or at least those ‘worse’ than the NOTW) be shut down?

    • headstrongclub Says:

      I am one of many people who thinks the News of the World needn’t have been closed. It doesn’t follow that because management either encouraged or at the very least allowed a culture of illegality to flourish within News International that the papers should close. It’s a more sensible conclusion to argue that there should be a change of ownership. If it eventually transpires that the illegal practices that have been identified were a more serious problem on News International titles than elsewhere then there is a very strong argument for saying that the common factor is Murdoch. Certainly the concentration of such a large tranche of the UK media under his ownership or influence gave Murdoch a power that other press barons didn’t have and it’s the implications of his having that power that’s the problem.

  3. wibble wibble Says:

    yes, but the crimes should be punished for what they are – and that means all of those who transgressed and not just a singling out of Murdoch’s papers. The MIrror for example, is a case in point. I cannot stand Murdoch and I do not want to see him escape the full weight of the law but I am already fearing a cover-up of sorts whereby a few exemplary punishments convince the public that things have been addressed while a great number of people who were actively involved or complicit with illegal practices get away scot-free. See Mps’ expenses and numerous police internal investigations. Yes, perhaps Murdoch’s powers should be heavily curtailed but that doesn’t mean a whole load of people doing exactly the same thing should be able to get away with it.

    • headstrongclub Says:

      Absolutely agree everyone must be equal before the law and that wherever it is found the law has been broken a decision should be made about prosecution. The p[articularly troubling thing about Murdoch was the power that owning such a large portion of the media gave him, and that power seemed to result in both the police and politicians being cowed and in some cases compromised and corrupted and that allowed News Corp. to avoid prosecution (and possibly to give shelter to other newspeprs in turn).

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